Let's not mince words: It sucks to be an artist right now.
This is the time of year when we'd normally be telling you about all the ambitious theater productions, breathtaking dance performances and mind-bending gallery shows taking place over the coming months. Fall is normally the biggest season for Portland's arts organizations, but for reasons that hardly have to be explained, it's going to be a very different autumn for many of them.
Due to the pandemic, most have been forced to reschedule events, move them online or cancel entire seasons. Venues are operating at limited capacity or closed entirely, and freelance creatives have mostly fallen through the cracks of COVID-19 relief packages.
Artists and the groups that support them have little choice but to focus on surviving rather than thriving. But in this city, the drive to create cannot be stopped so easily.
In this year's Fall Arts Issue, we're highlighting artists who've found new ways to keep making art without the traditional resources and platforms. That includes the photographer who got around the lack of open galleries by creating her largest public work yet and the jazz musician who started holding concerts in her driveway each week. Even the country's longest-running weekly screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show has found a way to keep the streak going—without an audience.
In some cases, Portlanders aren't just looking for temporary solutions but working to create a new normal, whether it's by redistributing wealth to BIPOC artists or supporting activists through art-making meetups.
And despite how it seems, there's still plenty for you to do. We've included a calendar of the 20 best art events to stream or attend this fall, from a radio play about the ghost of a Kenyan elephant to a drive-in concert and a virtual reality program by the director of Iron Man.
Make no mistake: For Portland's arts organizations, the future—both long and short term—is uncertain. But if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that art will continue to happen one way or another. This issue is proof positive of that.