Portland is often credited as being the whitest city in America, but it is also a refugee resettlement city. As refugees and immigrants come to call Portland home, they create variety in the culture and add vibrancy in the community. Diverse communities that represent and support all members will lift individuals up and allow them to rise to their full potential. To celebrate the super hero powers of diversity, we worked with students from RISE (Refugee and Student Empowerment) program to paint a cape cascading off the back off the back of a girl, elevating her into flight. Participants filled the cape with elements from their own different cultures and painted ideas of what makes a community strong. On the adjacent wall a Falcom prepares to take off. The girl is inspired by a RISE students whose family came to Portland from Basra, Iraq. Thanks to a supportive community she is graduating high school this year with top marks and has been accepted to multiple universities.


The piece was created as collaboration with Ernesto Marajnje and Suhaib Attar. Suhaib has Palestinian heritage and Ernesto Cuban, thus both have first hand experience of how supporting refugees and immigrants can raise up not only an individual but a whole city. TOGETHER WE RISE A PROJECT IN PORTLAND BY aptART

This project was made possible by the support of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, David Dougla High School, IRCO- Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, Montana Cans, Cargo Inc of Portland, the lovely gentleman from the garage next door who were OH SO accommodating and so many more!

Text & Photos by Samantha Robison / aptART

See more aptART Projects

COEXISITING IN COLOR – a project by aptART at Schisto Refugee Camp