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Southeast Campus Art Gallery celebrates artist Midori Hirose’s yearlong Furin Project

Story by Misty Bouse

furin bell installationRock Creek Campus fired Furin Project bells.

Artist Midori Hirose’s Furin Project runs through May19 at Portland Community College’s Southeast Campus with a May 5 symposium celebrating the series of free, ceramic bell-making public workshops that introduced interpretations of Furin “wind bells” that were historically hung from trees in Japan. The yearlong community art and place-making project ponders how the longstanding orchards of Southeast 82nd Avenue and the surrounding area continue to serve as sites of community nourishment.

Hirose’s work reinforces community connections and engages discussions about Indigenous stewardship, past and present, and the future of the Southeast Portland area. She is a multidisciplinary artist, based in Portland, and the project honors the history and legacy of the Japanese-American farming community in Southeast in collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) and Mural Arts Institute in Philadelphia (MAI).

Rock Creek Campus fired Furin Project bells.

Rock Creek Campus fired Furin Project bells.

Hirose researched the history and current landscape of the area, including but not limited to the area Japanese-American farming history, the fruiting trees, and PCC’s role as a community site. Her focus is the intersection of the current social landscape in relation to food and resilience, farming, and green spaces.

A collaborative sound mapping project is underway with PCC students and faculty in the Geographic Information System (GIS), Music and Sonic Arts, and New Media Coding departments. These sounds are being collected by ringing each bell as well as through a sound survey. Participate in the Capturing Community survey that will be exhibited as an interactive installation at the Portland Community College (PCC) SE Art Gallery through May.

The Furin Project Symposium is Friday, May 5, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the SE Campus and is free and open to the public with a short walking tour from the SE Learning Garden at 2305 SE 82nd Avenue ending at APANO, 8188 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97206. Tour the PCC grounds with workshops and a potluck to follow at APANO where face masks are required indoors. Sign-up to join or volunteer at the event; maps will be provided.

There were many collaborating organizations since the project’s inception –  Ikoi No Kai; Kirkland Union Manor; Portland Fruit Tree Project; Montavilla Farmers Market; Ride Connection; and PCC’s Southeast, Rock Creek, Cascade, and Sylvania campuses and programs: GIS, Music and Sonic Arts, New Media Coding, Learning Garden, Community-Based Learning, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Departments of Photography and Ceramics; McDaniel High School; and The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde’s Portland Cultural Lifeways.