Julie Keefe guides new program
In one of his last official acts as Portland’s mayor, Sam Adams appointed photographer Julie Keefe as the city’s first Creative Laureate.
Keefe is a professional photographer with 25 years experience working predominantly in the photojournalism, documentary, and community-based art fields. She was one of the first teaching artists at Caldera, the award-winning arts program for underserved youth, and for the last 14 years has worked intensively with underserved youth and communities, introducing them to the fine arts of photography and writing in a variety of community settings.
She created the “Hello Neighbor” Project in 2007-2008, which used interviews and photographs to introduce children to their neighbors and ultimately neighbors to each other by displaying large-scale photographic portraits with text in six cities throughout Oregon – creating the state’s largest collaborative public art project.
Keefe is currently working with the Right Brain Initiative in area classrooms and the Portland Art Museum in its Object Stories program.
“It is my hope that the position of Creative Laureate for the City of Portland will afford me the opportunity to continue advocating for the ideas I so strongly believe in – that art creates conversation, conversation creates community and everyone loves poetry written by first graders reflecting on their first photographs,” Keefe said.
Mayor Adams created the Creative Laureate program, administered by the Regional Arts and Culture Council, to create additional opportunities for creative industry leadership and arts advocacy in the community.
“I think Julie Keefe is a fantastic example of the kind of artist that makes Portland a national hub for culture and creativity” Adams said.