Emma Duehr Mitchell
Emma Duehr Mitchell is an artist, educator, and curator living and working in Portland, Oregon. Her work centers collective storytelling, care, and exchange while working within domestic practices such as gardening, craft, and mail. Her work explores the intersection between public and private spaces, personal and collective value, and the constitution of qualifications. With emphasis on accessibility and social engagement, neighborhoods, metropolitan surroundings, social media, and museums are a few spaces which her work occupies.
She is the Founder of the People’s Plant Museum, an archive and gallery space that preserves the history, stories, and relationships between houseplants and people. She is the Organizer of Talking Tushies, a project that embroiders sexual violence statistics on patches and invites survivors around the world to share their experiences with sexual violence. Her Homes for Homes Project archives residential structures that hold valuable memories. She teaches at Portland State University and is an Artist Mentor at King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA). Her work has been exhibited in Africa, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and within the United States.
Emma is in her final term in the MFA Art and Social Practice Program at Portland State University.
People’s Plant Museum (PPM) was founded by Artist Emma Duehr Mitchell as a space for the collection of plants. Living within her plant-filled home in East Portland, she was surrounded by plants gathered from specific people and places, each embodying their own story. She observed the impact plants and humans have on each other and saw a need for collecting, tending, and sharing the history of individual plants. People’s Plant Museum preserves the stories and relationships between plants and people, while exploring the intersection of public and private spaces. The physical plants are exhibited in the 765 sq ft gallery space located inside a residential building in East Portland, Oregon. The museum displays plants alongside interviews with their respective caretakers in the digital archive. All plants in The Collection have been exchanged by people through methods of propagation, trade, and donation. The museum compiles individual plant biographies united by common themes, and invites artists and curators to facilitate projects and events.
Talking Tushies embroiders sexual violence statistics on patches for clothing items and invites survivors around the world to share their experiences with sexual misconduct. These accounts are shared and archived on the project website and in sculptural installations. People are invited to wear the Talking Tushies patches on locations of the body associated with unsolicited sexual objectification to confront the male gaze in public places. Participants can purchase the patches or follow a do-it-yourself template for the project; the project also hosts workshops for participants to create their own patches. Individuals around the world wear the patches and collectively transform everyday public spaces into a collaborative protest against disrespectful sexual behaviors.
The project’s online presence invites participants to discuss issues related to sexual violence, share their stories, and submit photos wearing their patches. Outside of the United States, Talking Tushies has an international community with participants in Africa, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Talking Tushies works to continue the history of women who transform domestic arts practices into political activism. Talking Tushies was created to empower women to walk fearlessly and with confidence while navigating public spaces.
In Collaborations with Olivia, Emma Duehr Mitchell works with Olivia on a series of art projects, spanning novel writing, short story writing, painting, sewing, embroidery, baking, etc. as part of the King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) Artist Mentorship Program.