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FALL 2020

WACC was a sponsor of Blackfish Gallery's Be About Love VIRTUAL Festival!

For October & November 2020, Blackfish Gallery presents an exhibition entitled Love Politik: One World, Indivisible, featuring juried and members’ works of visual art and the Be About Love Festival, a virtual stream of curated musical acts in jazz, blues, and indie rock, and includes performance art, theater, poetry and dance as well as immersive and interactive works. This project takes its inspiration from such figures as Gandhi, Dr. King, Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, Mr. Rogers, Greta Thunberg, Jane Goodall, César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, Mother Teresa, and many others. Blackfish organizers are invoking these and others from the international arts scene in a call to loving arms on behalf of an urgently felt need to present works that celebrates all love. 

Blackfish Gallery members share concern over current philosophical and political divisions which can leave citizens feeling hopeless, powerless, and alone. Because of its stature and forty-one year history, the gallery is in an excellent position to provide a platform for a wide variety of artists to speak out, to question, to share and to educate. By including many diverse voices, people with diverse backgrounds/perspectives/beliefs—this visual show and allied performances present a unique opportunity to encourage dialogue, challenge notions, and draw audiences into a cross-fertilization of new understanding and creative actions. The theme of love is intentionally being brought to the public in an election season when people will need supportive community and creative outlets, regardless of outcomes. As an artist-owned and operated gallery, Blackfish takes its responsibility to mediate and celebrate connection between the arts and the larger community seriously. This programming is funded, in part, by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, the Wilsonville Arts & Culture Council, and private donors.


"Wilsonville Artists Contribute to Festival Promoting Positivity" -- WilsonvilleSpokesman
* Wilsonville artists Paul Missal & Christopher Shotola-Hardt are Blackfish members and have work in the show (Shotola-Hardt is the festival chair).

* Wilsonville HS Artist-Teacher & Art Director Angennette Escobar has art in the show.

* Wilsonville folk ensemble Bug Toast and 2009 WHS grad Olivia Awbrey and her band comprise the musical line-up for INDIE MUSIC NIGHT.

Visit to view the full festival program with info about each of the performers and links to their websites & discographies.  Experience the juried visual group show online -- pretty cool amenities, including a gallery tour.

Enjoy these Interviews with the Artists & Be About Love Festival performances. You will see why WACC wanted to support this timely programming!  

Be About Love & Love Politik INTERVIEW 1:

Festival curators Christopher Shotola-Hardt, Merridawn Duckler,

Stephen Cohen, and Alberto Moreno

SONGWRITERS: Jon Koonce, Nicole Campbell, Stephen Cohen

POETS: Alberto Moreno, Merridawn Duckler, V. Falcón Vázquez, Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas, and Anis Mojgani (Poet Laureate of Oregon)

Be About Love & Love Politik INTERVIEW 2:

Arvie Smith (painter), Alice Walker (photographer); Kayla Banks (dancer & choreographer); Claudia F. Savage (poet) & John Savage (jazz improvisor)

PERFORMANCE NIGHT: Featuring Thick in the Throat, Honey (Claudia F. Savage & John C. Savage) present spoken word and jazz improvisation; Kayla Banks (dancer & choreographer) with Ola Onipede; Merridawn Duckler (playwright) presents “Closer” featuring Jamie M. Rea.


3 Hand Stephen.  Stephen has an interesting audience on hand to play for, and he'll introduce us to them during the concert!

Be About Love & Love Politik INTERVIEW 3

Susanne & Christopher Shotola-Hardt, Olivia Awbrey, Angennette Escobar, and Edie Overturf  discuss the music and/or visual art they are presenting in our October programming. How do artists create thoughtful, pointed, political music and art, but stay focused on love?

INDIE MUSIC NIGHT: Featuring progressive folk ensemble Bug Toast (@bugtoastmusic) and indie rockers Olivia Awbrey Band (@olivia_awbrey).  [These two acts have Wilsonville connections.]

Be About Love & Love Politik INTERVIEW 4

​Marilyn Keller & Darrell Grant present their song cycle “My Dreams, My Journey,” commissioned for Blackfish Gallery’s Be About Love Festival by the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble. Renowned muralist Hernandez discusses the social, historical, and cultural narratives in his work, and Blackfish printmaker Jana Demartini discusses her philosophical and subversive work that contemplates the interdependence of humans and nature, work that is influenced by growing up under a totalitarian regime.

JAZZ NIGHT: Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE) has curated a set of new songs written and performed especially for the Be About Love Festival by Marilyn Keller (lyricist; vocalist) and Darrell Grant (@darrelljazz) (composer; pianist): songs that deal with the times we are living in, and how we will come through together.

Be About Love & Love Politik INTERVIEW 5

Northwest Blues greats Norman Sylvester & LaRhonda Steele are two of our three acts performing on BLUES NIGHT.  Photographer Larry Cwik will discuss his time spent with a small Inuit community, learning and documenting how they won a victory in Canada’s Supreme Court to halt planned sounding for oil by a large energy company.  Blackfish artist Carol Benson talks about her American flag made from children’s COVID masks.

BLUES NIGHT: Featuring Terry Robb (@terryrobbguitar), Norman Sylvester (@boogiecatpdx, @norman.sylvester), and LaRonda Steele Band (@larhondasteele)!

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