ABOUT PORTLAND BRICK
A project in building public memory
Portland Brick aims to highlight what is significant about Portland by personalizing the streets. It is an every person’s history, present, and future of Portland and one that is an inclusive alternative to singular monuments dedicated to the famous of Portland.
Historical facts, personal memories, and future wishes connected to the India Street neighborhood have been collected. With the exception of our first brick which honors the Wabanaki People, each story begins with the phrase “On this spot…” and conforms to the character limit of a tweet. These facts, memories, and wishes have been stamped into handmade bricks that have been installed at the thirty locations where they took place. By layering the past, present, and future we hope that residents and visitors will better understand what makes this neighborhood so special.
Our website connects residents and tourists to an online map of the brick locations. Each location links to a longer audio version of the story. In this way residents and visitors alike, may take an audio tour of the neighborhood through the lens of personal narrative. Think of a museum audio tour but outside and less boring.
Ayumi Horie is a full-time studio potter in Portland, Maine who makes functional pottery with drawings of animals and typography, inspired by American and Japanese folk traditions and comics. She’s currently working on a new political project called The Democratic Cup involving 26 artists that aims to catalyze conversation through politically-inspired cups.
In 2015, she was named a Distinguished Fellow in Craft by the United States Artist Foundation. Ayumi travels nationally and internationally to give lectures and workshops and has organized multiple online fundraisers including Obamaware in 2008 and Handmade For Japan in 2011, which has raised over $100,000 for disaster relief.
She is on the board of trustees at the American Craft Council and on the curatorial board at accessCeramics.org. Her ongoing project is Pots In Action, an Instagram feed where guest hosts in the field, both national and international, curate images and videos of ceramics based around weekly themes.
Elise Pepple believes in the power of storytelling to shape and animate who we are, where we live, and how we relate. Elise has spent the last decade learning the contemporary branches of oral storytelling apparent to her: oral history, radio, live storytelling, social work, and social practice. In 2009, she initiated StoryCorps’ first recording series in rural Alaska.
She moved to Portland, Maine in 2013 to attend the Salt Institute for Documentary Study. That year she received a grant to coproduce The Other AK: an experiment in narrative tourism. She was selected as a 2014 Creative Community Fellow with National Art Strategies for her work using creativity to build community. Elise is the Public Engagement Coordinator at SPACE Gallery. She hosts a live storytelling series called Hear Tell, which collaborates with community entities to share under amplified stories of personal transformation. She has collaborated with The Abyssinian Meeting House, The Maine College of Art, The Portland Needle Exchange, Portland Outright, Marfa Public Radio, and The True False Film Festival. She teaches at The Maine College of Art and writes about creative placemaking. Elise collaborates with people, organizations, neighborhoods, and towns to celebrate their inherent creative placemaking.
A huge thank you to Maine College of Art and its students, Rochelle Garcia and Sam Richardson. Rochelle is a senior in Ceramics and the Public Engagement program and worked tirelessly on processing clay and making bricks. Sam, a senior in the New Media department, 3D printed and CNC milled the plates that we used to stamp phrases into clay. Thank you also to Molly Spadone and Janine Grant for helping make bricks and to Engine, a Fab Lab in Biddeford, for their help in printing plates. Research help from Julie Larry, Gabrielle Daniello, Libby Bischof, Daniel Minter, and the Chinese American Society of Maine. Thank you to Pilar Nadal for her effort in the project and great energy.
Lastly, we want to thank the entire India Street Neighborhood for their support and the opportunity to do this project in the place that they love.