Out of all the burgs I’ve lived in, there has never been one so environmentally minded as Portland. We’ve got green roofs, bike lanes, community gardens and eco-terrorists up the wazoo. And we love, love, love to recycle. If it can be reused, reconfigured or painted with a bird you’ll find it lining shelves and yellow bins throughout the city. Once, at a house party where whip-its were door prizes and the average age was 11, I witnessed a friend picking through a pile of trash, weeding out recyclables that had been ignored and slipping them into her purse. Later she confided she just couldn’t stand the idea of them making it to the landfill and was taking them home to recycle them. That’s dedication.
This Saturday, from 7 to 11 p.m. Portland’s reused love will be taken one step forward with Waste Not, a benefit for venerable Portland institutions SCRAP (the School and Community Reuse Action Project) and Disjecta. This high-class celebration of reuse, sponsored by such high-profile corporations as Tazo Tea and Rejuvenation hardware, will feature a juried show of local art, a silent auction and all the earth lovin’ you can stomach.
The pieces will be judged by a jury of local celebrities headed up by Namita Wiggers, the curator of Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery, one of the few really exciting contemporary holdouts in town. Since the only requirement for submission to the open call was that each piece feature at least 75 percent recycled or found material, aside from the body of work being greener than your spring thumb, a huge variety of disciplines will be represented. In a town like Portland, where there are clear and absolutely defined camps among artists, the idea of a benefit bringing together the MFA’s and the folkies makes a heart warm.
And as the arts go, there could be almost no better recipients of the proceeds than the fine people at SCRAP and Disjecta. SCRAP is a nonprofit that provides the community at large with dirt-cheap donated art supplies, giving new life to reusable objects and a major boost in supply and outreach to ailing classrooms citywide. As well SCRAP offers inexpensive and wildly popular workshops and supplies to artists and crafters in training, which is nice in a city where “creative class” is often mistaken for “barista” or “bartender” and supply money is often limited.
Disjecta is one of those Portland institutions that, despite the concerted effort of the homogenizing efforts of PAM and the down-vested arts community at large, just keeps on plugging. Located in the not-so-beautiful but oh-so-viable inner Southeast, Disjecta is working under the (correct) premise that Portland is in desperate need of a permanent outlet for contemporary art. For years Disjecta has been an active participant in the arts, offering space for performance, visual and theater events, as well as having members participating in a big way with such landmark PDX events as “Core Sample,” “the Moder ‘n’ Zoo” and PICA’s awesome TBA fest. As Portland continues to grow, the city is going to have to adopt a contemporary viewpoint, and the inclusion of spaces like Disjecta is what’s going to make that happen.
Waste Not is an act of P-Town love. Its support of these two institutions warms my cockles and is an injection of hope that the next decade will result in a bevy of artist and patron opportunities that seemed unreachable in the past. Beside that the event will be fun. Everyone loves a themed auction and local acts like Mother’s Bistro and Full Sail Brewing will be providing refreshments with Wade McCollum and the Brothers of the Baladi (of Batboy fame) on music duty. And while the $20 ticket price is a far cry from picking through the trash at a punk house, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to try doing well while keeping classy.
Waste Not will be held Sat., March 4, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Tazo Tea Company Building, 123 S.E. Second Ave. Advance tickets are available at www.wastenotart.com.