Lillyanne Phạm is an artist and cultural organizer based in unceded territories of Cowlitz, bands of the Chinook, and many other nations of the Nch’i Wána (so-called Columbia River) in so-called East Portland, Oregon. LP is currently pursuing an MFA at Portland State University’s Art + Social Practice program. LP creates art with a systemic consciousness framework specifically place-based justice and racial equity work.
LP’s first projects involved founding Youth for Parkrose, a creative placekeeping program for teens of color as part of Parkrose Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative and leading the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon’s Orchards of 82nd Curatorial Committee for three exhibitions as their Cultural Work intern. Soon after, Lillyanne collaborated on various community design initiatives involving teens, libraries, games, affordable housing units, plants, refugees, immigrants, technology, and more.
To do so, LP’s creative research relies on their relational work, and vice versa. LP approaches art as an intimate, expansive, and ancestral means for wayfinding, nesting, and communicating. LP uses art and the art world to facilitate culturally and politically meaningful webs of care and connection. Currently, Lillyanne asks, “What is a neighborhood?” because it can open doors to talking about covert and overt power structures, online and offline, and how those most impacted by systems of oppression make and keep home. LP has intimately worked inside institutions such as non-profits, city offices, and schools. LP uses art within them to challenge their current structures and create pathways for communities to directly challenge them too.
LP has been supported by Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Mural Arts Institute, Regional Arts and Culture Council, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, City of Portland Arts Program, City of Portland Columbia Slough Watershed Program, City of Portland SEED Initiatives, and Dorothy Piacentini Endowed Art Scholarship. (b. 1997, LP/they/bạn/she/em/chị, lillyannepham.com)
The Parkrose High School Artist-in-Residence (PHS AIR) Program was founded by Lillyanne in 2021. During their time leading Youth for Parkrose with Historic Parkrose, LP worked on two projects prioritizing place-based justice and Parkrose youth of color led creativity. The first one was Backpack Kids, a zine with teens of color facing housing insecurity, funded by the Regional Arts & Culture Council Make Learn Build grant. The second one was a series of collaborative filmmaking workshops with youth impacted by gun violence in partnership with Outside In, funded by the City of Portland’s Community Healing Arts Initiative. From these students, LP saw the impact of and need for accessible art programming that overtly intersects with the personal and political lives of the youth.
With another Regional Arts & Culture Council Make Learn Build grant, LP launched PHS AIR in collaboration with the five first resident artists: Makenzie Sanders, Christina Trevino, Keelee Cavil, Ty’Zeer Miller, and Ta’John Miller. We created a zine called May Our Joy Pulse Through Generations. It is a collection of conversations on comfort, community, and art by teens of color and their loved ones in Portland’s Parkrose district. The zine was a response to the active displacement of families of color and low-income families in Parkrose. These findings were uncovered in the Parkrose Community Plan.
To learn more about Parkrose becoming whiter, older, and wealthier, visit portland.gov/bps/planning/parkrose-community-plan .
PHS AIR continues to be a response to displacement in East Portland by prioritizing those most impacted, teens of color, and topics relevant to their everyday lives.
Reclaiming Queer Wear: A Youth-Led Fashion Statement is PHS AIR’s latest programming focused on fashion making and wearing to celebrate queerness and uplift youth-led decision making, funded by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Precipice Fund. As a means to bring more youth-centered socially engaged art resources to PHS students, Olivia DelGandio (they/she) will be our first guest artist facilitator. Olivia brings five years of technical clothing skills. This includes Homegrown Clothes, their on-going project exploring the power of customizing clothes. For this project, Olivia and LP will be facilitating a co-learning space built by queer ideating, fashion experimentation, and embodied awareness. The students will showcase their final works at a public fashion show in May 2023.