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“We the People” powers into Newport

Published on October 31, 2017 1:26PM

Values such as diversity, inclusion and tolerance are at the heart of the latest exhibit to grace the Newport Visual Arts Center — a show featuring work by some 30 artists from Portland’s Blackfish Gallery.

“We the People: A Participatory Installation” opens this Friday, Nov. 3, with a public reception from 5 to 7 pm, featuring a talk from the artists at 6 pm.

The exhibit includes nearly 100 life-sized drawings and paintings on tar paper and cardboard, a video display featuring quotes from well-known figures and interactive wall pieces where visitors can leave personal messages and handprints.

Established in 1979, the Blackfish Gallery is an artist-owned-and-operated art space located in Portland’s Pearl District, representing more than 30 artists from throughout Oregon’s art community. The gallery has a tradition of group exhibits to which all members contribute — sometimes to show the public who they are as artists, and sometime to deliver a message that underscores their fundamental values.

In ‘We the People,’ the group offers a positive collective statement about tolerance and acceptance in a contentious political environment. The central idea of the show is to underscore the fundamental values of diversity, inclusion and tolerance, values that nurture a robust society and contribute to the vibrancy of a creative community.

The exhibit will involve gallery visitors by inviting them to add their personal mark — a signature or handprint — to the works installed in the gallery.

The collection of life-sized drawing and paintings in “We the People” represent famous as well as unknown figures. The Statue of Liberty serves as a welcoming icon and invites gallery visitors to participate and reflect on the exhibition.

“We the People” was shown at the Blackfish Gallery this August and finds its first traveling gallery site at the Newport Visual Arts Center.

The exhibit, hosted by the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, will be on display through Nov. 26, in the Runyan Gallery of the center, available to view from 11 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Sunday at 777 NW Beach Drive.

Be informed

As part of the “We the People” exhibit, the Runyan Gallery will host a performance Bertolt Brecht’s “The Informer” on Sunday, Nov. 19.

Written when Brecht was in hiding from the Nazis, the play examines the devastating effect of a totalitarian regime on an ordinary Lutheran family.

The 20-minute piece was adapted by Portland poet and playwright Merridawn Duckler and stars Jamie M. Rea, Sean Doran and Madelyn Clement.

The performance will start at 1 pm at 777 NW Beach Drive, with admission by suggested donation of $5.

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