Mike Murawski - MuseumNext

Mike Murawski

Director of Education & Public Programs, Portland Art Museum

Mike Murawski

Mike Murawski, Director of Education & Public Programs for the Portland Art Museum, and Founding Editor of ArtMuseumTeaching.com.

Murawski earned his MA and PhD in Education from American University in Washington, DC, focusing his research on educational theory and interdisciplinary pedagogy in the arts. Prior to his position at the Portland Art Museum, he served as Director of School Services at the Saint Louis Art Museum as well as head of education and public programs at the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mike also currently serves as the Pacific Region Director for the Museum Division of the National Art Education Association.  He is passionate about how we can come to see museums as transformative spaces for social change and how we can take full advantage of the powerful types of learning, dialogue, public participation, and community engagement that museums can offer.

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Houselessness – A Museum Responds

MuseumNext USA

Portland Art Museum

From exorbitant rents and spiralling property prices to a growing houseless population, issues around affordable housing and homelessness are some of the most pressing problems faced by those living in Portland today.

As part of an exhibition on Oregon-based architect and environmental activist John Yeon, the Portland Art Museum embraced its role as a public forum—advocating for social change and action around housing issues relevant to our local communities. The Museum partnered with Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design and the community-based Village Coalition to explore how the power of design could play a part in creating shelter solutions for houseless residents in Portland through a recently piloted POD Initiative (Partners on Dwelling).

The work represented through this phase of the project built on significant steps made by the Portland architecture community in the POD Initiative’s inaugural project in the fall 2016, which resulted in 14 built prototypes for tiny houses called sleeping pods. Those sleeping pods now provide shelter for 14 women in a new village in North Portland’s Kenton neighborhood.

For the most recent phase of the project, architects and designers from across Portland responded to this challenge by submitting new designs for prototypes using plywood as a primary material. These designs were displayed at the Portland Art Museum in an exhibition developed and built by Portland State University students, accompanied by action-oriented resources. In August, the Museum also hosted a free event that brought partners and community together to build a select number of these sleeping pods. Overall, the exhibition and programs invited the public to reimagine the visionary ways architecture and design might inform the creation of new villages in Portland neighborhoods as one approach to a larger array of solutions necessary to respond to the homeless crisis in the city.