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Brentwood-Darlington hosts 'Art Party' for National Night Out

DAVID F. ASHTON - This artist, offering slow camera images by painting on-the-spot portraits, is Simran Gleason.  On the first week in August, many Portland neighborhoods host a “National Night Out Against Crime” (NNO) party – which might range from street fairs to picnics to concerts.

Last year’s NNO potluck at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center was a rousing success.

“This year, we decided to ‘go big, or go home’,” said Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association Chair Lesley McKinley at the August 6 party, “And we expanded it by incorporating a ‘Southeast Portland Art Party’, to draw in artist vendors, musicians, and the creativity of people from Brentwood-Darlington, Woodstock, Mt. Scott, and Lents.”

The idea was hatched, McKinley told THE BEE, by neighbor Elle Lee, in cooperation with the “Artistic Darlings of Brentwood-Darlington”, a group led by Ginger Martinsen, as well as Rachel and Chris Guerin from the Woodstock neighborhood.

“It’s a celebration for all of us, of this being a special place to call home,” McKinley said.

“The BDNA Board thought this was a great way to ‘show some love’ toward the artistic community; we have many artists and artisans that live here, and in our surrounding neighborhoods.

“And, we like to party, here in Brentwood Darlington!” McKinley added.

So, on August 6th at the community center, artists displayed and sold their works, and kids were encouraged to make “spin art” and enter a coloring contest. This year’s potluck dinner featured loads of fresh hot tamales, side dishes, and desserts.

Despite the neighborhood’s glee at partying, McKinley said this event had even greater importance – it provided a way for the neighborhood association to bring people together. “We have more families moving in here. We’re more cohesive, and connecting with one another more than ever before.”