CCC's Art Task Force Pursues the Finishing Touches

Jun 28, 2018

One more finishing touch. Then one more. Maybe one more. Okay, just one more… Perfect.

Many artists experience this feeling of chasing closure. Similarly, in the year since Central City Concern (CCC) and our Art Task Force celebrated the “completion” of Phase 2 of our Healing Through Art Collection, the six-member volunteer group has continued to put their own finishing touches on this portion of the collection.

They continued to explore their connections to local Pacific Northwest artists and galleries, inquiring about or listening to offers to donate pieces of art that exude elements of calm and healing. The group also took second and third looks at pieces that had been previously donated but hadn’t yet been placed, each awaiting the right location and timing to be hung. Members even got together for "framing parties."

Working closely with CCC’s housing community and building managers, the Art Task Force recommended, received feedback about, and installed additional pieces in several buildings that they believed would add to the overall healing environment. Feedback from CCC staff and clients has been overwhelmingly positive; just the act of seeing a building’s set of artworks expand garnered positive attention.

Several pieces donated or on loan from Discover African Art and Dave Dahl: (Left, clockwise from top) Baule Tribe elephant mask, Luba Tribe Kifwebe fantasy mask, Suku Tribe Kukungu mask, Bamun Tribe mask, Chokwe Tribe Pwo mask; (Center) Bozo Tribe puppet; (Right) Dogon Tribe granary door

In late summer 2017, the Art Task Force received a jaw-dropping and unexpected offer. Dave Dahl, co-founder of Dave’s Killer Bread, expressed interest in deepening his generous partnership with CCC. Part of his plan to do so included donating pieces of African tribal art that he had been collecting over the last several years, a passion that had grown into one of the largest African art collections on the west coast. Dave converted his deep admiration for tribal art, his growing knowledge and research of African tribes, and his business acumen into Discover African Art, which collects, displays, and sells genuine artworks.

The Art Task Force quickly connected the timing of Dave’s offer to the remodel of the historic Golden West Hotel building, which is home to CCC’s Imani Center program. The building holds a significant place in Portland’s African-American history, while the Imani Center provides Afrocentric approaches to mental health and addiction treatment. Several members of the Art Task Force joined CCC’s Director of African American Services Linda Hudson for a tour of the Discover African Art warehouse, where together they selected two dozen pieces that Dave was delighted to donate, as well as several others given to CCC on loan.

A print of Julie Keefe's photo, taken in 1991, showing State Representative Margaret Carter leading the March Against Racist Violence through the streets of North/Northeast Portland.The Golden West’s new art was unveiled during an open house event to show off the remodel work. Guests also saw for the first time several powerful photo prints donated by local photographer Julie Keefe, who has documented local communities for The Skanner and beyond for more than two decades. Keefe’s photos were also installed at several other buildings.

Despite this incredible progress, the work of the Art Task Force isn’t done. With CCC’s three Housing is Health developments slated to come online in the next year, the volunteers are hard at work to find pieces that will live up to the name of the collection. Not only have they begun to reach out to their contacts, they’ve also started taking steps to expand and diversify the Art Task Force itself, understanding that the group has room to grow alongside the task ahead. And based on what they’ve accomplished so far—more than 250 pieces of original, high-quality, and healing work—we have every reason to believe they’ll deliver, even if they want to continue adding some finishing touches.



Monthly Volunteer Spotlight: June 2018 Edition

Jun 27, 2018

For the last two years, we’ve posted an update around this time of year as to the on-going work of Central City Concern's all-volunteer Art Task Force. In 2016, we shared about the project’s launch and how it has already had a huge impact on our two clinic spaces. Then, in 2017, the results of Phase 2, which included a large expansion of the collection into several other CCC programs.

This year we’re happy to share another update about the group’s work (coming tomorrow), but this year, we also wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the members of the Art Task Force for our monthly volunteer spotlight!

Paul Park, CCC’s communications and events manager, who helps coordinate the Art Task Force’s work, had this to say about the members: ”The amount of time and effort this group of volunteers has put in to opening up the world of healing, high-quality art has been inspiring. Every decision they make about the art they add to the collection always goes back to thinking about the people we serve. The CCC community is deeply fortunate to benefit from the Art Task Force’s dedication.”

We touched base with the members of the group to ask them a few questions about their work and the collection. Read their answers below to find out about favorite pieces in the collection, the history of the task force, and why it matters to have the art in our spaces.

Alice McCartor

"The idea of art as healing resonates with me, having worked in the mental health field during much of my career."

How long have you been serving with the Art Task Force? How did you find out about the opportunity?
I am the newest member, having participated for only one year. I am in awe of the early work of the task force members and am humbled by the artists, gallery owners and private donors who contributed to the first phase of the project that hangs in the downtown health clinic [Old Town Clinic (OTC) and Old Town Recovery Center (OTRC)].

I joined the effort when a friend on the task force asked me if my husband would contribute his art work, which he did. The idea of art as healing resonates with me, having worked in the mental health field during much of my career. I was hooked by the idea and I asked to join. Although I am not well connected to the art world in Portland, I enjoy doing what I can for this work.

What is your favorite piece in the CCC collection and why?
My favorite work of art in the collection is a piece by Rick Bartow. For me, his work comes from the soul.

Pam Baker

"I hope each client finds something in the art that feels good and makes them smile."

How long have you been serving with the Art Task Force? How did you find out about the opportunity?
I was invited to join the Art Task Force in early 2013, when it was just getting underway. My good friend, Kathleen Stephenson-Kuhn, who was founding co-chair, recruited me. She and I had worked together on arts advocacy over many years, so she knew of my interest in the visual arts and my relationship with many Pacific Northwest artists.

What is your favorite piece in the CCC collection and why?
Wow! So many favorites! I’m particularly fond of pieces by artists I know, who have shared the backstories of their pieces, their processes, and their passions. I’m extremely proud that the collection includes major works by Katherine Ace, Laura Ross-Paul, and George Johanson, each of which tell stories that CCC’s clients, staff and visitors can interpret and relate to their own experiences—or simply enjoy for the sheer beauty of color and form.

How do you hope the art makes CCC clients feel?
Valued. Important. Worthy of beauty and fine art in their lives. Different pieces will evoke different feelings: peace, calm, excitement, energy, familiarity, curiosity, joy, wonder, love. I hope each client finds something in the art that feels good and makes them smile.

Dan Winter

"It reminds me of the courage that so many CCC clients draw on by using a “blank slate” to improve their lives."

How long have you been serving with the Art Task Force? How did you find out about the opportunity?
I was fortunate to be the founding co-chair of the Art Task Force, serving for three or four years alongside Kathleen Stephenson-Kuhn as my co-chair.

In 2011, not long after re-locating to Portland from Kansas City, I heard of the great work being done by CCC. Several months later, I attended CCC’s fall luncheon, where I introduced myself to Kristie Perry, who is now CCC’s Director of Donor Relations. It was she who first talked with me about starting the Task Force.

What is your favorite piece in the CCC collection and why?
A favorite work of mine is in Phase 1 of the collection and is hanging in the OTRC: “Untitled (Notebook Paper)” which is by the Icelandic textile artist Hildur Bjarnadottir, who lived and worked in Portland in the early 2000s. It was donated by a very generous, anonymous donor.

It’s unexpected, visually delightful and slightly mysterious. It represents the possibility of “turning over a new leaf” and “starting from scratch.” It reminds me of the courage that so many CCC clients draw on by using a “blank slate” to improve their lives.

How do you hope the art makes CCC clients feel?
Numerous pieces of research indicate that art, when displayed in a healing environment, can inspire people to see the possibilities that occur when healing happens. Imaginations are sparked, attitudes can be adjusted and hope can be found.

Marcy Schwartz

"This was a perfect fit for me—an art lover and collector with an opportunity to share my love of art with folks who don’t often get to experience original work."

How long have you been serving with the Art Task Force? How did you find out about the opportunity?
I’ve been part of the “second wave” of task force members. A longtime friend, Linda Girard, has served on the CCC Board of Directors since its inception. From talking with her, I was extremely impressed with the organization’s work and actively looked for a volunteer opportunity. Linda introduced me to Dan who suggested I get involved with the task force. This was a perfect fit for me—an art lover and collector with an opportunity to share my love of art with folks who don’t often get to experience original work.

What is your favorite piece in the CCC collection and why?
One of my favorite pieces in the collection is William Park’s portrait of a friend of his who was homeless—can’t remember the painting’s title. I love Park’s style of painting—using almost abstract marks that come together to create extremely expressive faces. This fellow looks grounded, accepting, but resolute.

How do you hope the art makes CCC clients feel?
I hope the works in the collection provide an opportunity for CCC clients and staff to get out of themselves and experience other places, spaces, emotions, realities presented by the various artists. And to marvel, as I do, at the amazing creativity and talent of the artists to evoke those experiences in so many different forms.

Carole Romm

"I hope that the clients feel that they are worth having this art around them, and that they are inspired by it."

How long have you been serving with the Art Task Force? How did you find out about the opportunity?
I was the public affairs director at CCC when the Old Town Recovery Center was built. As the walls were going up, I could see that there would be many empty walls and thought it would be wonderful to have art for them. I retired from CCC before a solution could be found, but my successor brought together folks to form the Art Task Force and she invited me to join.

What is your favorite piece in the CCC collection and why?
It’s hard to pick one piece as my favorite. There are so many wonderful pieces. There is a Rick Bartow piece in OTC in the second floor waiting room. I love this piece and Rick’s work because of the luminous quality of the work and the way he included animal and spirit images from his Native American roots.

The William Park painting in the waiting room of the clinic [is another favorite]. I believe it’s called “I’m Ready to Talk Now.” I think Bill is a painter’s painter; you can see his love of the paint and the process of painting in his work. He has been painting Fred, the subject of the painting, every Friday for many years. I know many of the clients relate to this painting and think that Fred is homeless, but he’s not. According to Bill, he’s quite a character though.

How do you hope the art makes CCC clients feel?
I hope that the clients feel that they are worth having this art around them, and that they are inspired by it.

Kathleen Stephenson-Kuhn

"I love the vibrant colors, its slightly graphic sensibility, and the reminder that the world is larger than Portland, Oregon."

How long have you been serving with the Art Task Force? How did you find out about the opportunity?
I was introduced to CCC’s former public affairs director. She and Carole shared their ideas about this project. I joined the committee, which at the time included my good friend [and CCC emeritus board member], Bing Sheldon.

What is your favorite piece in the CCC collection and why?
My favorite work is the large and bold work of Betty La Duke titled “Bali: Sunset.” I love the vibrant colors, its slightly graphic sensibility, and the reminder that the world is larger than Portland, Oregon and that people and animals all share our earth of sun, sky and water.

How do you hope the art makes CCC clients feel?
I hope that the clients and staff get great joy from the art at CCC. I hope the art makes them rethink their assumptions about the world and how they fit. I hope it makes them want to dance and sing!



The 12 Ways of Christmas... Holiday Giving!

Dec 05, 2017

Whenever December gets into full swing, we’re asked how people can support Central City Concern as a way to do good during the holiday season. This year, we’ve compiled a dozen ways you can give to CCC, making it easier than ever to find a way that works for you to make a difference in the lives of our clients!


Willamette Week’s Give!Guide: Portland easiest path to year-end giving. Visit CCC’s Give!Guide page to make a gift while earning fun incentives. Plus, donating $10 or more on Big Give Days gives you a chance to win an extra special prize package!


Double your impact: If you decide to become a monthly donor or to increase your current monthly donation to CCC through our secure online donation portal, the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund will match your gift dollar for dollar! A $25 monthly donation will become $50, a $50 monthly gift becomes $100, and so on!


Adopt-a-Child: Help us bring joy this holiday season to the more than 300 children living in CCC’s family housing! Learn how you or your business can help make the holidays bright for our families working toward recovery and stability.
 


In-kind Wish List: Portland’s wet and cold winter season creates unique needs and challenges for our clients, especially for those who are living outside. Our In-kind Amazon Wish List offers a convenient way to purchase and donate items to meet our current needs.


AmazonSmile: Many people find Amazon.com to be a convenient way to take care of their shopping. The AmazonSmile program allows you to link your Amazon shopping cart to CCC so that a portion of your Amazon purchases will be donated to us.


Volunteer: Giving can always be more than about money or items. CCC volunteers give their time, skills and presence to help our programs do more and do better. Visit our Volunteer page to learn more about our opportunities or submit an interest form.


Make a one-time gift online: Make a one-time monetary gift through our secure donation website and know that your donation will make a difference in the lives of people CCC serves. Even a $50 gift can be used to provide shoes for three children in CCC’s family housing program.


Season of Sharing: The Oregonian has chosen CCC’s Letty Owings Center (LOC) as a featured beneficiary in the paper’s annual holiday fundraising drive. Read the Season of Sharing story to find out how our inpatient treatment program for young mothers can alter the path of a young family for good.


Cooking Matters Wish List: We are currently in need of kitchen supplies to help keep Cooking Matters—a program that teaches our clients cooking basics and healthy eating—going at CCC. Our Cooking Matters Amazon Wish List makes it easy for you to donate the items we need!


Evergreen In-kind Needs: Download our list of year-round needs to find out how you can provide items for the people we serve, whatever time of year you’re able to give. In most cases, we will accept items in both new or gently used condition.


Fred Meyer Community Rewards: Did you know that you can support us while shopping at any Fred Meyer store? All you need to do is link your Fred Meyer Rewards account to CCC. Once it’s linked, Fred Meyer will donate a portion of your spending to CCC!


Events: Keep an eye on the CCC events page for information about upcoming fundraising events. Each year, hundreds of community members gather to support and celebrate the work CCC is doing to end homelessness one person at a time.



Monthly Volunteer Spotlight: September 2017 Edition

Sep 26, 2017

For this month’s volunteer spotlight, we are shining our light on a volunteer who doesn’t often get much of it in her volunteer location. Rebecca Macy has been volunteering for the last five years in the basement of the Employment Access Center (EAC), where she helps maintain a clothing closet for EAC clients who need interview clothing or work wear. Read on to see how Rebecca’s past career as a librarian has informed her work in the clothing closet, how she got in to reuse and recycling, and how an Elvis costume ended up being just what a client needed.

• • •

Rebecca Macy, Central City Concern volunteerPeter: What's your name, and what do you do as a volunteer at Central City Concern?

Rebecca: Rebecca Macy, and my volunteer position is in the clothing closet at the Employment Access Center and I’ve been there for five or six years. I sort through the donations and I’ve set the clothing center up like a store with things sorted so they are easy for people to find.

P: Did you have any experience with retail or clothing before volunteering at the EAC?

R: I worked at Portland Public Schools’ clothing closet, so I got many, many ideas from them.

P: Was that your career?

R: I spent 35 years as an elementary school librarian, so I’ve worked in elementary schools and some public libraries, but mostly elementary schools. They called us a Library Media Specialist, but the kids knew us as the library lady.

After I retired, I did some work in fashion with buying vintage clothes and remaking them. I would take a prom dress and kind of tear it apart and put it back together, so that was my artistic fashion project. I still do a little bit of that, but I also help people clear out their homes or their parents’ homes if they’re downsizing or moving. I started finding that we need to reuse the things that people have that are still usable. A friend of mine calls me “the distributor,” which sounds like a car part, but I take things and get them to people who need them, so CCC was just a real good fit for that.

“Interviewing is hard for anybody, no matter what your work background is. But if you feel like you’re looking pretty good it helps you put your best foot forward.”
- Rebecca, CCC Volunteer

P: How did you find out about us?

R: I first heard about it when I was volunteering for Potluck in the Park with a teen center that I volunteered at in Beaverton. I noticed there was a clothing table there, and I thought, I get people’s clothes all the time, so if I had a pair of shoes or cosmetics [I would bring them there]. Eventually, a CCC person who was working there told me about the EAC.

P: Are there certain items you find yourself consistently needing at the clothing closet?

R: Larger men’s shoes, larger men’s clothing. The people who donated are almost always smaller than the clients. I’ve been looking for a size 15 pair of work boots most of the time I’ve been there.

P: So, you have a range of clothes there, both work wear and interview clothes?

R: Both, yes. When I first started volunteering there, the men were more wearing suits to interviews, but if you’re interviewing for a construction job, a nice sweater and a pair of jeans or khakis is fine. Even in the work world, I think everything is getting a little more causal. So for the men, the things we need are dress shirts, dress pants, and really good khakis and Levi’s. And for women it varies, but it’s similar—dress pants and skirts.

P: What do see as the benefit for the clothing closet?

R: Well, if you have an interview, and all you have is a t-shirt and jeans with holes in them, all the interview training and resume writing you get trained for won’t do you any good. And I think it has to do with confidence, and if you look good, you feel better. Interviewing is hard for anybody, no matter what your work background is. But if you feel like you’re looking pretty good it helps you put your best foot forward.

It’s fun for people to come because sometimes they are kind of shy about how much to take, and I’ll say, “Take what you need!” Sometimes I have to encourage them to take more and they’re often very cautious. Some men will borrow a suit for an interview and bring it back and say “If somebody else can use it, I don’t need it again.” They’re always thinking about other people. I like reusing and recycling and it’s cool when people do it with other people in mind.

I like to help in the community, I grew up in a family that was very involved in the community, but maybe it’s the librarian in me who likes to organize things. I like how [volunteering at the clothing closet] involves my friends and neighbors, too. They came home the other day with my niece and she said, “There’s bags of clothes on your front porch!” and I said, “Yeah, that happens a lot.” If it’s not raining and I’m not home, people will just drop off things, because they know I’ll distribute them to someone that needs them. It’s kind of fun for me, I never know what I’m going to find.

"I like seeing clients come in [to the clothing closet] and find something they need. I like seeing that it matters."

P: Have there been any particularly interesting pieces that have come though the closet?

R: When I first started volunteering, there was a suit that looked like an Elvis impersonator would wear it. And I thought, “Well, I don’t think anybody would use this in an interview.” Well, one of the counselors came in and said, “Oh yeah, one of my clients is an Elvis impersonator!”

Most of the time things are usable by somebody, but we’re very picky. We don’t do anything that has stains or missing buttons, because we want it all to be useable and presentable and something that somebody would buy in the store. I even have a friend who sells makeup and she’ll give samples, so sometimes if somebody has good timing they’ll get lipstick or hand cream. And jewelry! I just ask my friends to go through their jewelry, because if somebody has a nice outfit and a nice pair of earrings or necklace, it makes them feel good.

P: Have there been any stand-out experiences?

R: The thing that impressed me the most was the award program for people who’ve gone through the EAC program. There was a guy who had been in prison his entire adult life and this was the first job he had ever interviewed for. He thanked his counselors and said, “I think I was pretty hard to work with when I first came, and I couldn’t figure out why these people were so nice. What’s in it for them?” He said they believed in him when he didn’t believe in himself.

I really like the fact that CCC helps people make their lives better and they do it with so much class and respect for the people they work with.

P: And our traditional last question, what would you say to someone who is on the fence about volunteering at CCC?

R: It’s such a big organization and there’s so many different things that volunteers do, it’s anything from dealing with clothes to dealing with people one-on-one. And the people that I do deal with are so appreciative. I like seeing clients come in [to the clothing closet] and find something they need. I like seeing that it matters.

• • •

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer positions in at Central City Concern’s health and recovery, housing, or employment programs, contact Peter Russell, CCC’s Volunteer Manager, at peter.russell@ccconcern.org or visit our volunteer webpage.

And if reading about Rebecca inspires you to make a donation of items that can be used by the people we serve, check out our in-kind donation wish list!



Another Successful We Are Family Fundraiser!

May 22, 2017

Central City Concern's annual fundraiser for the Letty Owings Center and Family Housing programs took place on Tuesday, May 2, at the Multnomah Athletic Club.During the program, CCC's Dr. Rachel Solotaroff sat down with Jamie (right) and her son, Dante (center), to talk about how CCC's Letty Owings Center and Family Housing have changed their lives.CCC Executive Director Ed Blackburn kicked off the program by welcoming the crowd of nearly 400.CCC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rachel Solotaroff spoke about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), how they contribute to cycles of poverty, and how those cycles can and are broken.
Chief Housing & Employment Officer Sean Hubert spoke about generational poverty and the steps CCC is taking to provide housing for families in need.Former CCC Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Birenbaum made a heartfelt pitch to the audience of the need to support CCC's Letty Owings Center and Family Housing programs.Dante was a fantastic helper during the evening-ending raffle!We were thrilled to have Letty Owings Center Co-Founder Nancy Anderson (left) join us for the evening, pictured here with with CCC Executive Coordinator E.V. Armitage (right).The evening's entertainment was provided by  Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Famer Shirley Nanette.

Central City Concern's annual fundraiser for the Letty Owings Center and Family Housing programs took place on Tuesday, May 2, at the Multnomah Athletic Club. Click on a photo to begin the slideshow.

• • •

On May 2, Central City Concern held our annual “We Are Family” fundraising dinner for Letty Owings Center, celebrating 20 years as a Central City Concern program, and our Family Housing programs. The big event took place for the fourth consecutive year at the Multnomah Athletic Club in southwest Portland. Rain couldn’t keep the partygoers away and a good time was had by all.

The evening’s program was led off by Executive Director Ed Blackburn, then Chief Housing and Employment Officer Sean Hubert offered thoughts on generational poverty and the steps Central City Concern is taking to provide housing for families in need. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rachel Solotaroff followed Sean with powerful insight on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). She spoke of how CCC addresses childhood trauma while helping people break the cycle of addiction and poverty.

Our featured guest was Family Housing resident and mother Jamie, along with her 10-year-old son Dante. Jamie shared her story of overcoming addiction in the safe and supportive environment of Letty Owings Center, a six-month residential addiction treatment program for pregnant women and those with young children. She also talked about her transition from Letty Owings Center to CCC Family Housing, where she has a family mentor, has learned basic money management, and continues to safely raise and care for her three children. Jamie’s goals include pursuing a career as a medical assistant after completing the prerequisites at Portland Community College.

Entertainment was provided by Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Famer Shirley Nanette and Friends. Stumptown Photo Booth added to the to the picture perfect night.

All in all, close to 400 guests attended to celebrate and support our families and raised over $120,000 for the Letty Owings Center, which has witnessed the births of more than 270 babies, and the Family Housing program, which is home to 154 families.



​‘Tis the season for CCC's Adopt-A-Child Program!

Nov 04, 2016

This year, Central City Concern opened a new building in Clackamas County, which became home to 60 families. That makes 148 families now living in Central City Concern family housing.

We are thankful for 236 children sleeping, learning, and growing in safe, supportive, and healthy homes. Now it’s time to give them some unforgettable holiday memories. Our goal is to make sure all 236 children have gifts to open this year.

     

Please consider fulfilling the wish list of one or more children by registering individually, or as a group, to help provide holiday presents for all. We will share the first name and gift wish list of each child you choose to adopt.

Additionally, here are a few other ways you can help during the holiday season:

- Start a Toy Drive at your workplace.
- Send gift cards for families to fulfill wish lists.

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact Melissa Bishop at 971-352-8715 or melissa.bishop@ccconcern.org.

Thank you so much!

 



Giving a Hand Up by Going Green

Mar 04, 2016

It’s not often that a figurative elephant in the room involves an issue that weighs as much as an actual adult male Asian elephant. For years, the 10,000+ pounds of abandoned property Central City Concern collected annually went straight to the landfill. While everyone recognized that this was wasteful and expensive, it was also the only practical way to deal with that amount of stuff. But thanks to some exceptional people and a brand new program—the Recycling and Reuse Operations Center—CCC now has a way to tackle this problem head on in a way that benefits everyone.

Nearly half of Central City Concern’s 1,600+ units of housing are transitional housing units, primarily for people newly engaged with CCC’s addiction treatment services. These individuals are particularly prone to experiencing crises, which can lead to them abruptly leaving their housing. People leave behind assorted items: clothes, linens, kitchen items, and other housewares, most of which CCC has traditionally had to throw away when not reclaimed by their owners.

Recognizing that many of these items could help people moving into Central City Concern housing with little of their own, the CCC Green Team—a group of CCC employees that spearheads sustainability and conservation projects, led by E.V. Armitage, CCC Executive Coordinator—collected and cleaned abandoned dishware, then redistributed them to housing programs. Concerns about bed bugs kept them from doing the same with abandoned clothes and bedding (which accounted for 75% by weight of all the abandoned property). But the success of their dishware re-use project confirmed that there was a need and an opportunity to provide new residents with the basics. All they needed was a process.

They got a process and much, much more by way of Traci Kinden, of REvolve Waste, LLC, a volunteer who also happened to have a passion for minimizing waste, maximizing reuse, and recycling when possible. With the help of the Green Team, Traci collected abandoned property, including bed bug-free clothes, in the basement of a CCC building. She sorted. She cleaned. She organized and got items ready to be reused. She created processes and policies! The basement became a busy hub of giving abandoned property a new life.

Thanks to Traci’s work, many clients who needed items were able to access them almost as soon as they get engaged with CCC services. Saving items that could be reused, identifying items that could be recycled, and throwing things away only when necessary meant this process was more sustainable than ever. Fewer things to throw away meant less pick-up and landfill fees.

“We realized that we could actually achieve a triple bottom line,” said E.V. Armitage. Despite the great work Traci was doing, the amount of property coming in was too much, even with the many volunteer hours she put in. The Green Team realized that they had to think bigger: should this become its own program, with a dedicated paid employee?

   

   

Those questions were given a resounding “yes” when CCC approved the hiring of Jerry Boynton to oversee the brand new Recycling and Reuse Operations Center (ROC), located in CCC’s Medford Building. Similar to Traci, Jerry admits that he’s always had a fascination with recycling. Jerry is deeply familiar with the types of things CCC’s residents need. He previously worked sorting all types of donations for another agency. In other words, he’s perfect for this unique job.

Abandoned property in CCC housing units, as well as most in-kind donations, are sent to the ROC for processing. Jerry weighs every bag that arrives, sprays things down for an initial cleaning, and then carefully picks through all the contents. Impractical things or items in poor condition are sorted for recycling. Even unusable textiles are sent to a company that recycles fabric into washcloths! Only things that have no use and absolutely can’t be recycled are thrown away.

Basic items in good condition that can be used by clients are saved and washed; even clean items are put through a high heat cycle as a precaution against bed bugs. Jerry keeps many basic items at the ROC after processing, but he also redistributes to several other housing properties, as well as CCC’s Employment Access Center. Recently, the ROC has begun sharing items with other local organizations like Dress for Success, City Team Ministries, and Street Roots.


At the end of the day, the ROC successfully hits the triple bottom line: the financial, the environmental, and to top it off, the social. These efforts turn what were likely negative and traumatic circumstances that led to someone abandoning their property into an opportunity to help someone who needs a hand up.

Folks looking to start a new chapter of their lives using items that were given a second run. Talk about fresh starts.

“I get hugs galore when people come to the ROC to get things they need. It means a lot to them that they can get things to help them feel home a little faster,” Jerry says. “I love it.”



Finding Healing and Inspiration through Art

Feb 16, 2016

Katherine Ace, Curves of Juliet, 2012Katherine Ace, Love Letter, 2004Rick Bartow, Blue Jay 2, 2008Marlene Bauer, Sway, 1995Hildur Bjarnadóttir, Untitled (Notebook Paper)Rebeca Bollinger, Index, 2001
Rebeca Bollinger, Drive, 2001Sharon Bronzan, Waiting, 1999Carolyn Cole, Red (81003), 2010Baba Wagué Diakité, The Fishermen and the Helpers, 2013Shirley Gittelsohn, Triptych, 1974Cie Goulet, Yamhill Fields, 1992
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The Healing Through Art Collection consists of 58 pieces of artwork from 35 artists. Click on a photo to begin the slideshow.

Ÿ• • •

On any given day, Central City Concern’s Old Town Clinic and Old Town Recovery Center is filled with surprises. An unexpected success story. Laughter following a particularly difficult counseling session.  

And art. Beautiful, high-quality, inspiring art from some of the most renowned artists in the Pacific Northwest, including the likes of Carolyn Cole, William Park, Laura Ross-Paul, Baba Wagué Diakité, and Betty LaDuke. 

Understandably, a community health clinic that serves vulnerable populations—people sleeping outside, enduring debilitating physical or mental health crises, and living with little or no stability—might be the last place you would expect a fine art collection. But thanks to the ongoing efforts of an all-volunteer group known as the Art Task Force, CCC’s downtown healthcare campus is now home to a curated collection—58 individual pieces from 35 different artists—that hundreds of patients can see each day.

The idea to bring inspiring artwork to Central City Concern facilities was hatched years ago by then-Director of Public Affairs, Carole Romm. Slowly, artwork found its way into several Central City Concern housing sites, a small preview of things to come.

Soon thereafter, Carole and others learned about the benefits of artwork in healthcare settings. A well-known study by Roger S. Ulrich, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist who conducts research on the effects of healthcare facilities on medical outcomes, supports the idea that patients with access to views of art, nature, and other inspiring visual images are less stressed and anxious, and more hopeful and optimistic about treatment options. Subsequent studies and reviews have come to similar conclusions.

With the knowledge that art could aid in healing, and the belief that the people Central City Concern serves deserve access to exceptional art as much as anyone else, a small but passionate team of volunteers was assembled with the goal of procuring donations of artwork created by some of the Pacific Northwest’s best artists. As they got to work, artists, galleries, and collectors donated pieces, while others provided cash donations to purchase art.

Each piece of procured artwork was reviewed by Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Art Curator, who volunteered her time to ensure that this collection would be of the utmost quality and reputation. Further, a panel of Central City Concern patients and health services staff members reviewed each piece before it was accepted into the collection.

As a whole, the Healing Through Art Collection complements the unique healing model developed by Central City Concern, as well as SERA Architect’s award-winning design of the two adjacent clinics. The collection has become a shared community asset that enriches the lives of the patients we serve, the staff members who provide compassionate care, and the many visitors we host each year.

And while it may not be a surprise anymore when patients and visitors comment on the artwork around Old Town Clinic and Old Town Recovery Center, it remains thrilling to know that art has the power to elicit feelings of hope, calm, and healing.

You can learn more about each of the artists and their pieces by downloading the Healing Through Art booklet, which includes information about the artists and artist statements.

Past and current members of the Art Task Force include:

  • Pam Baker
  • Jeanine Jablonski
  • Carole Romm
  • Marcy Schwartz
  • Bing Sheldon
  • Kathleen Stephenson-Kuhn
  • Kate Wagle
  • Dedee Wilner-Nugent
  • Dan Winter
  • Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson (Curatorial Advisor)


Giving—and Inspiring—with Color

Feb 10, 2016

Writer, coach, and artist Jill Kelly first heard about the Letty Owings Center (LOC) about 10 years ago at a 12-step meeting. But it wasn’t until recently, from a desire to donate some of her artwork that she got more closely connected to Central City Concern’s residential treatment center for women with children.

“For the past two years, I've been involved in a wonderful program on transforming my relationship with money. One of our last assignments was to make a philanthropy plan. I balked at doing this because I don't have a lot of money to give away, but I began thinking of all the things I could give away besides money. And one of my biggest areas of wealth is my artwork. I began to think about how I could give some of it away, not just a piece at a time but a whole bunch of pieces.

“In 1989, I had spent 28 days in a treatment facility in rural Virginia. It was a safe place but it had very drab walls. I wanted to give my art to a treatment center for women in Portland, and the Letty Owings Center responded enthusiastically to my inquiry. I visited and found it to be a warm and friendly place but very basic. No art on the walls and not much color.”

Jill’s timing could not have been more perfect. LOC staff had recently started a project to repaint all 30 residential rooms with bold, cheerful colors. When LOC staffer Stephanie Draper saw pictures of the 31 paintings Jill was donating, she knew it was a tremendous opportunity. Stephanie had just completed painting the fifth room at LOC when she saw the artwork.

“Jill’s soft pastel and acrylic pieces use a lot of bold colors, and they are a great fit with the environment we’re trying to create,” said Stephanie. “We’re going to use Jill’s pieces to inspire color choices on the next 25 rooms.”

To make it easy for LOC to use the paintings, Jill took her donation further by encouraging her friends and family to donate funds ($4,000!) so that every piece could go to LOC already framed. Two framing get-togethers later and all 31 pieces were ready for pick-up.

“We are beyond thrilled with this donation,” said LOC Program Manager Tammy Hooper. “It was so generous of Jill and her friends to help us with the framing. We can’t wait to get these pieces up on the walls.”

Central City Concern will share photos of finished rooms – with Jill’s artwork – in the coming months. Thank you, Jill and friends, for making Letty Owings Center a more cheerful environment! To see Jill’s artwork, visit www.jillkellycreative.com.

 



A Moment to Say “Thank You”

Jan 22, 2016

The support that Central City Concern received through our end-of-the-year giving campaign, starting in November and up through the holiday season, was truly breathtaking. Together, the Central City Concern community gave $210,000 to support our programs and the people we serve. Now a smidge past the halfway point in January, we at CCC finally have a moment to take a beat to truly let the outpouring of community support sink in, and we want to say, THANK YOU.

In early November, we shared Elyse’s story of years getting knocked down by addiction, homelessness, and disease, but eventually stabilized, built up, and put in position to thrive with the help of Central City Concern’s continuum of services. Her courageous journey struck a chord with our community, as we received donations to support the programs that were so crucial to Elyse’s success.

Our 2015 Willamette Week Give!Guide campaign—just the third time CCC has participated—was our most successful to date. Give!Guide is a community-wide effort to encourage year-end giving throughout the Portland area and a celebration of the good work being done by local nonprofits.

Many others found their way to our website to make a year-end gift to CCC through our online donation page.

The causes of homelessness are complex; in turn, our services are comprehensive. And thanks to your support, Central City Concern can continue to provide those life-transforming programs that help individuals and families not only get off the street, but remain housed and work toward a life that fulfills their higher potential. It takes a full range of supports—integrated primary and mental healthcare, addiction treatment, housing, peer mentoring, and employment services—that you make possible.

Thank you for trusting Central City Concern to do this work in a way that honors each person’s unique journey. Your support means the world to us and those we serve. Here’s to a most fulfilling 2016.