Albina Arts Center Announces New Ownership

Dozens of Black community, business and arts leaders are joining together to secure the future of the historic neighborhood cultural hub.

The Albina Arts Center Selection Committee and Oregon Community Foundation announced today a new owner and steward of the Albina Arts Center: a partnership that includes Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center Inc. and Rosemary Anderson High School (collectively known as POIC + RAHS), in collaboration with lead artistic partner PassinArt.

“I have spent 90% of my life living, working and playing within 1.2 miles of the Albina Arts Center site,” Joe McFerrin II, president and CEO of POIC + RAHS, said in a press release. “Ownership of the Albina Arts Center will further our charitable purpose by allowing us to provide a much-needed community service to support the sustainability and growth of Black-led arts organizations and Black artists and artist spaces in Portland.”

POIC + RAHS is a minority-led nonprofit offering private and alternative high school education at multiple campuses throughout the Portland area. PassinArt, meanwhile, is one of the most influential Black theater companies in the city, with a 40-year history of dazzling productions.

“As the oldest continuously producing Black company in Oregon, PassinArt remains dedicated to the founders’ early commitment to pass on art, history and culture from one generation to the next,” said Jerry Foster, PassinArt’s board president. “The Albina Arts Center has the potential to be our home base in the neighborhood where PassinArt was born. It will bring the next generations forward by doing what we have been doing since 1982.”

The reveal of the partnership comes a year after it was announced that the Oregon Community Foundation was seeking a new owner for the Albina Arts Center, which is located on the corner Northeast Killingsworth Street and North Williams Avenue.

Since the 1960s, the center brought arts programs to the historically Black Albina neighborhood. It was in limbo after the Oregon Department of Justice took control of the brick building in 2015, a period of uncertainty that today’s announcement has finally ended.

“The Albina Arts Center engagement, visioning and selection process serves as a great example of what is born out of the deep experience and expertise within the Black community,” said Stephen Green, a local business leader and a member of the Albina Arts Center selection committee. “When we bring all voices into the room and truly listen to many different perspectives, we are able to create spaces that reflect our collective vision and serve the Black community in authentic and meaningful ways.”

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