The Living School of Art

A 5-year life/work collaboration with neighbors in our affordable housing apartment complex.
East Portland, OR

︎ Click here to download the book (project archive)

The Living School of Art (LSA) 2016-2021 was an intergenerational social practice art project located within a preexisting 120-unit affordable housing apartment complex in East Portland, OR. The project drew from the concept of a “living school” to describe how teaching and learning were happening at all moments during our community’s life together, and any neighbor of any age was both a teacher and a learner. Educator and writer bell hooks wrote about this concept in her book "Teaching Community".

LSA operated less like a school and more like an artist collective, approaching art projects through collaboration and mutual exchange. Our creative work centered our life together, and the knowledge, talents, identities, and life experiences that each neighbor brought to our life together. Neighbors of all ages who opted in to the project teach workshops from their own creative practices and participate in activities such as cooking workshops, garden building and planting, performance, games, crafts-based practices, and artmaking. The themes and identity of this project formed over time from the interests and knowledge held by our neighbor community. Founded in 2016, the project included exhibitions in the 8 laundry rooms in our apartment complex, a visiting artist residency program (artists were chosen by youth in the apartment complex), a community garden and a medicinal herb garden, programming for youth and mothers, and field trips. The project was founded by and is facilitated by artist and neighbor Amanda Leigh Evans, who was supported to develop this work as a Community Engagement Creative-in-Residence from 2016-2021.

To read about this project, please visit The Living School of Art website or Instagram page.

The photos below represent some highlights from our five years together. For a full project archive, please download the book