Precipice Fund

2016 Grant Recipients

Precipice Fund is proud to announce its Round Four (2016–17) grant recipients. In the program’s fourth year, $75,000 was awarded to 17 collaborative artist projects and spaces, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 each.

Kristan Kennedy, PICA’s Visual Art Curator, and Roya Amirsoleymani, PICA’s Director of Community Engagement, gathered four panelists to review projects. The 2016 Precipice Fund Panelists were: Elizabeth Chodos, Executive and Creative Director at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency (Saugatuck, MI); Ryan N. Dennis, Public Art Director and Curator at Project Row Houses (Houston, TX); Jeff Jahn, art critic and independent curator (Portland, OR); and Carlee Smith, Artist and Former Precipice Fund Grantee (Portland, OR).


Art Writer’s Tiny ResidencyBud Clark Commons TVColumbia Slough Creek CollegecvllejerxDe-Canon: A Visibility ProjectField of View: An Artist Residency Program for Artists with DisabilitiesFutel: Old Phones, New SecretsLOCUSTS: A Post-Queer Nation ZineMiss AnthologyPhysical Education (PE)Portland Filmmakers / Boathouse MicroCinemaSanctuary SundaySpacenessThinking Through PhotographyUNA GalleryURe:AD TVYGB (Young, Gifted and Brown): Portland to Chicago

Art Writer’s Tiny Residency $5,000

Peter Simensky, Sampada Aranke

The Art Writer’s Tiny Residency is aimed to support and cultivate critics, theorists, and historians working in or around the field of contemporary art. This residency will provide three art writers with a short-term residency, pair these writers with Portland-based artists for studio visits or collaborations, and will culminate in a public Open Studio where each writer will showcase their work. This residency will build opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between art writers and artists. Curated by Peter Simensky and Sampada Aranke, The Art Writer’s Tiny Residency hopes to showcase writers who transgress the thin line between ‘writing’ and ‘artistic production. As curators Simensky and Aranke will curate writers who emphasize how visual and embodied art practices by queer artists and artists of color open up new forms of knowledges and sociality.

Bud Clark Commons Television $3,000

Peter Falanga, David Boston, Daniel Mackin Freeman, Ray Montalbo, Oliver Ngugi

Based out of Bud Clark Commons, BCCTV is an artist-run video production collective. The collective hosts weekly workshop series, free and open to anyone who has or is currently experiencing houselessness. BCCTV provides a platform for all involved to question the relationship between representation and class, and shares this with the public through the exhibition of a collaborative work of art. BCCTV will present a series of twelve workshops that provides an avenue to question societal divisions through collaborative video production, participatory art making, experimentation, and play. The project aims to connect audiences to this alternative pedagogy the concept of participatory aesthetics and promote agency via Self-representation.

Columbia Slough Creek College $5,000

Kimberly Sutherland, Adam Carlin, Kristina Dutton

Columbia Slough Creek College is an experimental school that bridges art, education and conservation. It offers free environmentally themed art classes in exchange for barters that aid in the restoration of the creek. In 2017 Creek College will host a series of three symposiums at the Columbia Slough in Portland, Oregon. The idea for the project originated in the form of a question; how can we, as artists, make the broadest environmental impact? The college will take the form of three, one-day outdoor symposiums on the Columbia Slough. For each symposium, artists will host a series of site-based classes on the water’s edge. Classes taught by artists are free to participants in exchange for a barter. Classes/workshops for the first symposium will be co-authored by students from Portland’s Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) and the PSU Art & Social Practice MFA program.

cvllejerx $3,000

christopher garcia valle, angelica maria millan lozano, maximiliano carlos-raphael francisco martinez

CVLLEJERX hopes to build POC-focused community and culture in portland through fashion, poetry, performance and FPP interventions. CVLLEJERX is an inclusive, de-gendered word for ‘street people’ in spanish. The collective strives to subvert heteronormative capitalist patriarchy through their methods of upcycling. The artists describe their collaboration as “the product of multicultural in-betweenness as second generation immigrants and the violent colonization and subsequent diaspora of colombia, mexico, and africa, while dealing with the mestizx and black experiences in America.” They call out the specifically charged site for their actions “CVLLEJERX was born in the whitest city in america, Portland, a place with deep-seated white supremacist roots. With this and other historical and contemporary circumstances in mind, we feel it is urgent for us to reclaim space in this city and hope to merge fashion, performance, and poetry as a form of resistance.”

De-Canon: A Visibility Project $4,350

Dao Strom, Neil Aitken

De-Canon: A Visibility Project is a social engagement-installation project that will create a pop-up library showcasing literary art by writers of color. The goal is to establish a new “canon” of art/literary works that is inclusive, diverse, and multi-storied in its approach to representation. De-Canon wishes to challenge dominant assumptions of who/what belongs in the Western literary “canon” as it is commonly encountered in conventional academic settings. Artists and writers from the community will be invited to to perform, present and discuss work alongside these temporal library installations. The library “list” will include published works from writers/artists of color throughout the U.S.; however, the social engagement aspect of the project will involve Portland-based writers/artists primarily. Our intention is to engage nuance, complexity, inclusivity, compassion and insight in creating a “library” that posits a new “canon” at the same time it “de-canonizes” wider assumptions of art and literature.

Field of View: An Artist Residency Program for Artists with Disabilities $5,000

Carissa Burkett, Lauren Moran, Zemie Barr

Field of View is an Artist Residency program that will place visual artists with developmental disabilities* in three-month long artist residencies around the Portland community during 2017. All of the artwork created during the residencies will be curated into a final exhibition by local gallerist Zemie Barr. The goals of this residency project are to help artists with disabilities have access to spaces and communities that they have never been able to access before, provide artists with developmental disabilities more visibility and opportunity for connection and exchange with new communities, as well as to help them develop their professional practice and gain broader audiences for their work. * permission given by the artists to disclose this information

Futel: Old Phones, New Secrets $3,300

Karl Anderson, Jason Plumb , Alex Norman, Elijah St.Clair, Debbie Wager

Futel is a network of free phone booths installed in public and semi-public locations throughout Portland. Looking at first glance like any normal payphone, Futel phones connect callers for free and offer additional options for interactivity, community building, education, and creativity, all designed and implemented by local artists, with some features provided by live operators. Equal parts hacker art and grassroots community service the project is centered around connecting people and helping them communicate. Services include free phone calls, directories of social service numbers, and free voicemail. Some are interactive and creative, such as a periodically updated audio zine of curated user messages, featured artist contributions presenting poetry and audio art, and mysterious challenges solvable using only the phone. The most freeform service provided is the operator line, currently staffed by six volunteers, where a caller can be connected to a live operator who can answer questions, or just talk.

LOCUSTS: A Post-Queer Nation Zine $4,350

Kevin Holden, Demian DinéYazhi’

LOCUSTS is a Queer zine dedicated to art, culture, literature, critique, & resurgence. The project’s focus is on amplifying the voices of queer & trans people of color & indigenous/two-spirit communities through publication & public engagement. This forthcoming zine hopes to address and challenge the current stasis in the mainstream & so-called radical queer communities. LOCUSTS embodies in all spectrums of sexuality & gender identity through small press publication and workshops. The project works to generate work that magnifies local, national, & international Queer & Trans People of Color (QTPOC) & Indigenous Queer/Two-Spirit (IQ/2S) communities whom are actively creating work through visual art, poetry/prose, critique, short stories, essays, interviews, experimental writing, concrete poetry, & various other forms of creative articulation. LOCUSTS stands to challenge hetero/homo-normative political agendas, & move away from mainstream LGBTQI2S movements that marginalize & suppress non-White histories.

Miss Anthology $4,500

Melanie Stevens, Mack Carlisle, Emily Lewis

Miss Anthology’s mission is to support racially and economically diverse youth of the female diaspora by promoting comics as a narrative tool through hands-on workshops, and publishing their work in print and online. By introducing female and genderqueer artists and writers to the comics and the art industries, they will gain a firm understanding of the power of this alternative art practice, as well as an established network of peers within this otherwise male-dominated field. The Miss Anthology project includes a series of detailed, hands-on workshops in sequential art (comics), for female and genderqueer youth, ages thirteen to eighteen, of diverse racial, religious, and economic backgrounds in the Greater Portland Area. The collectives primary objective is to help female and genderqueer students explore this artistic and literary practice as an expression of their own perspective. This artist-centric project will culminate in the print and online publication of student artwork, with the intention of annual recurrence.

Physical Education (PE) $5,000

Allie Hankins, keyon gaskin, Takahiro Yamamoto, Lu Yim

Physical Education (PE) is comprised of artists keyon gaskin, Allie Hankins, Lu Yim and Takahiro Yamamoto. Since 2014, PE has worked with local visual art and performance venues (s1, shortspace, FLOCK, homeschool, composition gallery) to host gatherings and curate shows in support of interdisciplinary artists while emphasizing a dialogue about performance. PE offers the contemporary artists, audiences, and curious individuals immersive modes to engage with visual art works that center around performance and performativity. PE has planned an annual program consisting of public critical and cultural theory reading and discussion groups, artist shares, performances in collaboration with invited artists from across the west coast and workshops.

Portland Filmmakers / Boathouse MicroCinema $4,500

Matt McCormick, Chris Freeman

Portland Filmmakers at the Boathouse MicroCinema is a project that aims to create a temporary, non-traditional screening venue dedicated to promoting local filmmakers and fostering their surrounding community. Over the course of four months, an ambitious program of weekly screenings will survey the contemporary landscape of Portland’s film scene, screening the work of over 40 local artists in a friendly, social environment that encourages dialogue and promotes collaborative engagement. The Boathouse, a decommissioned fire-boat-station, is a long-running artist-studio collective that will be transformed into a temporary, 40-seat microcinema. The marquee program will be ‘Portland Filmmakers’, a weekly screening series that will feature the work of local film and videomakers. The series will include 16 screenings, and be a comprehensive study of Portland’s current film community, offering a diverse collection of experimental, narrative, and documentary films and their makers.

Sanctuary Sunday $5,000

Christa “Coco” Madrid, Emily Laurel, Krystal Perez

Sanctuary Sunday is a live interactive audio visual presentation that invites the public to worship via audio/visual stimulus. This ongoing series invites participants to commune together to receive the “sermon” of the day, which is delivered by way of live audio/visual performances. This interactive performance event also serves as a platform to create space for Ambient/Experimental Artists who have been marginalized in the broader Ambient/Experimental music scene. This iteration of Sanctuary Sunday will be the first of this series that feature the work of solely Female identified Artists and Artists of Color.

Spaceness $5,000

Julia Barbee, Matthew Suplee, Alison Jean Cole

Spaceness is an annual art event featuring experimental visual and temporal work by Portland and Astoria area artists around the themes of time, space and the unknown. Our setting, the Sou’wester Lodge near the Pacific Ocean, serves as an expansive, otherworldly context to engage with the work. Spaceness has become a desirable platform to exhibit new work for both emerging and established artists and a place for artists and audiences from the city to the coast to commune with work and the environment. Spaceness is a free event open to the public. It is curated through a broad open call that encourages artists of all ages and from all regions of Oregon to participate. Now in its’ third iteration, the event will take place February 24-26, 2017.

Thinking Through Photography $3,300

Melanie Flood, Chelsea Crossett

Thinking Through Photography is a collaborative curatorial project organized by Portland artists Melanie Flood and Chelsea Crossett and hosted at Melanie Flood Projects (MFP). The series is a comprehensive survey of contemporary photographic practices conveyed through exhibitions, artist talks, studio visits, interviews, and readings. This programming highlights experimental and diverse approaches to image making that expand the language surrounding photography, while also unveiling progressive work by local artists in the Pacific Northwest & beyond.

Mercedes Orozco-Barreiro, Blair Crissman, Anthony Elech, Opal Grace Jones

UNA is a collective art gallery run by and for contemporary artists with “outsider” identities. UNA aims to prioritize the work of marginalized community members and emerging artists who otherwise would not have the opportunity to showcase their work in a commercial gallery. UNA offers an established place, within the greater artistic community of the Pearl district, for collaborative or solo efforts of non-established, informal, and experimental artists–regardless of experience, training, or history. With four main organizers, each with a different artistic background and history, the UNA collaborative hopes to provide support for emerging artists of all media and goals. Specifically, the group wants to highlight the work of people of color (POC), queer, gender non-conforming, and feminist artists.

URe:AD TV $4,500

Sharita Towne, Shani Peters

URe:AD TV (United Re:Public of the African Diaspora) will disseminate contemporary audiovisual works through broadcast and print by and for the African Diaspora that contribute to intra-diasporic dialogue, unity, and imagination. The collaborating artists see media as a powerful tool to be harnessed towards a self-determined diasporic collective body. URe:AD TV screenings will be marketed towards, viewed, and discussed by Black communities. Screenings will tour 5 U.S. cities, including Portland, then screen internationally in Afro-diasporic communities free of charge.

YGB (Young, Gifted and Brown): Portland to Chicago $4,500

Sarah Brahim, Natalie Figueroa

YGB: Portland to Chicago is a “performance residency” which will travel a small cohort of artists from each city for cross-community dialogues, dinners, site visits, artist shares and performances. The residency will foster connections across cities and promote the creative and intellectual growth of emerging artists of color. YGB’s resident artists work within the culturally rooted practices of beatmaking, MCing, DJing, Street Dance, Media, Broadcast and Visual Art. The cohorts activities will culminate in a large scale public event featuring the work of resident artists and their community partners.


For full project summaries, quotes, and more press information, please download the press release for the round four grant announcement (PDF).