Community Update April 2022

To our friends, neighbors, and community, 

Our winter and spring have been brightened by outstanding exhibitions like Queen Nefertari’s Egypt and Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism, the latter of which is bringing an average of 9,000 visitors per week downtown and into the galleries. We also continue to uplift and highlight local artists and artists of color with exhibitions like Mesh, APEX: Sharita Towne & A Black Art Ecology of Portland, and the rotating gallery AUX/MUTE, curated by The Numberz FM. 

New media and storytelling also shone brightly over these past several months, culminating in the recent Cinema Unbound Awards and the announcement of PAM CUT, Center for an Untold Tomorrow, as the new name for the Northwest Film Center.

With our community returning to in-person activities and continuing to embrace online opportunities, our calendar is full of talks, lectures, film screenings, awards ceremonies, and more. We have also been able to bring back our Miller Family Free Days, and look forward to offering one on April 24.  It is nothing short of phenomenal to see our galleries full again, and a great joy to have schools returning for tours. I am so grateful to all of our members, donors, and partners who have been with us through it all.


Brian Ferriso

Program Highlights & News

Live mural painting.

Frida Kahlo, Diego, Rivera, and Mexican Modernism 

Portlanders were ready for this long-awaited exhibition to open, and they have been showing up in the galleries, in online programs, and participating in partnerships in a big way. At the midpoint of the exhibition, attendance is on track to be one of the most well-attended exhibitions in Museum history and also one of the most inclusive. The exhibition labels are offered in both English and Spanish, as are the advertising and promotion. Learning and community partnership highlights include the following: 

  • To accompany the exhibition, local Latinx artists are creating large-scale murals in the main entry area of the Museum, and visitors can observe the process and engage with the artists as they work. 
  • Students of many ages are connecting to the exhibition via self-guided tours with a printed dual language family guide, and also through programming with Cesar Chavez K-8 dual language immersion program and the Studio Latino program of Latino Network. College students from Pacific University have also taken part by creating Spanish-language reflections on works in the exhibition.
  • To meet visitor demand, the Museum recently expanded hours to include Friday evenings for the first time since the pandemic. 
Queen Nefertari’s Egypt.

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt 

This anticipated exhibition brought ancient Egypt to Portland in fascinating fashion from October to January. More than 75,000 visitors immersed themselves in the daily lives of Egyptians during the time of Queen Nefertari and were introduced to customs and city life through art and objects that have been preserved for centuries. 

  • “Rockstar” Egyptologist Kara Cooney presented a virtual lecture and was also a guest on the Museum’s Art Unbound podcast, where it quickly became the most listened-to episode ever with 1,600 listens to Awkward Questions for Kara Cooney
PAM CUT Cinema Unbound Awards.

PAM CUT is the new name for the Northwest Film Center 

In March, the Northwest Film Center became PAM CUT, Center for an Untold Tomorrow. The new name, which was revealed during the third annual Cinema Unbound Awards on March 8, positions the 50-year-old organization for a more expansive future.

  • Boundary-breaking film and media artists were honored at the in-person Cinema Unbound Awards, which filled the Kridel Grand Ballroom for the first large-scale Museum event since the pandemic. 
  • February saw the return of screenings to the Whitsell Auditorium. First with a series dedicated to works by the Cinema Unbound Award honorees, followed by Tilda-Whirl, films from the talented, genre-defying actor Tilda Swinton.
  • PAM CUT also debuted VR to Go recently, a program where people can rent a VR headset pre-loaded with curated experiences. The next phase kicks off later this month. 
  • PAM CUT welcomes youth ages 8-14 back downtown to the Center for Untold Tomorrow this summer for Youth Summer Camp.
AUX/MUTE Gallery.

The Numberz FM Residency Partnership continues 

At the core of the Museum’s ongoing partnership with The Numberz FM, a community-based radio station that identifies with the tagline “The Black Music Experience for Black Portland,” is a goal to build meaningful relationships that strengthen the bridge between art and community. This goal continues to be met in new and meaningful ways, including:

  • The addition of The Numz Bodega Pop Up Shop. The Numz Bodega is an authentic shopping exhibition, honoring the cultural impact and history of the neighborhood staples in underrepresented communities across the country. 
  • Recent artist rotations in The Numberz AUX/MUTE Gallery include In My Skin by Jason Hill and Syrup on Watermelon by Christine Miller.
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism.

More Program Highlights 

  • PAM CUT’s Sustainability Labs is now in its second year, offering a 6-month fellowship program designed to ensure that talented, multidisciplinary media storytellers receive the support, resources, and connections to a variety of professional opportunities necessary to thrive creatively, financially, and personally. Applications are now open.
  • Miller Family Free Days returned to the Museum in October, offering free admission days during Queen Nefertari’s Egypt, as well as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism
    • The April 24 Miller Family Free Day will feature Portland Public Schools student artists through a “HeART of Portland” gallery exhibition and performances. This free day also celebrates and thanks Portlanders for their ongoing public support of the Arts and Education Access Fund.

In the News