Spring Arts Preview 2022

GROWL! “Who is this tiger and why is this tiger growling at me?” you may ask. This tiger is YOU, Portland. It’s your local arts scene—impassioned, thoughtful, mysterious, and punching far above its weight in the metaphorical boxing ring that is mid-size, artsy cities.

As the arts and culture editor of a Portland publication, I am better situated than most to see the reasons why Portland’s art scene is so fierce. Luckily, the Spring Arts Preview is an annual opportunity to present our city’s wonders and spread the word about wonders to come. It’s an opportunity to PUMP UP.

For instance, right now, at our city art museum, Portlanders have a rare opportunity to see not only paintings by Mexican self-portraitist Frida Kahlo, but the interconnected history of the whole Mexican Modernism movement. The works rarely leave Mexico, but the Portland Art Museum has them—and they rule.

In a month, MacArthur Genius grant recipient and eccentric-as-all-get-out theater artist Taylor Mac will perform for the first time with a symphony orchestra—Portland’s Oregon Symphony! Because this town kicks ass!

A run of 4,000 comics collecting the experience of homeless PSU students sold out in two weeks. They were distributed by the Street Roots newspaper vendors ONLY, and you can learn about the Changing Narratives indie comics project here and why the organizers are ready to print more. Because fuck yeah, Portland!

Two beloved local visionaries—stand-up Katie Nguyen and filmmaker Alberta Poon—pulled together an entirely Asian production crew to create a hilarious, insightful short Crouching Comic. It’s been to film festivals to the north and all the way out to the East Coast, yet it will FINALLY debut in town for locals to see. Finally! Agh! I’m so pumped!

Do you know about the Super Futures Haunt Qollective? They’re a local group of research-oriented artists writing unwritten histories for displaced Indigenous populations. Everyone in their collective identifies as a future ghost, but for now we get to enjoy and be enriched by their engrossing work.

We’ve also got the scoop on one of the only trans-written plays in Oregon that was also produced with an ensemble cast of transgender actors. Herald the rise of playwright Mikki Gillette!

As the scene bursts back to life, we have so many good shows and events to recommend: visual, theatrical, literary, and otherwise. If you got depressed like my neighbor and recently threw away your 2022 day planner, GET ANOTHER ONE. We are back and we are going to chug art like college kids who built a homemade beer bong.

Look upon this city and its works and feel encouraged, Portland. Feel the power and bloom of energy all around you. Rewatch Rocky, from which this issue takes its anthem. Sing that Katy Perry song and punch the air... and get ready. The time is now and Portland’s art scene is getting back in fighting shape!

-Arts and Culture Editor Suzette Smith