February 2021
February is here and while we're still locked down, covered up, and keeping our distance, there are signs of hope as vaccine distribution (though agonizingly slow) ramps up in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, let's take a moment to reflect on the unique character of our community and let's continue to enjoy the arts — but at a safe distance.

ARTS brief is designed to intrigue you while sharing useful information, events, happenings, and current news related to arts growth in our region. If you love what you see here, please forward this to your friends and encourage them to join our email list and subscribe.
Black History Month
Remembering what shaped Vancouver's demography
Photo by Dorothea Lange (1895-1965). Shipyard worker at the end of her work shift, Richmond, California, 1943.
The large influx of African Americans arriving for jobs at the Kaiser Shipyards in the early 1940s transformed the population of our region. But unlike Portland, Vancouver responded to this migration by proactively encouraging housing integration.

In 1942 Vancouver's population grew from 18,000 to 85,000 (including 2,000 African Americans) in just six months. In an effort to house shipyard workers, Portland's housing policies effectively created ethnically sectioned neighborhoods. However on this side of the river, Vancouver's Housing Authority, with leadership from then city attorney D. Elwood Caples, took an entirely different approach with a series of (often difficult) steps to ensure that Black residents would be welcome in every neighborhood.1

Claudia Starr Carter
Vancouver Community Library
Vancouver Community Library is showing the artwork of Claudia Starr Carter through the end of February. Her works can be viewed in the Columbia Room window, facing C Street, and in the south-facing windows on the first floor of the library.

A longtime Vancouver resident, Claudia is a mixed media visual artist, ceramicist, and local historian. She has successfully managed and organized public events and art exhibits over the past ten years, including three previous Black History Month events at the library.
Ceramic works by Claudia Starr Carter at the Vancouver Community Library
Diagnosed in late 2020 with terminal pancreatic cancer, Claudia continues to be resilient as she has overcome so many battles in the past. If you would like to comment on the exhibit, leave a message of hope, or help in some way, please visit the Supporting Claudia Starr Carter GoFundMe page organized by Jumah Smith on behalf of Fahnbulleh Family.
Art at a safe distance
Portland Winter Light (non)Festival
Disco Bug by Tyler FuQua Creations,Peloton Apartment Building, 4141 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97217
Celebrating its sixth year, the Portland Winter Light Festival returns today in a brand new way. Taking on an entirely new form to safely reflect our current pandemic reality, this annual tradition has been re-imagined from a centrally located light festival to a series of smaller art installations throughout Portland, expanded from three nights to two weekends. A map of all sites is available on the organizer's website. Activities are being promoted as the "2021 Portland Winter Light (non)Festival" with lighting displays, art installations, and video projections scheduled for 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. February 5-6 and February 12-13.
Welcome to Vancouver, Washington
Fiorella Calderoni (at left, holding Basil Barkowitz) with her partner William Less (at right, holding rescue dog Yogi) in front of a mural by Paul Bennett and Carolyn Platt in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon.
Vancouver creatives unite!
When creative industry professionals Fiorella Calderoni and her partner William Less landed in Vancouver just two months ago, they wondered how they might network with other like-minded folks. Sure, there are some great trade associations and groups in Portland — which many creatives here in Vancouver have joined over the years to connect with the greater Portland community. But Vancouver is now steadily growing its own creative identity. And according to Fiorella, it’s high time for Vancouver creatives to unite.
A lover of dogs, Fiorella describes herself as an “Italian, Mexican, Canadian mutt.” She was born in Mexico City and arrived here by way of the other Vancouver and, most recently, Ventura, California. The couple launched the "Vancouver Washington Creative Community" with the intent of providing space for professional creatives to “make friends, share leads, collaborate on projects, ask questions, and elevate Vancouver's creative pulse.”
The group is free and open to all types of professional creatives in Vancouver because, as Fiorella says, “We can do more together than we can alone, and we want to see Vancouver's creatives thrive.”
In this pandemic moment, the effort is virtual, on Facebook. But Fio and Will hope to see the group grow organically to the point where face-to-face meet-ups and events truly unite us all. Whether you are a creative in the business world or an artist whose work is your profession, you may want to check it out.  
Advocating for the arts
How to make a difference
Looking for ways to support relief, recovery, and investment in the arts? Join the Inspiration League of Inspire Washington, the statewide coalition to champion advocacy and resource development for Washington's cultural sector. You can be a local hero by advocating for cultural programming in your community! Just sign up to receive alerts on key legislation, state campaigns and petitions for your district, brought directly to your inbox. Let your voice be heard!
Thank you poetry supporters!
With help from generous supporters, our goal was met to fund an honorarium for the next Clark County Poet Laureate who will serve beginning this year until 2023. Your support reaffirms our community's commitment to poetry as an art form and to literary arts in general. We ask much of our Clark County Poet Laureate. It is, in a sense, a job with high expectations, following the precedent of Clark County’s two previous Poets Laureate, Christopher Luna and Gwendolyn Morgan, who have and continue to contribute significantly to the growth of the literary community. We look forward with great anticipation to the announcement from the Clark County Arts Commission appointing the 2021-2023 Poet Laureate.
Christopher Luna, Clark County’s Inaugural Poet Laureate 2013-2017
Gwendolyn Morgan, Clark County Poet Laureate 2018-2020
Alicia Nilo appointed to Vancouver's Cultural Commission
Congratulations to Artstra board member Alicia Nilo (pictured) for her appointment to the City of Vancouver Culture, Art, and Heritage Commission. Originally from Boise, Idaho, Alicia began her early career as an art teacher at a local community center. After earning a Bachelor in Arts at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, Alicia continued working in arts administration and education at eight public elementary schools, two community centers, and a private arts school. She entered the nonprofit arts and culture field, serving as the Education Coordinator at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, Oregon, where she discovered her passion for designing and implementing programming initiatives and building community partnerships. After two years, Alicia and her husband moved to Vancouver where she continues her work in helping to build a thriving arts community.
Artist resources during the COVID-19 pandemic
Our all-volunteer organization works toward building greater arts awareness, rewarding creative excellence, and expanding arts accessibility. We are working to facilitate long-term arts development for Southwest Washington. We envision a stronger arts infrastructure that includes an art center and a community-focused performing arts facility. 

Your support will help to make this vision a reality. Artstra's current programs include our annual Clark County Open Studios Tour and Poetry Moves, a collaborative effort that features the words of local poets on C-Tran buses. Both of these programs have already demonstrated the power of art in our lives to connect us, transform us, and fuel the economy.
Five ways to support the cause
If you love what Artstra is doing for our community, please consider the different ways that you can contribute.

1- Donate
Use PayPal to make a tax-deductible donation to Artstra. 
2- Declutter
Give useable items to Nifty and Thrifty at 6607 E. Mill Plain Blvd. And when those items sell, the money is split 50/50 with participating nonprofits. Just let them know your items are donated to benefit Artstra. 
3- Shop 
Link your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Artstra using our code #84120. Just by using your rewards card number, and at no cost to you, every time you shop you'll help Artstra earn a quarterly donation from Fred Meyer.
4- Shop online 
Use this link to login to Amazon, and they will donate a portion of the proceeds from your purchase back to Artstra.
5- Volunteer 
Artstra is an all-volunteer organization. If you have specialized skills, especially in fundraising, outreach and marketing, we'd love to talk with you.
ARTS brief team
Cam Suttles, editor, designer 
Editorial Policy and submission guidelines
ARTS brief is intended to be useful to readers by offering a curated selection of stories and announcements related to the growth of arts in our region. Submitted items should be newsworthy. This means that arts-related items for content consideration must perform well in at least two of the following five areas: timing, significance, proximity, prominence, and human interest. Please submit materials to artsbrief@artstra.orgno later than the 25th of each month. Note that submission does not guarantee publication. We evaluate each submission to determine how it fits our goals for ARTS brief and whether the item under consideration aligns with the mission and vision of Artstra. We do not accept materials that primarily have a commercial objective.
About Artstra
Artstra is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization advocating for the arts in Clark County and southwest Washington. We envision a vibrant arts economy in our region, north of the Columbia River, with public/private investments and facilities that sustain artists and enrich community. Our mission is to elevate the arts, build greater arts awareness, reward creative excellence, and expand arts accessibility.