Midway district celebrates new mural with grand event

You’ve seen the giant outer East Portland artwork on SE Powell Boulevard. Here’s a look at the celebration of its completion ...

At this busy street corner in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, the Midway Business Association’s Midway Mural Celebration is underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In the noon hour of Thursday, July 27, a crowd of some 60 people gathered in what the Midway Business Association (MBA) called the Midway Mural Celebration.

To see the big mural being created,
read our previous article: CLICK HERE.

The friends and family of those who are depicted in the mural, as well as organization representatives and MBA members, crowd into the loading dock for the ceremony.

The actual meeting was held inside the loading dock bay at Octapharna Plasma, just around the corner from where the mural appears on their building, facing the intersection of SE 122nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

Midway Business Association Interim President Lorelei Young welcomes guests to the gathering, before introducing the afternoon’s speakers – including those portrayed in the mural.

Unfortunately, it was difficult to hear the speakers as they talked during the celebration.

Portland Street Art Alliance Executive Director Tiffany Conklin told the group, in some detail, about their organization, and their affiliation with the muralist, Alex Chiu.

Next to speak was muralist Alex Chiu himself, who began, “It’s been an honor to build this relationship with Portland, our neighborhood, the Midway Business Association, and the Division Midway Alliance.

Muralist Alex Chiu speaks about the project.

“Part of my focus has been on cultural diversity, which is a big part of this community. And I’m honored to represent these folks, and the organizations they work for,” Chiu went on. “I’ve had the privilege of painting and representing them, and – In a way –  immortalizing them, helping make them part of the history of outer East Portland.”

Then, Diana Nuno-Perez, store owner and designer at SaVistication Customs & Apparel told about her business.

Following her was Olena Borova, who informed the gathering about her life, and her  work with  Mercy Corps as their Community Investment Trust Implementation Manager.

Artist Alex Chiu is here flanked by those he portrayed: Diana Nuno-Perez, Olena Borova, Lisha Shrestha, and Halimo Alinur.

The current Executive Director of the Division Midway Alliance Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative District, Lisha Shrestha, said that she’s a native of Nepal, going on to tell about her organization.

Finally, Halimo Alinur, the Community Engagement Lead at the African Youth Community Organization, spoke about her background and work.

Each of those depicted in the mural also expressed their gratitude for being selected for inclusion, and their appreciation for the work of the artist.

Posing for pictures after the formal meeting are those honored in the mural, Lisha Shrestha, Halimo Alinur, Olena Borova, and Diana Nuno-Perez.

Time for lunch, with bahn mi sandwiches provided by Van Nein Vegetarian, and cheerfully dispensed by Hanh Tran.

After lunch, many in the group strolled out to the corner, there again to admire the new mural.

For more information about the Midway Business Association, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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