Just some of our first six months of 2009 programming

A letter from Victoria Frey, Executive Director of PICA

This past year we saw the personal, professional, and cultural lives of our community turned upside down. Amid this uncertainty, PICA’s commitment to remain a vital, provocative, and fiscally responsible organization never faltered, and our devotion to supporting the art and the artists who will be the enduring voice of our time was steadfast.

As we budgeted for 2009, we made difficult reductions in our programming and administrative budgets, running lean on the backs of staff and volunteers whose passion and selflessness are unmatched. We made these cuts with an eye not just toward survival, but longevity. And in spite of these reductions, we celebrated a great year of programming. We skated around Oaks Park with local composer and musician Ethan Rose, laughed and cried with Holcombe Waller, and celebrated our 14th Birthday with a trio of local bands.

We created a tremendous community in and around the old Washington High School for TBA:09. We mingled and shared the bounty of our local food on the WHS lawn for the Labor Day picnic, we explored and delighted in Fawn Krieger’s National Park, and stayed up late at THE WORKS. We gathered for important and exciting new work from Miguel Gutierrez, who wowed us with the world premiere of Last Meadow; Erik Friedlander, who accompanied his autobiographical piece Block Ice & Propane with masterful strokes of his cello; and Raimund Hoghe, whose stunning choreography has been lauded around the world but never before seen in the United States until he stepped onto the stage of the Newmark. We rounded out the year with a two-week residency by choreographer Diana Szeinblum, who gave a workshop for local dancers. At the end of her residency, she presented a work-in-progress showing of a new piece that PICA commissioned her to develop.

As 2009 comes to a close, and we head into a new year that will continue to test our mettle as a nimble and entrepreneurial arts organization, your year-end donation makes a defining difference. We need to raise $30,000 from individual donors to counterbalance a two-year trend of decreased individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Our goal is practical, responsible, and achievable. If we meet this challenge together PICA will kick off 2010–our 15th year–with the ongoing financial stability we have all worked so hard to achieve.

Great civilizations are measured not by the rise and fall of businesses or the changing tides of commerce, but by the art that distills the tenor of the time and the spirit of the people. Our world is marked by upheaval and uncertainty, and the art that is being created today is challenging, reflecting that anxiety. PICA is the loudspeaker–the megaphone–that allows the voices of contemporary artists to carry across distance and time.

At PICA, our challenge is to balance our ambitions and dreams with economic realities. But it is up to you to define those realities; that is your challenge. This letter is in your hands because you’ve joined us and witnessed the passion of these times on our stages, screens, and gallery walls. These moments have the power to change your life and challenge your thinking.

Join PICA as we celebrate and preserve Portland’s cultural legacy. Renew–or increase–your commitment to PICA, and share in our vision of a future filled with the best that contemporary art has to offer.

Victoria Frey
Executive Director, PICA

PS: Download the full PDF version of our year-end newsletter to read a letter from Artistic Director Cathy Edwards and be the first to browse the PICA Shoppe including limited edition artworks by past PICA and TBA artists.

Photo Credits: January: Ethan Rose OAKS CD Release, photo: Adam Porterfield. February: PSU Monday Night Lecture Series, photo: Edgar Arceneaux. March: Holcombe Waller and the Healers Into the Dark Unknown: The Hope Chest, photo: Lucas Balzer. April: TADA! The Annual Gala, photo: Jeff Forbes. May: PICA HEART NYC with Ace Hotel and PAPER Magazine, photo: culturebot. June: Washington High School: load in and build out begins, photo: Kenneth Aaron.