Not long after the New Seasons on 41st and Hawthorne came to my neighborhood I noticed a sign hanging in the stairwell leading down to the store from the rooftop parking lot. It read “Neighbors make a neighborhood”—or something very close to that. This sign, with its incredibly simple message, struck me as sharing an often overlooked and important detail.
No neighbors (no loud party house, no adorable family of seven, no heroic nurses that work grave yard shifts and need peace and quiet during the waking hours, no neighbor who over-manicures their lawn, no neighbor that doesn’t bother with their lawn at all, no one who wants to share their home-grown eggs with you) = no neighborhood.
Whether we are thrilled about the people we share space with or not, the fact of the matter is; they are all contributing to the unique community we enjoy calling “home”.
If you are a volunteer with your neighborhood association, you know that it takes all kinds of hard working and dedicated people to make a neighborhood special. Projects don’t complete themselves, neighborhoods don’t advocate for themselves, art doesn’t magically appear—neighbors are the driving force.
Knock, Knock! It’s your neighbor will weave together the tales of living, loving, working, and battling alongside one another. So often these stories are left untold, but we see an opportunity to plant the seed for future community action. By highlighting the benefit of knowing one’s neighbors, and the inevitable challenge of sharing space with other people, we can begin a larger conversation about civic engagement and the power of people joining together in a place.
Not only will this comedic and inspiring event provide the opportunity to gather with an audience who has “neighbors” on their minds, but it will also be a chance to come together with your own neighbors to help raise funds for important neighborhood work.
Funds raised through Knock, Knock! will support the creation of original neighborhood based projects that inspire Portlanders to think about and engage with their surrounding community in new ways. These funds will serve as a catalyst for innovative community partnerships between neighborhood associations and artists. Creative outreach, like any outreach, comes at a cost and we are eager to support neighborhoods as we encourage them to tread new territory. Participate and you too will become a benefactor of the “Civic Arts”. Forget tri-folds and think chalk board walls, photo booths and participatory art installations.
We hope you’ll join us as we try something new and maybe even a little scary.
Date: September 17, 2013 – 5:30pm (doors); 7pm (showtime)
Location: Bagdad Theater & Pub, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd