Angela Mattox New Full-time PICA Artistic Director

Angela Mattox, incoming PICA Artistic Director. photo: John Lee. courtesy PICA.


The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) welcomes Angela Mattox as new full-time Artistic Director. Coming to PICA from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where she was performance curator, Mattox steps into the AD position on September 1, just on the cusp of PICA’s Time-Based Art (TBA) Festival, September 8-18.

As much as many of us have appreciated what guest artistic directors Mark Russell and Cathy Edwards have brought to Portland for the annual TBA Festival, there’s no replacement for a full-time resident AD who can strengthen PICA’s year-round presence and profile in Portland as well as strengthening national and international connections.

Attesting to the fact that this will be good all the way around, PICA Executive Director Victoria Frey was quoted in the Oregonian  saying, “Helping regional artists break through to a bigger platform is something she’ll be good at. And she really will play a strong civic role.”

What can we expect from Mattox? YBCA credits her with revitalizing its performing arts program from 2003 through 2011, supporting work by such artists as Ralph Lemon, Meg Stuart, Nick Cave, and Lemi Ponifasio, and championing new work by local artists in the Bay Area, including Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Keith Hennessy, and Sarah Shelton Mann.

Prior to her time at YBCA, Mattox was at Arts International from 1999-2003, coordinating national grant programs like the Artists Exploration Fund, the California Presenters Initiative, and The Fund for US Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions.

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Part of her charge with PICA is to extend that conversation beyond the late-summer flurry of TBA. “There’s all this momentum, but then what happens with audiences afterward? Sometimes there isn’t time to explore all the resonances of a piece within the festival format.”

It’s important, she says, to combine and balance the concentrated energy of the festival with the deeper engagement and reflection afforded by consistent year-round programming.

To that end, she hopes to bring visiting artists for longer engagements, foster more intimate dialogues about the creative process and find various ways to “go deeper with the projects.”

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