A nonprofit cultural landmark in Southeast Portland moves down to Powell Boulevard

RITA A. LEONARD - At nonprofit Artichoke Musics new site at S.E. 20th and Powell, Operations Executive Bob Howard mans the front counter with volunteer Don Wheatley. The nonprofit music community center "Artichoke Music" has moved from their longtime Hawthorne site to a space at S.E. 20th and Powell Boulevard.

For 45 years they have supported musicians and music lovers in a creative milieu that offers classes, training, live events, and instrument rental and repair. They offer encouragement to music lovers of all levels, styles, and ages – but mostly to adults. They also produce compilation CDs to promote local talent.

Artichoke will occupy 2 adjacent storefronts. 2001 S.E. Powell will be home to Café Artichoke's concerts and "open mic" opportunities. Next door, the 2007 S.E. Powell site will house the instrument store and music school, with classes and practice rooms upstairs.

The transition is occurring in phases. The instrument store opened July 30, while the Music School will begin on September 11 with the start of fall classes. Go online to for registration information. Café Artichoke is expected to be up and running in early October, following structural renovations. The Café will continue to host its long-running Thursday night "Songwriters' Roundup" open mic, its popular "Friday Night Coffeehouse" featuring audition winners, and Saturday and Sunday night concerts.

"We're looking forward to connecting with our new neighbors and welcoming back our loyal supporters," says Ed Rosney, one of many longtime volunteers who helped in the move.

Bob Howard, Treasurer and Operations Executive of Artichoke Music, reveals that the new space is about 400 square feet bigger than their former Hawthorne location, and is organized differently. "In the 1920s, the Café area here used to be a theater, with high ceilings. It will make a great space for the stage we're building in the back. We've brought some of our antique furniture, signs, and instruments from the Hawthorne Boulevard site, and will use them for decorations."

Artichoke supports Oregon's professional musicians by growing the audience for acoustic music, which has deep roots in our culture. They help audiences understand and appreciate the character of folk music, blues, jazz, bluegrass, and country music. They provide education through their Music School, assistance with all types of instruments, and outreach to under-served communities. Loyal volunteers have assisted for decades.

All of Artichoke Music's programs and activities are built around and focused on community-building, says Howard. They strive to offer a wide range of instructional books and DVDs for the public. The center connects performers with audiences, teachers with students, learners with mentors, and players with each other.

"The new building is air conditioned – a big help during the recent heatwave," says Howard. "We are so grateful for the support we've received from Commissioner Nick Fish's and Chloe Eudaly's offices in setting up our new venue."

Open daily, Artichoke Music has a mission of serving people who love music, both players and listeners. They are dedicated to the inclusion of diverse cultures in both artists and audiences, offering a site where everyone can engage in the benefits of music. Call 503/232-8845 for more information and business hours.

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