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‘Art For The Millions’ ride will tour local WPA projects

Posted by on June 14th, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Detail of ride flyer.

The local legacy of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) will be showcased on the Art For the Millions bike tour this Saturday. The ride is being organized by Know Your City, a Portland-based non-profit that “connects people to place.” The group’s Executive Director Marc Moscato got in touch with us to share more about the ride:

During the height of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided economic relief to millions of idle workers by employing them in the creation of public works projects and arts education programs. Although highly controversial in its time for its leftist political leanings, the WPA is cited as a major factor for the re-stabilization of the American economy leading up to WWII. Join Know Your City for a repeat of our first-ever tour, as we take a leisurely bicycle field trip/tour of WPA-sponsored projects in Portland and hear from leading authorities on the subject.

There will be two rides, one this Saturday (6/15) and next Saturday (6/22). The rides are being held in conjunction with the Portland Art Museum’s Cyclepedia exhibition and the tour includes a stop at the museum to browse their 400-piece WPA photo collection. Other stops include the Skidmore Fountain, paintings inside the Multnomah County Library, a mural inside the East Portland Post Office, and the Woody Guthrie Circle Monument at the Bonneville Power Administration headquarters building in the Lloyd District. Expert historians will speak at each stop and tickets to the three hour bike tour ($10 for members, $20 for others) include admission to the Portland Art Museum and a free book about the WPA.

For more about the ride, check out this promo video which features Bonnie Laing-Malcomson, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art for the Portland Art Museum:

Learn more and get tickets at KnowYourCity.org.

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  • CaptainKarma June 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I cannot afford the $20 to go on a bike tour of Depression era art, much as I’d like to.

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    • marc moscato June 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      @captainkarma it’s $10 for members, includes a book, a 3 hour guided tour and admission to the museum (itself $20).

      if you don’t have funds, there are always opportunities to volunteer with know your city and do a work exchange. we can use help with putting up posters in the community and outreach currently.

      this is a community thing, and i’m sorry that isn’t a whole lot of dough.

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    • JRB June 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      I to was a bit taken aback by the cost. I could afford $20 if I had the time, but I am sure there are many for whom this is cost prohibitive. I would like to understand why so much to lead a ride where most of the art/work can be viewed free of charge.

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  • marc moscato June 14, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    if you are interested in, get in touch at ask@knowyourcity.org.

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  • Sunny June 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I saw this on the Shift calendar and was really excited. At one point.

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  • marc moscato June 14, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    @JRB as previously stated there are *always* volunteerships you can do in exchange for participation on our tours. in fact we have a scholarship membership program…information can be found on our website, knowyourcity.org.

    i’m the executive director of know your city, the lead organization for the tour. i hate capitalism as much as anyone else. but guess what? it’s the system we live under.

    you like the taste of food? it does taste good doesn’t it? it costs money to produce. you like to enjoy culture? it also costs money to produce.

    it takes a lot of time, energy, effort and money to organize a tour. have you ever tried to do something similar? i’m sure you can empathize if you knew the resources it took to coordinate several distinguished guest speakers, design a poster, produce a video, maintain a website, have a tiny office and keep the lights on.

    bottom line: you’re picking a fight with the wrong people. if you wish to attend the tour in exchange for some work on behalf of a community organization, get in touch at ask@knowyourcity.org. otherwise, please don’t rag on an effort to bring greater awareness and understanding.

    by the way, i want that $20 is very small compared to what a for profit charges. check http://www.portlandbicycletours.com/bike-tours/ for comparison.

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    • Carl June 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

      “Why can’t everything be FREE, Marc?!”

      In my experience, Know Your City is a generous and passion-driven organization. If you can’t afford this ride (it’s a deal but it’s also a stretch if you’re broke), I encourage you to take Marc up on KYC’s generous volunteering option.

      I heard great things about last weekend’s tour and I’m sure next weekend’s will be great, too. I’ve got the book that accompanies the ride at home; It’s terrific and beautifully printed. Keep up the great work!

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