ON SATURDAY, September 19, the Portland Art Museum will open its doors for Shine a Light: A Night at the Museum. This special event will showcase the work of MFA candidates from Portland State University's Art and Social Practice program—attendees are invited to check out the students' installations, tours, workshops, and performances. Coming on the heels of the many participatory Time-Based Art Festival happenings (and the hip-infused art therein), the event sounds like its echo, though with a one-night-only, arts walk spirit.
Shine a Light (a Wolf Parade reference) takes on audience participation from the get-go: In the first hour of the event, the Kansas City-based portable print-making outfit Print Factory will set up a screenprinting workshop on the street. Fifty pedestrians will get the chance to print a fake ticket to the event, and these counterfeits will allow participants to skip the $12 entry fee (the museum approved this, so if you're going, get on it early and get in free).
The event will also court participation through the things we commonly carry with us. Harrell Fletcher's Museum Visitor Cell Phone Photographs takes attendees' cell phones, mines them for pictures, and uses these pictures for a photo exhibit. A printing station will be set up and participants will have a chance to enlarge, frame, and display their cell pics. Additionally, Jason Zimmerman also invites attendees to author the shape of the night's exhibits in Portland Silver. Zimmerman will ask museumgoers for items from their pockets so he can plate them in silver, and these gilded everyday objects will be added to the museum's English silver collection.
Where Zimmerman and Fletcher offer partici-pation through contribution, other artists aim to engage their audience via physical interactivity. Eric Steen curated Art & Beer, asking brewers from Laurelwood, Lompoc, and Lucky Lab to create a beer based on artworks displayed at the museum. Attendees will have a chance to drink up as these beers are premiered during Shine a Light. And while it's not drinkable, Hannah Jickling's Score-O turns the museum into an orienteering expedition, translating the building and the art inside (and outside) into a topographical obstacle course.
There's a whole slew of other activities slated: workshops on the endangered language Mon; demonstrations on the ancient Japanese flower arrangements called ikebana; performances based on strange interactions between museum guests and employees; breakdancing in Schnitzer Court; live music in the sculpture garden by Tu Fawning and Atole. It's an attempted balance between the hip and the informative, and even if the night ends up feeling like a field trip, it'll be one where you get back on the bus having heard some music and tasted some suds.