Living Cully and Portland State Partner in Arts Capstone Project

By David Platt


Living Cully is working in partnership with the Portland State University Capstone Program to integrate local arts into community development efforts. A diverse community of students has come together to create public art resources that build new relationships between neighborhood artists, and the Living Cully nonprofit alliance. Students have begun to take on the tasks of creating a set of resources that will empower artists of all ages to get involved in revitalizing the community, while giving a voice to long-time residents, and people of color.
Students are laying the groundwork for local talent to connect with nonprofits to celebrate the cultural diversity and heritage of Cully. These efforts reinforce the benefits of maintaining a diverse neighborhood, improve overall livability, and help to develop and maintain cross-cultural dialogue through shared positive experiences that the arts encourage.
Students are involved in a wide range of activities that engage public schools and local artists, document creative projects and events, current and past, and identify city resources to help local artists get involved in public arts projects, and apply for grants. Students bring together a wide range of skills from varied academic disciplines including: architecture, graphic design, technical writing, and political science — just to name a few. Students are given the opportunity to develop strong project management skills, and create meaningful relationships with Cully residents, and area nonprofits. These projects also carry on the mutually beneficial relationship  between the Cully neighborhood and the Portland State academic community.
Producing effective tools and resources to help Living Cully create practical working relationships with artists is the highest priority for students. Teams are given a lot of freedom in the way that they pursue their goals. This flexibility allows student groups to take advantage of each team member’s strengths, and think outside of the box. Community learning coursework gives students the opportunity to take ownership of the work that they do. These projects allow undergraduates to take a step beyond the norms of academic research, and critical analysis. Students get the opportunity to go out into the real world and have a positive influence, bringing individuals together to make Cully a vibrant neighborhood where people from all walks of life can thrive.

Local art has the power to inspire and bring communities together. We want to make this a fundamental part of people’s experience in Cully. Promoting local art creates value from within, and helps protect current residents from displacement by showing the city of Portland the values of the current community.

At this point student groups have completed the planning and research phase for each project, and you should be seeing them out in the neighborhood soon. If you have a moment, don’t be shy, take a moment to say hi, and share some words of encouragement. If you personally know Cully artists that would interested in working with the program please refer them to Tony DeFalco.

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