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Items include Oregon Children's Theatre and 'A Kids Play About Racism,' 2020 Governor's Arts Awards, Jewish museum's 'Southern Rites,' Portland Center Stage's Community Voices Project and more

COURTESY PHOTO: MICHAEL DURHAM/OREGON ZOO - An endangered western pond turtle, reared at the Oregon Zoo, is released into the wild in the Columbia River Gorge.Racism play

Oregon Children's Theatre and 41 other Theatres for Young Audiences companies will put on a virtual premiere of "A Kids Play About Racism," streaming free Aug. 1-2 on Broadway On Demand.

Khalia Davis, an award-winning TYA artist, directs an all-black cast and creative team from across the country in adapting Jelani Memory's "A Kids Book About Racism."

"I jumped at the opportunity to adapt (the book) into a theatrical piece for young audiences simply because it meant we were recognizing the importance of including children in these difficult conversations," Davis said. "This show embraces the full spectrum of emotional response children may have as they navigate comprehending racism and how it may affect them."

For more: www.akidsplayabout.org.

Governor's Awards

Four people and one organization. have been honored with 2020 Governor's Arts Awards

They are: Darrell Grant, jazz musician and educator, Portland; Roberta J. Kirk, traditional artist and educator, Warm Springs; John Laursen, a writer, designer and typographer, Portland; Toni Pimble, founding artistic director of Eugene Ballet; and Portland Gay Men's Chorus.

"Not only do the arts enrich our quality of life and local economies, arts education is key in fostering a spirit of creativity and innovation in our youth," Gov. Kate Brown said. "The awards are a great way to celebrate Oregon's artistic treasures and honor the impact they have had on our state."

Oregon's highest honor for exemplary service to the arts, the 2020 Governor's Arts Awards will be celebrated during a virtual ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, on the Oregon Arts Commission Facebook page. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

'Southern Rites'

The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, 724 N.W. Davis St., will reopen Thursday, Aug. 6. It presents the return of exhibit "Southern Rites" — photographs by Gillian Laub — through Sept. 5.

Museum hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, with advanced tickets required.

Laub's photos, storytelling and visual activism examines the realities of racism and raises questions to understand the American consciousness. Her photos are from Montgomery County, Georgia, originally published in The New York Times Magazine. Her project began as an exploration of segregated high school rituals and evolved after the murder of an unarmed black man by an older white man.

The museum also will feature Mel Katz's "Wall Sculptures."

For more: www.ojmche.org.

Community voices

Portland Center Stage, which launched its PCS Remix programming, has kicked off its Community Voices Project with work from 12 Black Portland-based artists.

They are: Cycerli Ash, Ayanna Berkshire, Bobby Bermea, Delphon "DJ" Curtis Jr., Phil Johnson, Treasure Lunan, Tamera Lyn, Lauren Modica, Vin Shambry, Ithica Tell, Wanda Walden and Damaris Webb.

They'll deliver uplifting work to viewers from their homes, including monologues, poems, songs and visual art. The Community Voices Project was developed to celebrate and amplify the diverse voices of actors, designers and storytellers in the Pacific Northwest.

New featured artists will be added each month.   

"The opportunity to highlight these 12 incredible Portland theater artists in the launch of the Community Voices Project is a joy," said Marissa Wolf, artistic director. "The expansive possibilities of artists sharing what's in their hearts and minds through monologues, songs, poems and visual art creates a direct connection between artists and audiences, in a moment when a bond between us, even in isolation, is so crucial."

For more: www.pcs.org.

Turtles released

The Oregon Zoo and conservation/wildlife partners have released 23 western pond turtles, reared at the zoo, into the wild.

They have been taken care of since October 2019, but now that they're big enough to fend for themselves, they have been released in the Columbia River Gorge as part of the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project.

"When the young turtles are this big (a little less than 2 ounces), they're able to avoid predators that threaten them, like non-native bullfrogs," said Shelly Pettit, a zoo senior keeper.

The western pond turtle was once common from Baja California to Puget Sound, but now are listed as an endangered species in Washington and sensitive in Oregon.

Hiroshima Peace Tree

The Oregon Garden in Silverton is one of 26 locations in Oregon that has received a Hiroshima Peace Tree, a ginkgo tree seedling. It has been planted to mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropping on the Japanese city on Thursday, Aug. 6.

The celebration of the planting had to be postponed, but the garden planted the seedling next to its Garden Green event lawn to mark the occasion. Allison Pennell, development director for The Oregon Garden Foundation, and her daughter planted the tree, adding a heart-shaped rock near the base.

"Although a public celebration for the Hiroshima Peace Tree didn't happen, we hope to host one in the future," Pennell said. "It's truly an honor to have been selected for this program."

Red Yarn

Red Yarn, aka family folk artist Andy Furgeson, will release a new album Friday, Aug. 7, called "Backyard Bop."

He'll also hold a virtual concert at 4 p.m. that day on Facebook to benefit Don't Shoot PDX and Black Resilience Fund.

Like many musicians, Red Yarn has livestreamed concerts each week and wants to engage families to create their own "Backyard Bop" parties with the music. It's a fresh set of rockabilly and folk/rock tunes about small towns, neighborhoods and backyard adventures.

Online festival

With restrictions on big crowds, in-person cultural events have been limited. Add Art in the Pearl Fine Arts & Crafts Festival to the list of virtual events. The festival will be staged virtually Sept. 5-7 at artinthepearl.com.

There'll be works presented by more than 120 juried artists from across the United States and Canada.

Pumpkin Regatta

The Tualatin West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta has been canceled, with plans to host it again next year on Oct. 16, 2021.

The annual event, which involves races among costumed competitors who paddle their way around the Lake of the Commons, drew an estimated 20,000 spectators in 2018.

Still, those interested in seeing how the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers, who grow the giant pumpkins each year (most of which weigh well over 1,000 each), can view the award-winners via a Facebook page.


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