The Precipice Fund funnels cash to outer edge projects

PICA spends some Warhol Foundation money on some exotic projects: We can't wait!

Early last year, we wrote about the Precipice Fund, a Warhol Foundation-funded and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art-distributed pot of money intended for the use of artists and artist groups who typically wouldn’t clear the required hurdles at most foundations. Maybe they’re too new, too small, or aren’t  501(c)(3) non-profits.

The amount of money involved wasn’t gigantic, $75,000, but then the applicants that the Precipice Fund was trying to reach weren’t trying to keep a museum or symphony orchestra in business, either. The maximum anyone could ask for was $5,000, and the list of projects funded at other Warhol participants in its Regional Regranting Program (it is now operating in San Francisco, Kansas City, Chicago and Houston) blossomed with exotic ideas. Think of a hothouse filled with surreally tropical blooms.

A Linda Austin project received a Precipice grant./Chelsea Petrakis

A Linda Austin project received a Precipice grant./Chelsea Petrakis

Yesterday, PICA announced its first class of grants, and the 18 recipients testify to the presence of a similar creative and surreally entrepreneurial artists here. Some of the money will go to support existing arts spaces, visual or performing, that while not officially non-profit couldn’t be considered commercial, either. Publishers and publications receive support. One grantee has the acronym C.O.P.S. (The Conceptual Oregon Performance School) and provides a summer workshop in experimental art techniques, and another, Safe & Sound?, “offers an overview of Portland’s unique history of policing and race relations and documents its rich history of resistance.” There’s even a grant to support a project that seeks to see what happens when artists stay at home and interact with their neighbors.

PICA itself describes the Precipice Fund this way:

“The Precipice Fund provides critical support for artist-driven organizations, projects, initiatives, and publications that exist on the edge of new practice. These projects operate outside of traditional forms of support, galvanize communities, promote critical dialogue, and encourage generative and expansive artistic process while driving culture forward regionally and nationally. These often informal, anti-institutional, serious, intentionally nebulous, and innovative projects are an integral part of Portland’s vital art ecology and are emulative of the pioneering spirit of the Pacific Northwest.”

But have a look for yourself. For me, some of the names were familiar (I participated in the most recent issue of FRONT, the dance newspaper, for example), and some were not. Which may well be part of the point. We’re going to attempt to track these projects in the coming year, just to see what happens. I’ve just copy and pasted the project summaries from the PICA press release below.


Resident Residency
Collaborators: Sara Asher, Ariana Jacob, Khris Soden, Cyrus Smith, Linda Wysong, Mack McFarland
Award Amount: $4,500
Project Summary: Resident Residency proposes value in artists staying home to focus on where they live and work, inviting them to participate in their neighborhood association meetings as catalysts for participatory public artworks, and to broaden understanding of their own neighborhood context through trainings and public conversations throughout the city. The grant supports this project’s one-year pilot residency to culminate in broad distribution of a paper and electronic publication that documents experiences and lays groundwork for future programming.

Random Access Tape / Stream Room Installation
Collaborators: Dominic Billand, Dana Paresa, David Fleming, Tomás Tello
Award Amount: $2,800
Project Summary: This two-phase project involves multidisciplinary artists collaborating locally and internationally. The first phase encompasses production of a collaborative, internet submission-based musique-concrete cassette tape, Random Access Tape, comprised of hundreds of short compositions to be distributed at various locations locally, nationally and internationally. The second phase, Stream Room, consists of an immersive, 8-channel sound installation, with accompanying visual aids, of a continuously-shifting sound collage piece formed by randomly sequenced, streaming broadcasts of work collected during Phase 1.

The Cosmic Serpent, a show in three acts
Collaborators: Julia Calabrese, Emily Bernstein
Award Amount: $4,000
Project Summary: A made-for-TV play to be performed for a live audience, aired on public access television, and constructed entirely of handmade sets and props. Non-actors from various sectors of the community will be cast as performers. The grant will support the cost of project development, production, and execution.

FalseFront – Yearly Program Budget
Collaborators: Jason Doize, Amber Corneliuson
Award Amount: $4,500
Project Summary: Start in 2008 as an alternative space in a renovated neighborhood storefront in NE Portland, FalseFront provides regional contemporary artists and curators an exhibition space distinct from customary gallery settings, with a commitment to artists’ creative freedom. FalseFront often presents the first solo exhibitions of artists who go on to garner greater publicity, exposure, opportunity, and critical accolades regionally and nationally.

Collaborators: Caitlin Ducey, Kyle Thompson
Award Amount: $3,900
Project Summary: Established in 2010, 12128 is a project space on a 135-ft., decommissioned crab fishing vessel moored on the Willamette River. The grant will support a series of microresidencies and subsequent exhibitions for visiting artists at 12128, with the goal of providing Portland artists/audiences greater exposure t and critical dialogue with visual artists from outside the local region.

Collaborators: Tahni Holt, Linda K. Johnson, Linda Austin
Award Amount: $2,800
Project Summary: A collaboratively designed and facilitated workshop to provide visual and interdisciplinary artists interested in materials of performance–time, space, presence, physicality and voice–a rigorous place to study, experiment and practice. The grant supports the cost of creating, delivering, and documenting workshops, and keeping it affordable for participants.

Not Too Distant Futures
Collaborators: Garrick Imatani, Anna Gray, Ariana Jacob, Ryan Wilson Paulsen
Award Amount: $5,000
Project Summary: A series of artistic interventions that reimagine existing modes of communication, distribution, and circulation, with particular interest in how art can address the Political and function in responsive relationship to cultural and political happenings locally and globally. Collaborators will design and model experimental distribution forms that artists, activists, and writers will be invited to inhabit, creating authored or anonymous work made public through cellphone technology, public signage, print publication, and the internet. Documentation will be collected and made accessible for download on a project website.

Collaborators: Felisha Ledesma, Alex Ian Smith
Award Amount: $5,000
Project Summary: Launched in 2012, Multiplex is an artist-run gallery, project space, and venue for emerging contemporary art and music, regularly hosting local, national, and international artists working across mediums. The Precipice Fund grant supports a new year of programming, including exhibitions and live events, for Portland’s art community.

EFFPortland 2014 – The Experimental Film Festival Portland, Year 3
Collaborators: Ben Popp, Hannah Piper Burns, Kiri Hargie, Lena Munday
Award Amount: $4,000
Project Summary: An artist-run, five-day festival celebrating the diverse, dynamic landscape of experimental film, video and new media, in traditional and nontraditional cinema settings. Gathers the broader experimental film/media community with local audiences. The grant will support artist fees, programming, and collaborative publicity with other small, experimental Portland festivals.

Amur Initiatives Media and Research (AIMR/AMUR)
Collaborators: Rebecca Peel, Jonah Porter, John Knight, Brian Echon, Zachary Davis, Lia Griesser
Award Amount: $3,200
Project Summary: Amur Initiatives Media and Research Group is a flexible organism with visual art at its core, which just presented an inaugural exhibition documented at the Umpqua Dunes in Southern Oregon. All AMUR media content will eventually be publically accessible online. The Precipice Fund grant supports additional first-season programming for AMUR.

Safe & Sound?: Artists Respond to Police Violence
Collaborators: Julie Perini, Erin Yanke, Jodi Darby
Award Amount: $4,000
Project Summary: Safe & Sound? is a collaboratively produced video/web project about police violence in Portland. Through a collection of short documentary and experimental videos, the project offers an overview of Portland’s unique history of policing and race relations and documents its rich history of resistance. The Precipice Fund grant will support the costs of producing and premiering a feature film version and DVD of the project.

Van Pham, Matthew Henderson, Chris Spencer, Jessica Cole, Ian Paige, Caitlin King
Award Amount: $3,000
Project Summary: An ambiguous acronym for a bi-monthly performance series at Alberta Abbey, a mixed-use church in NE Portland that features a rotating program of performing artists in the Abbey sanctuary. Modeled loosely on a liturgical mass, and tailored to a secular audience, M.A.S.S. curates musicians, writers, videographers, and guest artists to provide a meditative experience for audiences. Visual artists create limited edition letterpress program guides with local poetry, and concerts are recorded as cassette tape keepsakes for the following M.A.S.S.

EIGHTS, Issue No. Two
Collaborators: Lisa Radon, Emily Henderson
Award Amount: $5,000
Project Summary: EIGHTS is an annual publication, an exhibition on the page for readings and writings by artists and writers. Concrete poems share space with conceptual writing, visual readings, and text works and writings by artists. EIGHTS No. One was 126 pp., offset printed, smyth sewn, and perfect bound in Portland and Silverton in an edition of 300 with a letterpressed cover by a Portland-based artist, set in Perpetua and Univers. Issue No. One included two inserts, a full-color offset poster and letterpressed print. Precipice Fund will support production of Issue No. Two, to be produced in the same manner with the same specifications.

Container Corps—An Arts Press
Collaborators: Gary Robbins, Zoë Clark
Award Amount: $5,000
Project Summary: Container Corps is a design studio, offset print shop, and bindery that serves as a platform for the creation, distribution, and discussion of new arts publications. The books that we publish are collaborations between artists and their ideas and our skills as editors, publication designers, and printmakers. This grant will aid in the funding of a year of operations for Container Corps, including the production of three new publications, hosting public launch events to release each book, and attending two internationally acclaimed book fairs.

C.O.P.S. (The Conceptual Oregon Performance School)
Collaborators: Patrick Rock, several C.O.P.S. workshop facilitators
Award Amount: $5,000
Project Summary: C.O.P.S. (The Conceptual Oregon Performance School) is a free, artist-run, experimental summer school, with a focus on contemporary performance and conceptual-based art strategies. Its mandate is to engage participants in the methodologies, critical theory, and dialogue surrounding the discipline, while investigating its social and cultural role. Participants will experiment with a myriad of contemporary performance strategies through direct interaction with visiting artists, curators, and visual art professionals; formal and informal lectures, open seminar-based dialogue; and structured group critique.

Weird Shift Storefront
Collaborators: Adam Rothstein, Rosalynn Rothstein, Carl Diehl
Award Amount: $4,000
Project Summary: Weird Shift is a six-month, multi-faceted project designed to create a community culture around lesser-known areas of knowledge, and to collect, document, share, and stimulate investigation of illuminating and exciting marginalia. Events will build community culture around minor areas of knowledge, including local and regional arcana, anecdotal stories, speculative histories, and vernacular electronics. Weird Shift’s archives will be made accessible through curated display, encouraging marginalia research by interested publics.

Collaborators: Tahni Holt, Danielle Ross, Noelle Stiles, Robert Tyree
Award Amount: $4,300
Project Summary: A collective of four Portland zealots who produce a broadsheet newsprint publication devoted to contemporary dance. In 2014, FRONT will capstone five years of collaboration with the creation and distribution of Edition 4. FRONT honors invested ideas and reflections from the field of contemporary dance by soliciting content from peer artists near and far, creating a highly visible and accessible resource to nurture Portland’s artistic communities, connect distant cultural sites, and cultivate broader appreciation for a breadth of work in and around contemporary dance. An art object available for just $2/copy, FRONT operates in the personal domain, giving its audience a stake in the vibrant considerations its pages portray. This grant will support FRONT’s curation, art direction, presentation, and distribution in 2014.

Portland Museum of Modern Art
Collaborators: Libby Werble, Eric Isaacson
Award Amount: $5,000
Project Summary: The Portland Museum of Modern Art is an art gallery dedicated to exhibiting high-caliber contemporary art in North Portland, an alternative model for bringing quality art from the national landscape to Portland and exhibiting it in an unconventional setting that reflects the city’s cultural values of self-organizing and connectivity. The artists who show their work here are considered collaborators in the vision of a community-built, neighborhood-oriented “Modern Art Museum.” We are creating the art space we want to see in Portland. The Precipice Fund will support ongoing programming in 2014.


Comments are closed.

Oregon ArtsWatch Archives