Portland State University, which added a new museum space a few years ago with the opening of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU, has designs for another significant cultural splash: a new home on campus for the School of Art + Design University. On Monday, the school chose Portland firm LEVER Architecture to design the new space.
The new 80,000-square-foot building will be constructed on the South Park Blocks between College and Jackson streets and will serve approximately 1,100 students from the School of Art + Design, which offers undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in art history, art practice, graphic design, artistic and social practice and studio practice. It will include “common rooms, classrooms, sculpture, printmaking, textile art, photography and videography studios, criticism rooms, graphic design labs, teaching rooms and art history offices,” according to a university release. The programs are currently spread across several rooms on campus.
Design work will begin this spring, construction is scheduled to begin in 2023, and the opening is expected in 2025. The Oregon legislature approved $50 million for the project last year, and the PSU is trying to raise an additional $27 million.
Known for its innovative solid wood designs, LEVER has designed several high-profile projects in recent years – including the Adidas Village in Portland, the company’s North American headquarters, and the headquarters of the Meyer Memorial Trust, projects, via the ArtsWatch staff Brian Libby wrote for Metropolis Magazine here and here. Other current projects include the new home of the Artists Repertory Theater in Portland.
Speaking of Portland State, PSU Opera is gearing up for the performance The Merry Wives of Windsor, Otto Nicolai’s musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s rough rage a comedy about cheering up the irresistibly terrible Sir John Falstaff. The performances of Sir John and Mistresses Page and Ford are significant for several reasons, in addition to their enduring entertainment value.
This production at PSU’s Lincoln Performance Hall is finally taking the stage after being postponed in April 2020 due to pandemic-related shutdowns. And it’s the latest production to be directed by Christine Meadows, the former star of New York City Opera who helped build PSU Opera into a major university program, and who last year served as director of the singing and opera program at the university retired.
happy women will have four performances at Lincoln Hall from April 22nd to May 1st. Tickets and more information here.
Meanwhile, Orpheus PDX, a new professional opera company led by former Portland Opera Artistic Director Christopher Mattaliano, begins a summer residency with two productions at PSU’s Lincoln Performance Hall this year.
IN SALEM, PUTIN ON THE PARADE. With Russian troops hot on their heels in Ukraine, Salem’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art has brought one of Oregon’s top satirical artists, Jim Riswold, into the building to display a series of staged photographic prints bearing the name Putin’s grand parade. They are simultaneously toy-like, absurd and satirical.
“Part One is more about the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” says Riswold. “The Russian army is overrated. It’s a motley collection of outdated gear, bad morale (due to 30% conscription), outdated tactics, etc. Part two focuses more on the Ukrainians and what’s happening to them – destruction, orphans, refugees, confused cows, etc.”
The prints are also all for sale, and all proceeds from sales and all donations go to the museum’s Ukrainian relief fund, which supports Ukrainian refugees through ICOM (International Council of Museums) Poland.
The show begins April 16th and runs through May 28th. A few other shows open at the museum on the same day: mumble, the annual exhibition of Willamette University’s senior art majors; and Chelsea Couch: Boots, bullets, pants and bologna.
VOTES FOR UKRAINE. Five outstanding choirs – Roman Cappella, Portland Symphonic Choir, Oregon Repertory Singers, PSU Chamber Choir and the traditionally outstanding Grant High School A Capella Choir – are gearing up for a major concert benefiting the Mercy Corps’ emergency relief efforts in Ukraine. They will sing great choral works by Ukrainian composers such as Arvo Pärt, Dmytro Bortnianskyi and Maksym Berezovskyi. All five choirs will perform the national anthem of Ukraine and Mikola Lysenko together Prayer for Ukraineand the concert will culminate with Pärt’s Da Pacem Domine (Give peace, O Lord).
It will be held on Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson St. in Portland’s Goose Hollow neighborhood. Tickets and more information here.
HOMAGE TO LADY DAY. One of Portland’s better annual music traditions is Siren Nation’s tribute concert to great singer Billie Holiday, who would have turned 107 this month. The 15th Annual Lady Sings the Blues – A Tribute to Billie Holiday is held at the Alberta Rose Theater on Saturday April 23rd and the cast of singers is outstanding: LaRhonda Steele, Danielle M. Barker, Arietta Ward, Anandi, Emily Wilder, Marcia Hocker. A portion of the ticket price will be donated to the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center and Rosemary Anderson High School. Tickets and more information here.
A GATHERING TO CELEBRATE UNA LOUGHRAN. Friends, colleagues and admirers of Una Loughran, who died of cancer on January 7th at the age of 58, will gather this Saturday, April 16th from 3-5pm at the BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17 Ave. in Portland, gather to commemorate her and celebrate her life. Una was the dance company’s general manager for 20 years, a key figure behind the scenes with a keen business acumen and, for many people who attended BodyVox, the face of the company, a benevolent presence in the lobby, meeting and greeting and making sure everything went right.
WHAT WAYNE IS IT EVEN? For three shows this weekend when he rejoins the cast of Freestyle Love Supreme he is on the Portland Center Stage for his post-Broadway appearance at The Armory. Broadway cast actor and comedian Wayne Brady will return in this show from the creators of Hamilton in performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 15.-16. April. Brady has deep theatrical credits, including Kinky boots and Chicago on Broadway and played Aaron Burr in it Hamilton in Chicago. He is a six-time Emmy winner who has appeared in many television series and had his own Wayne Brady Show. A very funny man who can also sing. Many people immediately remember him as a key member of the American improv comedy show Whose line is it anyway? Tickets and more information here.
BETWEEN BACK IN THE WEST END: Broadway and Portland producer Corey Brunish is in London for a while as producer and assistant director of the London premiere of the musical Bonnie and Clyde. He played the same roles for the Broadway premiere in 2011 (and that’s where he actually met his wife-to-be and producing partner in the theater lobby). If all goes according to plan, he says he will eventually direct the show for the Lakewood Theater in Lake Oswego.