“Julie is a professional photographer with twenty-five years experience working predominantly in the photojournalism, documentary, and community-based art fields. She was one of the first teaching artists at Caldera, the award-winning arts program for underserved youth, and for the last 14 years has worked intensively with underserved youth and communities, introducing them to the fine arts of photography and writing in a variety of community settings.
She created the “Hello Neighbor” Project in 2007-2008, which used interviews and photographs to introduce children to their neighbors and ultimately neighbors to each other by displaying large-scale photographic portraits with text in six cities throughout Oregon – creating the state’s largest collaborative public art project. Julie was named a finalist in the President’s Council on Arts and Humanity Coming Up Taller Awards, and is currently working with the Right Brain Initiative in area classrooms and the Portland Art Museum in its Object Stories program.
“It is my hope that the position of Creative Laureate for the City of Portland will afford me the opportunity to continue advocating for the ideas I so strongly believe in – that art creates conversation, conversation creates community and everyone loves poetry written by first graders reflecting on their first photographs!” says Ms. Keefe.
Mayor Adams created the new Creative Laureate program, administered by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), to create additional opportunities for creative industry leadership and arts advocacy in the community. The Laureate will use the office of the Mayor and the Laureate role as a platform from which to advocate for the arts, creative industries and practice, and the overall cultural health of our city. The Laureate will engage citizens in a broad conversation about what role the arts should play in Portland and work to increase arts education and access to creative culture across the City of Portland.
“I think Julie Keefe is a fantastic example of the kind of artist that makes Portland a national hub for culture and creativity” stated Mayor Adams. “Julie’s work in community building through “Hello Neighbor” and her teaching through the Right Brain initiative and at the Portland Art Museum highlight her commitment to the City of Portland.
The Creative Laureate is appointed by the Mayor to serve a one-year term starting January 1, 2013.