If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that Portland’s Lloyd Center Mall has become, in the past few years, a haven for local arts, culture, and civic initiatives. Inside the convalescing shopping center, a patchwork of trademark mall culture standbys like Hot Topic and Cinnabon coexist alongside Secret Roller Discos in the former Marshalls, Portland NACCP headquarters, and the Healing Our Roots exhibit at AfroVillage. 

For over a year, ILY2's satellite gallery, ILY2 Too—tucked away in the mall's northeast corner, on the first floor—has maintained a changeable residency program of artists. Some have played with the storefront's past as a portrait studio, while others hosted noise shows and animation screenings.

The latest, Portland-based multidisciplinary artist and curator Father Fannie, has filled the space's signature lavender walls with a rotating exhibition of custom illustrations, paintings, film screenings, workshops, and thrift pop ups by Black Portland artists for what he calls, Father Fannie’s Funhouse.

“My idea of a funhouse is: community coming together and doing something really cool,” Father Fannie told the Mercury. As a visual artist, musician, DJ, and curator whose work focuses “on the dynamic aspects of QTIBIPOC power, sadness and joy,” Fannie said, “Black people, especially Black people in Portland, deserve to feel like they matter and the things that they create matter. I want my space to be a center and focus on Black joy. I want everyone to witness this. This is for all eyes to see and enjoy and be like, yes, we love you.” 

Drawing from a background in community building, event planning, and party production for queer land project and festival Idapalooza in Tennessee, Atlanta arts organization Southern Fried Queer Pride, and lesbian dating app Her, Father Fannie works to integrate the culture of nightlife into the daytime and interweave that sense of community into everyday life. “It's very easy to get detached from the things that you like to do outside of nightlife, especially in queer community, so I always try to focus on things that we can do in the daylight and things that we can do together,” he said.

At the show’s opening, sparkly stickers, Hello Kitty figurines, bubblegum pink shag rugs, and Fannie’s own tufted mirrors created a playful and welcoming teen bedroom feel. Throughout February, the residency hosted hand picked thrift from Planet Loveship, “soft-gore” paintings and wall hangings by Kymil Jeneé, video work by KEEKS—a formerly Portland-based high-femme rapper-singer who also frequently pops up in our music column— and Friday movie nights, where attendees voted between two curated Black films to determine what they watched.

As Father Fannie's Funhouse closes out March, visitors can expect a new art installation Fruitger Memento: Reverie Room by Ilvø ,opening on March 13 [UPDATE: the opening ceremony has been postponed to March 14, 6-8 pm. - eds], two introductory modular synth workshops "using free and open source modular emulation software VCV Rack" for self-identifying women and people of color, also led by Ilvø, and some of Fannie’s own paintings and video collages. Follow @fatherfannie for updates.

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