Press Release: Open Signal Announces Inaugural Future Forum Artists

September 25, 2017

Open Signal Announces Inaugural Future Forum Artists

Ten applications selected for the first year of Open Signal's artist training program

PORTLAND, OR. - September 25, 2017 – Open Signal has chosen the first cohort of media artists for Future Forum, an affordable alternative to a traditional degree program. Future Forum works with socially driven artists, aiming to improve their creative practice and teaching abilities, as well as increase their engagement with the community. 

The learning experience is facilitated by Stephen Slappe, Associate Professor in Video & Sound and the MFA in Visual Studies departments at Pacific Northwest College of Art and Taylor Neitzke, Director of Programs at Open Signal.

Future Forum runs for ten months, through June 2018, with a 25-hour per week time commitment, during which time artists will have access to Open Signal’s facilities and library of professional equipment. They will explore filmmaking, experimental media, creative coding and more. Artists will also develop new strategies for teaching media art skills to marginalized communities.

Ten applications were selected for the cohort, showcasing a diversity of talent and knowledge:

ariella tai is a Portland-based video essayist, film scholar and programmer from Queens, New York. Their research stretches across the black diaspora, focused particularly on agency through aesthetics in representations of race, gender and queerness.

Ashlin Aronin is a Portland-based artist. His work plays with conversation, language and relationships. He manufactures milieu through humor, space and memory. A software engineer by trade, he’s committed to expanding access to the tech industry.

Jaleesa Johnston is a mixed-media artist currently living and working in Vancouver, WA. She holds a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work explores the black female body as both subject and material through performance, video, photography, sculpture and collage.

James Albert aka saint james is a journeyman poet, storyteller and worldbridger. Separate from creating and producing—his passions include chess, finger tattoos, and the New York Mets

Lisa James Bennett is a 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Portland, OR. She currently plays solo as Lisa James and with the Lisa James Trio, as well as with Gold Dust, A Fleetwood Mac Tribute band (as Christine McVie) and The Hereafters

Maura Campbell-Balkits is a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in theatrical performance, comedic writing and film/media studies. She is a recent transplant from the Midwest and received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Culture from Indiana University (Bloomington).

Fernanda D’Agostino is an internationally acclaimed video projection artist. Her work has been recognized by a Bronson Fellowship, a Flintridge Foundation Fellowship, Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation, 4Culture and individual artist fellowships in Montana and Oregon.

RaShaunda Brooks is a Portland-based filmmaker, having worked in large-scale film productions, television, documentaries and music videos. Her work seeks to connect different communities and explore stories of people who don't always get represented.

Samantha Cohen is a multimedia artist working in animation, installation and comics in Portland, Oregon. Her work explores themes of displacement, heartbreak and the overall absurdity of human relationships. She completed her MFA at the University of Oregon in 2014.

Sophia Emigh is a Portland-based interdisciplinary artist. She works in film, photography, performance, embodied practice and participatory projects that frame cultural agency.

Read more about the program. ###


Yousef Hatlani, Marketing Manager (503) 536-7622

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