Lan Su Awarded Community Placemaking Grant
The Metro Community Placemaking Grants Program has awarded nine groups in its second round of grants, totaling $168,465 to invest in re-creating public spaces throughout the region. The 2018 grants highlight projects across greater Portland that are racially and ethnically diverse, community-led and culturally vibrant. They come from and support our Black, Native American, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, youth, Muslim and immigrant/refugee communities. Elissa Gertler, Metro’s planning and development director, said these grants fund community-led projects to create unique, culturally vibrant places.
“The Community Placemaking Program is built around the principle of putting communities in charge,” Gertler said. “It assumes that community members are often the best equipped to know what their neighborhood needs, and empowers them to help build the parts of their neighborhood that they want to see.”
The Metro Community Placemaking grant projects take many forms. Some fund day-long vibrant celebrations of communities in the region. Others will become permanent art installations, beautifying neighborhoods for decades. The common quality they share is how they strengthen connections between people and the places where they live, work and play.
“What matters is that the project engages the public and engages a wide variety of people in a way that will have a lasting impact,” Gertler said.
Autumn Moon Festival: Street Fair & Night Market, $20,000
Lan Su will grow its annual Autumn Moon Festival with the help of the grant. The festival usually takes place within the grounds of the garden. But this year, the celebration will expand into the adjacent street. The Autumn Moon Festival is the second most important festival in Chinese culture, symbolizing peace and abundance. Lan Su will expand the size of the celebration and create more partnerships within local Asian communities. Mark your calendars: September 22 and 23, 2018!
Most cultures have a harvest festival and China is no exception. Zhong Qiu Jie (中秋节), the Autumn Moon Festival, has roots back to ancient times and is an important traditional Chinese holiday. Traditionally taking place on the fifteenth day of the eight month of the lunar calendar, the Autumn Moon Festival is usually on or close to the time of the “Harvest Moon” when the moon appears at its fullest during the autumnal equinox.
Gary Wilson, the director of events and programs at the garden, said the larger space will allow twice as many partnerships with cultural organizations and performers than in previous years. In recent years, Lan Su has focused on becoming a community resource for Asian communities throughout the region.
“The more that we are able to pull the Chinese and Asian communities together to celebrate these holidays collectively, the more that we will be able to strengthen the community,” Wilson said.
2018 application process
Metro received 59 applications from around the region for the 2018 cycle. Applications were reviewed in two rounds by an external advisory group who assessed alignment with the program's objectives, the involvement of and benefit to communities of color or other historically marginalized communities, meaningful community engagement, likely outcomes and impacts, and feasibility. Advisory group members have expertise in community development, social justice, public art and urban planning.