Stephanie Parrish - MuseumNext

Stephanie Parrish

Associate Director of Education, Portland Art Museum

Stephanie Parrish is an arts educator and programmer who is Associate Director of Education at the Portland Art Museum where she oversees public engagement programs of all kinds, including many artist residency and participatory programs.

She has held education positions at the Kemper Art Museum (Washington University in St. Louis), the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the National Museum of American Art/National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution).

She has presented at numerous national conferences on the topic of innovation and experimentation in art museum public programming, including Experimental Projects: Creating a Community of Practice (American Association of Museums); Bridging the Great Divide: Three Models for Education & Curatorial Collaboration (National Art Education Association); and The Role of the Art Institution in Community Engagement (Open Engagement). She holds a BA from New York University and an MA from Washington University in St. Louis both in Art History.

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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.