From Riley Parker:
Thank you so much to everyone who could attend the meeting! It was a joy to see everyone together in the same room! So much positive energy! So many great ideas! I am very inspired by your passion for the gallery, and your dedication to making AMP a safe, welcoming, and vibrant space for the greater Portland Community. Thank you!
The one member of our collective who was unable to attend the meeting is Alexander Geiszler, but he was there in spirit :) To those of you who have yet to meet him, Alexander is our Technical Director, and a very talented, important member of our team.
If you are able to make it to the concert this coming Wednesday, please take a moment and introduce yourself to Alexander. He will be working his magic with our sound and light systems, and without him the concert would not be possible. Thanks, Alexander!
APRIL 8TH 2018
We discussed quite a few things in the meeting, which I will go through in just a moment. But first, allow me to highlight a mistake that I made as the meeting lead.
In my enthusiasm to introduce Doug to everyone, as he is one of the newest members of the collective, I introduced him first, and then moved counter-clockwise around the table. In doing this, I accidentally moved the meeting forward without allowing Riley Berger the chance to introduce herself, and her role in the gallery (which is actually quite integral to almost everything we do). By the time I realized this, it was only a few minutes past introductions, but already too late to not have a negative impact on the meeting over all. My sincere apologies to Riley Berger, and to the entire collective. I robbed Riley of the opportunity to share her efforts, and robbed everyone else of her insight and experience. This was a gross oversight, and I will make every effort to make sure that nothing like this will ever happen again. That said, if I do overlook someone, or something, in a future meeting, please do not hesitate to interrupt me and make sure that we give everyone their due. This is a collective, and it is paramount to the future health and success of this organization that everyone be recognized and celebrated for their contributions.
We began the meeting by talking about the partnership between the owner of the gallery, Jason Wood, and myself as head curator. The two of us have very different roles in the organization, but we collaborate on every aspect of the space, and come to agreement before we move forward. This applies to everything from the themes of the shows and the artwork that we present, to the physical space of the gallery. Thankfully, we find ourselves agreeing from the jump more often than not, but in the few situations where we do not readily agree, we communicate and negotiate until we find a solution that works for the both of us.
As the owner, Jason must approve all actions taken by the gallery. That said, Jason has awarded me (as head curator) a lot of room to make decisions to move things forward, but it is important to note that all of the decisions I make for the gallery are communicated with Jason at our earliest convenience, and that it is only with his blessing that things actually come to fruition.
As a part of our partnership, it has been decided that I am the face of the gallery, and the person that most of you will end up working with on a regular basis. I am also the person who builds out our calendar, and makes sure that we are not double-booking or creating unnecessary clashes between curators. As such, it is requested that you come to me with all show ideas, date requests, resource requests, space use requests, et cetera.
As you continue to build your own relationships with Jason, it goes without saying that you will discuss ideas for the space between you and him, and collaborate on events and projects for Art Market PDX. This is highly encouraged! We just ask that you make sure to include me in these conversations as soon as possible, so that I can participate with you in the planning of these events, and also to make sure that our event schedule stays tight and we move forward with intention.
We also talked about Alissa Pulcrano, and her contributions to the gallery.
Alissa has many roles in the gallery. She is a partner, and the main financier of AMP. She is our lead consultant in the layout of the space, and one of the main curators of fixtures and infrastructure for the gallery and the store. She has brought in several artists in the short time that the gallery has existed, including me (I did not curate during the first show, but was brought into the fold in December, on her recommendation, to help shape what would become the Yearbook show). Alissa is also the lead consultant on all legal and financial matters regarding the space, and is constantly working behind the scenes to make sure that the gallery functions as both a business and a community space. We are very lucky to have her as a partner, and extremely thankful for her ongoing contributions. Thank you, Alissa!
Next, we talked about the rules and guidelines of curating for AMP.
The most important thing to remember is that we are a community space, and that our number one goal is to build community through our curated efforts. We want to provide artwork to as many people as possible, and not just the yuppy high-brow art scene (though we want them too, just not exclusively).
When creating and curating art for the greater community, and not just the previously established Portland art crowd, it is important to consider the people that often get excluded from the existing scene. In this spirit, we need to make sure to not turn a blind eye to people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, young people, old people, and people of little means. Being poor, or gay, or black, or trans, or any other qualifier, should not lock someone out of enjoying art, and this mindset needs to be present in everything we do, from the performers we book, to the artwork that we showcase.
Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or otherwise hateful work will not be tolerated in AMP.
This does not mean that artists are barred from submitting work that touches on themes of racism, gender, sexuality, et cetera (because life is full of that stuff, and what is art but a conversation about life), but it does mean that work that incorporates these themes must be contextualized, clearly defined, and fall within the guidelines of the gallery. We can not be put in the position of defending ambiguity, or we will lose the trust of our community.
We are a collective, and our collective is made of people, and people have flaws. It is almost inevitable that one of us will either bring in or create work that falls on the wrong side of the line at some point in the life of the gallery. If this happens, it is important that we, as members of the collective, approach one another with candor and respect. It is also important that we be open to the opinion of our fellow curators, and listen with radical empathy.
We will make mistakes. I know we will. but I also know that we have a really great team—filled with empathetic, open-hearted people—and that if we work together we can build out a space that is welcoming, safe, and genuinely beneficial to Portland as a whole.
Thank you for keeping this in mind as you create and curate work for the space. It is my honest opinion that this is one of the biggest determining factors in our success as a gallery. We are a radical, outsider, experimental, and weird space, and if we don’t accommodate and welcome the radical, outsider, experimental, and weird parts of Portland, then we have failed our community, and fallen short of our own standards.
Next we talked about our various curators, and what they provide to AMP.
I am incredibly honored to work with such talented, dedicated people. As your head curator, I want to make sure that I provide you everything you need to bring amazing work into the gallery. Just as Jason has given me the space that I need to bring quality visual work into the space, I want to give you, my fellow curators in visual art and beyond, that same room to curate the shows that you want to see.
As you now know, Brette Irish is our live music curator. As such, she is in full control of the live music that comes into the space, especially for the “official” concerts that correspond to each theme. Though Jason and I have the right to bring additional music into the space, or to suggest people for shows, we will only do so in communication and collaboration with Brette Irish. The intention of this set-up is to allow Brette to have ownership over her position, and to feel confident in her ability to utilize her expertise to book events for AMP. It is a given that there will be musicians and performers that are right for the space that fall outside of Brette’s radar, and in those cases, as a collective, we can communicate and work together to bring in those artists, but Brette Irish is the live music curator, and is therefore the lead in this aspect of the gallery. We are very thankful that Brette has taken on this role. We appreciate her vast knowledge of the local music scene, her ability to plan and coordinate with multiple bands, and her dedication to making our concerts an enjoyable experience for everyone. We appreciate her willingness to collaborate with the other members of the collective, and also to incorporate other people’s ideas whenever possible. Thank you, Brette!
If you have a band or performer that you think would be a good fit for the space, please communicate that with Brette Irish.
In a similar position in the gallery, Shannon Edwards is our spoken word curator. Like Brette with music, Shannon is the lead on all things spoken word, including fiction readings, poetry, storytelling, lectures, et cetera. Shannon has been curating multi-media events here in Portland, and in several other cities across the states, incorporating spoken word from talented voices young and old. She is passionate about poetry, about nonfiction, about storytelling, et cetera, and we are very lucky to have her on the team. Just like Brette, Shannon is open to collaboration, and we appreciate that. Thanks, Shannon!
If you have a suggestion of a reader, storyteller, lecturer, et cetera, please communicate that with Shannon Edwards.
Riley Berger is a visual art curator, and has already brought a lot of great talent into the space. Since she has come on as a curator, Riley has brought in 8 artists over the course of three shows (Yearbook, The Future, and the upcoming Simpsons installation), two of which were the only artists to sell pieces “off the wall” during our most recent opening (The Future). Riley has also been an integral part of our installation team, as she created the lion’s share of the Propaganda installation (including both maps), and provided just under a third of the graffiti to the art wall panels. Additionally, Riley created our gallery logo, built the skeleton for the website, designed our new AMP business cards, and originally suggested bringing in Brette Irish as the music curator. Riley Berger has been an integral part of the rapid growth of AMP, and we are lucky to have her as a part of the squad. Thanks, Riley!
Rose McClung is a new curator in the space, and has been extremely helpful in the lead-up to, and during, our latest opening (The Future). Rose is working closely with Jason and Alissa on a lot of behind the scenes stuff, including scheduling and communications, and working with me to reach out to and book new and exciting artists for the space. Additionally, Rose was the face for the gallery at The Future opening, and was able to sell several zines / helped Riley Berger to sell original art off of the wall. We are very fortunate to have Rose working with us, and we are thankful for her passion. Thank you, Rose!
Omar Pleitez is the guest curator for the month of July, spearheading AMP's first graffiti show, and has played a large part in some of the behind the scenes infrastructure. He has donated panels and frames for artists, helped organize and clean out the warehouse space, and provided insight and consultation for various projects in the gallery. He has also been working hard to connect the gallery to existing organizations, and has brought several artists to the space. Perhaps the most important thing Omar has been working on is marketing strategies for the gallery, many of which will be implemented in the coming weeks and months. And on top of everything else, Omar has contributed several pieces to our shows. Thank you, Omar!
Alexander Geiszler is our technical director. He is responsible for all of our sound and lights at our concerts, and is working on installation pieces for upcoming shows. Alexander will also be bringing in visual artists and musical acts for future installations. Thank you, Alexander!
Doug Kenck-Crispin is our local historian, and will be producing a monthly history lecture, and possibly some one-off events for the space. Doug brings almost two decades of event production and marketing experience to the table, and has a vast network of local contacts. If you have questions about marketing for your event, Doug is a good person to turn to! Thank you, Doug, for all of your help!
Michael Sean is a key member on our installation team. A lot of the artwork that is worked into the build-out of the gallery is created by him—from the contemplation benches made of milk crates, to the painted newspapers in the windows, to the edited footage playing on the pile of television sets, Michael spends up to 30 hours a week in the gallery (and outside of it) creating art installation for our activations. Michael also works with me and the rest of the installation crew to develop our show themes, and to come up with new events to have in the space. Additionally, he is our house DJ, and as such he curates all of the music in the background of our events. Thank you, Michael!
Next we talked about the Patreon.
Some things have moved forward on this, so I will fill you in about that now!
We have decided to only offer two tiers. The first tier is $1+, and gives the patron full access to our patron-only feed. Our supporters will get access to videos and merchandise before we release it publicly, and will get sneak-peeks of upcoming shows, et cetera. We decided not to set up a whole tier system, because gatekeeping the art based on how much money people are willing to spend is antithetical to our goal of building community. Our recommended donation is $5 a month, but this tier is a pay-what-you-want, and starts at $1.
The second-tier is to support the live shows (music, spoken word, performance). This is $15 a month tier, and each member at this level gets into all of the shows and gets a free beverage. We make it clear that shows are sliding scale, and that beverages are free with suggested donation, but that by supporting the events in a subscription model, it allows us to have more moving capital, and gives us the freedom to book bands / readers / etc, and keep events cheap / free for the greater community.
I have the copy written, and the first iteration of the page is currently live. I am hoping that everyone will feel comfortable sharing the Patreon link and talking about it, but please do not do so blindly. Read through it when you get the chance, and make sure that it is something that you want to promote before you push it through your social media. You are not required to, or even expected to share this publicly! It is solely up to your discretion whether you share the Patreon or not.
If you are going to share the Patreon through social media, I ask that you share it privately first. Send it to the people that you think will definitely support it, that way we get some supporters on the books before we go wide. People are more likely to support a cause that already has support, as weird as that is. For example, I'm going to support it for a $5 a month, just to get one more Patron on there, and I'm going to ask my grandpa, and my cousin, and my close group of friends that come to every event.
But I must reiterate, you are 100% not expected to share the Patreon! It is weird asking the public for money, and if you don't want to do it, I totally understand! Only share it if you feel comfortable doing so :)
We briefly discussed the possibility of collaborating on the Patreon video. If you are interested in participating in that, let me know! I could use the help!
Then we talked about what people are individually working on.
Shannon is working on her first reading in the space. It will be on May 3rd, and we have three readers booked. We are very excited! Good luck, Shannon! And thank you!
Brette has two shows booked in May, including her tape release (May 18th), and our official Simpsons show (May 24th). Super pumped about these! Thanks, Brette!
Omar is working on the graffiti show. He has 7 artists, and is working on getting them into the space to paint. We are currently trying to figure out how to film them spraying their panels, and are hoping to do time-lapse. If you have ideas about this, let Omar know! Thanks, Omar, for all your hard work!
Michael is working with me and Riley on the Simpsons installation, which is too close for comfort! Thanks, dudes! Excited to see what we come up with!
Rose pitched doing an interactive event tying biology and art, and we will be working to develop that in the coming weeks and months. We will also be working to develop her curating skills, and she will be bringing in more folks for upcoming shows. Very exciting! Thanks, Rose! Welcome to the team!
Doug will be launching his lecture series some time in May (still need to figure out dates, but it will probably be a Tuesday). He has also offered to drop in and spend some time, so if you need help with something, feel free to reach out! We will most definitely have a marketing meeting soon, I know we can use some help there. Thanks, Doug!
Riley is working to develop drink + draw events, and created / began development on our themes for August (David Lynch), and September (text-based work / Words). Thank you, Riley!
We also discussed themes for June. I have been leaning towards Shannon's suggestion of doing a show around non-binary issues, but I am having a hard time figuring it out. As a cis male, I do not have the vocabulary, or the experience to do this on my own. I am thinking that we should do this show, which I am calling BREAKING THE BINARY, with the help of queer and trans and non-binary curators, to make sure that we are actually providing a platform and not just using representation as a marketing ploy. But to bring in guest curators, we need to push it back, because June is too soon to solve that problem.
Shannon, this was your pitch, so let's meet soon and start figuring out how to approach this. And anyone else that wants to help, we all appreciate it!
The theme we have chosen for June is DREAMS. I will have the official invitation copy soon, and we will get everything going on this. Very exciting!
And that was the meeting!
Thank you everyone for participating, and for reading this wall of text, lol. I appreciate you, and am very thankful for all of your help.
Please let me know if you need anything from me, or if I left anything important out of this document. And please check this secret part of our site often for info blasts.
Thanks again! Best :)