Last Thursday on Alberta

Dear Liza,

Last Thursday, we went to an event called “Last Thursday Art Walk.” It happens on the last Thursday of every month during the summer, up on Alberta Street, about three and a half miles north of our house. They close off about 7 blocks of Alberta Street and people set up tables, booths, musical instruments, or just themselves, to sell, sing, dance, see, and be seen.

We went into some some galleries first, with exquisite assemblages and ceramics, paintings and sculptures. These were very well organized and air conditioned, which was welcome in the hot evening. We spent lots of time looking at each and every piece, but I didn’t take pictures, because artists are touchy about that.

Then we stepped out onto the street, where there was no traffic. This was sort of like the Hawthorne Street Fair a few weeks ago, but also really different. The street being closed to traffic and full of tents was the same…everything else was different. That had a ‘doing business’ sort of feeling…friendly, but there for a purpose. This felt more like friends getting together to hang out, make music, enjoying each other’s music and weirdness.

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10 year old rock stars

And weirdness there was. Belly dancing, drum circles, people dressed in costumes and posing like statues, and kids playing rock and roll were there, as were t-shirt shops, ice cream carts, and tarot card readers.

There were also some very talented musicians playing great music, while jugglers juggled in time to the music. Amazing.

We walked all the way west, (into the sun again!) and back east, ending at O’Leary’s Irish Pub for a cold drink and dinner. The cider and Guinness were welcome, and the fries, grilled cheese sandwich with caramelized pear, and roasted brussels sprouts were exactly what was needed. While we sat, we watched the people passing by, which is always the best show ever.

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Mural of the Vanport Flood in 1948

Another thing that made the fair so much fun was getting to see Alberta Street. There are so many murals on the outside walls, where the artists don’t mind if you take pictures, and since there was no traffic, I could take pictures without being killed. I have included quite a few here.

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Circle of Life mural

After we had seen, listened, laughed and eaten, we walked back to the car and headed home. Portland has so much to offer, I just can’t keep up! I may need to take a break tomorrow. But I will be back soon.

 

P.S. And of course, there were mosaics. Maybe so many people make them because the tiles last so well in the rainy winters, or maybe because it is fun to turn broken bits into art, but there sure are a lot of them around! And I LOVE it!

 

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And mosaics, of course

 

 

 

 

 

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More!

 

 

Love,

Grandma Judy

Mosaics in Portland

Dear Liza,

This will be a short post today. I have a story idea in my head that won’t let me think about much else. But I wanted to share something I have noticed about Portland ….mosaics.

You know I love mosaics. I make mosaics. I teach my students to make mosaics.

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Student mosaics
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A Mosaic in Progress

There is a lot of public art in Portland, statues, murals, and fountains for playing in. I have posted pictures of your cousins and Auntie Bridgett with statues of deer and lots of other public art. Even some of the buildings are like art. These are all public art, as in, paid for by public money. I respect this, and love it. I like that my tax money goes to make art that I enjoy.

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Buckman School Mosaic in Public
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The Calico Room Mosaic

The other kind of art that everyone can see is privately funded art that is in public. The Buckman School, in our neighborhood, decorated their retaining wall with mosaics made with donated tiles and dishes. The Calico Room restaurant in East Portland advertises with a wonderfully modern cat mosaic.

These are interesting, pretty pieces of art that we walk by all the time and get to enjoy. They help me see things differently. They inspire me to make my own art. I am grateful for the creative people who share their art with all of us.

“Tell them, dear, if eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for being.” Emerson

Love,

Grandma Judy