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The museum puts the spotlight on designers of all kinds in the permanent exhibit; it's showing at Clay Creative

COURTESY PHOTO - Designer Angela Medlin (right), founder of FAAS (Functional Apparel & Accessories Studio), is part of the new 'We Design' exhibit.Take a look around you. Everything has been built through the work of a designer (even nature, if you're spiritual). The streets and buildings of Portland, rooms of every size, the automobiles, the art, the clothing, products and branding and more — it started with somebody sketching or working on a computer to determine what it should look like.

That's the idea behind the Design Museum Portland's new permanent exhibit, developed in partnership with real estate developer Killian Pacific, "We Design: People. Practice. Progress.," which has opened at Clay Creative, 1615 S.E. Third Ave.

And, it's an inclusive project, shining the light on designers all around Portland and the country as a way to show that ideas and creativity come from everywhere and from any background.

"Designers as a whole have done some excellent exhibits, unique and very niche," said Erica Rife, manager director of Design Museum Portland. "We wanted to tell what design is and who designers are, that they come from different backgrounds and inspirations.

"When talking about design, there's a broad spectrum outside of graphic designer and interior designer. We need to identify how people get into these careers, and we realized it's much more deep and meaningful when we're focused on equity and inclusion."

The exhibition itself is two-fold: What it means to be a creative professional with a career, and it showcases a wide variety of people, as individuals coming from different backgrounds are channeling that into their work. Added Rife: "Their field will only get better when we have more people, ability and passion at the helm."

The individuals represent diversity in age, gender, background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and ability, and the exhibit entails stories, photos and design elements.

Featured participants are apparel designer Wookie Fields, interior designer Taniya Nayak, beauty brand founder Abibat Durosimi and UX designer Kat Holmes. There are also showcases of an architect, a printmaker and an educator.

The exhibit will be evolving and move periodically; after Killian Pacific's Clay Creative, through April 24, it'll be staged at BRIC Architecture and then Portland Community College campuses (mostly Sylvania).

"Creative expression plays a significant role in fostering healthy and vibrant communities that are rich in culture," said Adam Tyler, president of Killian Pacific.

"We are particularly inspired by Design Museum's exhibit and its focus on the need for increased diversity in the design and innovation industries. Portland's Central Eastside is an urban hub for arts, design, and innovation; thus, we are thrilled to support the local arts community in our district and the importance of diversity within our region."

For more: www.designmuseumportland.org.


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