Local zero-waste clothing manufacturing studio Portland Garment Factory has always been about more than production from its start in 1998. It's motto is: "Anything Goes. Lady Owned. We Got Your Back."

So it makes sense that the company's founder is getting involved with another visionary organization.

Portland Garment Factory just announced that its founder, Britt Howard, has been selected to join the board of directors for the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, or PICA.

Since 1995, PICA has been a well-known name in the world of contemporary performance and visual arts. It is known for fostering the creative explorations of provocative, interdisciplinary and forward-thinking artists and audiences.

WW asked her about her mission as a board member and what it takes to create real change in 2018.

WW: Your first call to action was made on Instagram, asking followers to donate to PICA and offering to match donations. Why was this as your first call, and what do these donations enable?

Britt Howard: Start off with a bang! Timing was right; the end of PICA's fiscal year coincided with [my] joining the board. Plus, being a board member means supporting and encouraging others to support the organization you believe in. Also, I love the idea of matching because it gives everyone a chance to make a difference no matter the amount they can afford. There's power in numbers!

What do you hope will be your contribution to PICA's board of directors?

I hope to contribute a new and unique perspective, to serve the community and make an impact with my business and resources.

What does it take to create real change in 2018?

Grassroots change on the local level—electing local leaders that represent who we are. Basically, on the day-to-day, we can all make changes toward living in the world we want by putting our dollars and decisions where our heart is. We have to go through the world more present-minded than ever, but it's worth it.


It is the only organization of its kind. It is female-founded and -operated, and PICA is endlessly inspiring. Interdisciplinary, activist, accessible and diverse programing that really aims to serve Portland and support queer and POC artists—all of which speaks to me.

What has your involvement with PICA been like leading up to this?

PICA has been going since 1995. Since I grew up here I have been in and around PICA for many years. Portland Garment Factory has been involved in many ways as well—we've made backdrops, props and soft sculptures for their gala for the past four years. When I went to Mexico City with the PICA crew earlier this year, it really solidified my deeper dedication to connect, support and shape PICA, the artists and audiences.

What do you mean by "Art is heart"?

Art is the heart of so many things in my life, both personal and professional. We've recently started an artist-in-residence program at PGF to connect with more artists in our community. Artists start their process from the heart, so when I say, "Art is heart," I mean art is deep, it's love, and it's connection. It's what we need.

MORE: Visit the Portland Garment Factory online at portlandgarmentfactory.com, or follow it on Instagram at @portlandgarmentfactory.