The space that currently holds a beloved arts community, the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland, Oregon, will be emptying this year. It’s a place I have called a second home since last September. On my blog pages, you can find a few of the projects I created at the IPRC during this last year as a Prose Certificate Program student. The truth is all of those efforts came out the support of my teachers, classmates and other IPRC affiliates. Within each person was a genuine desire to help me write, to call myself a writer and to be a writer.
You’ve heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. I believe the value of those words transcends when applied to a place where “pictures” are hand-crafted; where books are hand-made self-published and produced; zines on all topics are conceptualized and voices heard; screen printing is delicately executed; comics make you laugh, cry and understand; and the letterpress lives on under the dedicated care, love for creativity and experimentation that its stewards provide.
It’s Sunday. You walk into the IPRC through the open garage-door and smile at the person drawing at one of the big project tables. Two artists are on the lab computers working on a co-authored graphic novel, you stop and talk to them. They are some of the friendliest people you’ve ever met. Down the wall to their left, more artists are making copies. Look to your left a little further and you find a writer using a machine to trim the edges of her chapbook. Another craft tool rounds the corners for a polished look. If you continue around the room, you’ll see prints of intricate leaves with multicolor layers drying on a rack from a previous day’s work in the screen printing studio.
There is an always friendly volunteer at the desk and you say hi to each other. Turning back toward the front of the room, you come upon a huge collection of letter presses and type. The converted warehouse suddenly resonates like home. A feeling spreads across your chest. It tells you to settle in and create something, too. On a little brain-break you look up from your seat at a work table and see the studio manager and other teachers, students and community artists at work in these sections. The classroom upstairs erupts with laughter as the Certificate Program students get serious about something funny.
An announcement is made about an upcoming fundraiser. Stop. What?
“The rent will be raised how much? 300% this year?”
That’s right. The time has arrived for this community, non-profit organization to pack up all the wonder of the art-enabling awesomeness that they’re comprised of and find a new place to settle, a new place to call home. The IPRC has to move. Beyond the essence of the place, is the community work that the founders and directors of the IPRC believe in. Their programs have a meaningful impact on many who may not otherwise have direct access to learn about different forms of art. The IPRC offers creative programs to youth, correctional facilities, all writers, and aspiring visual artists in the Portland community. The organization fulfills a unique need, giving artists the direction, tools and support to thrive–and above all–create in an energized and shared space.
If you want to give, your support will help the IPRC move to a new place, it will pay skilled movers to wrap plastic around cabinets full of case after case of 8pt to 80pt typeset–forklift the cabinets onto palettes to get them, sans-spillage, to their new home and ensure that a new studio is set up. It will help reinstall the computers and networks. It will provide funds to continue teaching Portland how to print zines, book guts, comics, beautiful digital illustrations, and poetry. Your support will help reassemble the event space so that readings, recognition and collaboration can continue. The money raised will help reduce the interruption of classes, creative flow and dreams. Your gift will propel the essence of the IPRC to live on.
The fundraiser will be August 12th, if you’re outside the Portland area and still want to contribute, please consider making a donation to the Kick Starter campaign.
Thank you for your support.
B Elizabeth Bell