Fertile Ground is a 10-day arts festival featuring new works by local artists including world premiere projects, staged readings, developing works and a myriad of other arts events from the Portland creative community.
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WHAT IS THE FERTILE GROUND FESTIVAL?
Fertile Ground Festival of New Works is an 10-day arts festival that is held every January/February in Portland, Oregon. This city-wide festival is focused on new work from Portland’s creative community in a myriad of art forms. The festival offers dozens of Portland-generated “acts of creation” each year. Projects range from fully staged world premieres, theatrical workshops and play readings, to ensemble, multidisciplinary and collaboration-driven work, to a variety of dance, comedy, film events and more. Fertile Ground spans the spectrum of artistic endeavors and further seeds the next generation of creation through artist conversations, workshops, lunchtime readings and more.
Unlike a typical fringe festival, Fertile Ground features the new work of our LOCAL artists, performers and resident theatre companies, ensuring that the artistic and financial benefits of the festival stay in Portland. Where other new works festivals are curated by one entity, this festival is collaboratively shaped by community consideration to uplift a variety of aesthetic voices.
The Fertile Ground Mission Statement
The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, a program of the Portland Area Theatre Alliance (PATA), serves our community’s artists and audiences by offering a new works festival that features a myriad of artistic endeavors by local artists. The festival provides art-makers and producers a marketing umbrella and professional development opportunities. The annual festival offers a platform that fosters relationships between artists, producers and arts patrons, and deepens an appreciation for the abundant “acts of creation” in our community.
Fertile Ground is committed to the continued examination and expansion of efforts toward equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility at every level. The festival works toward creating an inclusive, welcoming festival platform shared by intersectional identities and underrepresented voices across race, ethnicity, color, age, gender identity and sexual orientation (LGBTQ2IA+), and physical or intellectual ability.
Fertile Ground respectfully acknowledges that the work made for the festival in the Portland metropolitan area was created on the unceded ancestral lands and traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other Tribes who made their homes along the Columbia (Wimahl) and Willamette (Whilamut) rivers. We honor the many diverse Indigenous peoples who reside in this region — past, present, future. With grateful intentions, we humbly recognize the generations of peoples who have stewarded these lands, indeed these fertile grounds, for eons and still do.
THE GROW AWARDS
Fertile Ground continues work forward from the 2021 Festival’s efforts to address equity and access barriers to participation in the festival that exist for underrepresented artists via the GROW Awards. The GROW Panel adjudicates these awards, and continues the work in furthering our commitment to encouraging typically underrepresented artists to be a part of Fertile Ground and elevating that work. Funding for the 2022 awards comes from Fertile Ground’s operating budget and from The Think System Foundation.
Fertile Ground, with the GROW Panel adjudicating applications, selected five (5) GROW Award recipients to receive $500 to be used in production of their Fertile Ground project. New this year, the group will also designate FG22 projects as “selected” works if they meet the 2022 group’s intention to highlight underrepresented communities,* artistically interesting and culturally relevant “acts of creation,” and projects with an innovative concept for a recorded piece intended for a digital media platform. The aim of this endeavor is to inform festival goers of key projects that involve aligned artists and stories, and to encourage typically underrepresented artists to be a part of Fertile Ground and elevate that work.
Fertile Ground’s GROW Panel selected the five 2022 GROW Award-winning projects, from a submission pool of 12 applications. Fertile Ground created the GROW Awards for the 2021 festival to support organizational efforts to increase access, and decrease financial barriers to allow for a greater participation of new voices. These funds are intended to formalize and expand the festival’s initiatives to address equity and access barriers to participation that exist for underrepresented* artists.
*BIPOC, LGBTQ2IA+, Disabled
Sara Jean Accuardi
Valerie Yvette Peterson
Heath Hyun Houghton
Tracy Cameron Francis
Cosmogonos from producer Yatnra Productions
Yantra Productions presents
By Ajai Tripathi
Director: Ajai Tripathi
Videographer/Filmmaker: Ajai Tripathi
Cosmogonos is a multimedia presentation of creation myths told through shadow puppetry and stop-motion animation. Part I: The Cosmic Serpent presents the beginning of the universe through Mesoamerican folklore, Part II: The World Egg shows the world’s origins as told in Vedic mythology.
Heart of Stone from producer Fool House Art Collective
Fool House Art Collective presents
Heart of Stone
By Alisher Khasanov & Karen Polinsky
Director & Choreographer: Alisher Khasanov
Video Production: Alexandr Beran
Theater Dance Performance. A 20-minute exploration of the central theme of breaking free from oppression, the first exploratory step in the development of a full-length show by Alisher Khasanov.
Knowledge of Good and Evil from producer Project C.O.C.O.A.
Project C.O.C.O.A. presents
The Knowledge of Good and Evil
By Valerie Yvette Peterson
Director: Valerie Yvette Peterson
Three African American brothers are faced with difficult decisions that will challenge their shared upbringing, spirituality and moral compass.
PLEDGE The Musical from producer D&M Associates
DM & Associates presents
PLEDGE The Musical
By Don Merrill
Director: Don Merrill
Composer: Melody Bell
PLEDGE The Musical is a three-act play that focuses on nine days in the life of a public radio station, run by a small, conservative Arkansas college. KKAR’s (KKAR.org) staff, led by station manager Ava Sanchez, navigates technical problems, political attacks and personnel issues, all while trying to successfully pull off the all-important, twice yearly pledge drive.
The Enemy of the People from producer Street Scenes
Street Scenes presents
The Enemy of the People
By RaChelle Schmidt
Director: Michael Streeter
A modern-day reimaging of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play An Enemy of the People. Dr. Katherine Garcia dares to expose an inconvenient truth and faces a swift backlash and unfortunate consequences.