Press Release: Open Signal Unveiled

January 25, 2017

Ambitious Media Arts Center Unveiled in Northeast Portland

Public is invited to the open-house celebration February 25

PORTLAND, ORE. - January 25, 2017 – On February 14, Open Signal opens its doors to the public, aiming to fill major gaps in Portland's media and arts landscapes. A bold combination of local resources, Open Signal brings together the facility of Portland Community Media (PCM) with former staff and programs from the Hollywood Theatre, former staff from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and annual support from the City of Portland.

With an equal commitment to creativity and social impact, Open Signal provides state-of-the-art media tools and production facilities, education and exhibitions to the public for free or low-cost rates. Open Signal will continue running longtime PCM programming, including a media equipment library, classes for youth and adults; and will program five cable channels, which reach 400,000 households in the Portland metro area.

“We are building Portland’s first full-scale media arts center,” said Justen Harn, Open Signal executive director. Harn was hired in January 2016 by Portland Community Media, a 35-year-old organization, to lead this transition. “And our timing couldn't be better. At this critical moment in American history, Open Signal convenes artists, educators, activists and local government. Together, through the power of free speech, we can catalyze dialogue, bridge divides and make meaningful social change.”

New Open Signal programs include:

  • Partnerships with local K-12 schools, including Open School, an alternative middle school in North Portland (delivered with the Hollywood Theatre)
  • New Media Fellowship, a socially engaged artist residency program
  • Night Lights, a monthly public art series offered in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council
  • Open Signal serves as the home base for STREAM PDX, a mobile podcast and storytelling studio first formed by popular event producers XOXO
  • Open Signal cable content will become available online in mid-2017 in order to reach a broad new audience

Open Signal's primary funding is routed from the City of Portland via the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission. Moving forward, the organization seeks a public-private funding model that will allow the organization to dramatically expand its programs and serve an increasing number of Portlanders in the coming years.

“Our exciting work has only just begun,” says Lisa Faust, board president of Open Signal. “We look forward to listening closely to the community as we fill in our programming gaps and ultimately shape the future of this organization.”

A public open house celebration on Saturday, February 25 from 4:00 - 10:00 p.m.
 will allow the community to see the center’s renovations that make the facility flexible for multipurpose use, including media art installations and public events.

Open Signal’s Inaugural Open House

Saturday, February 25, 2017
2766 Northeast MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland, Ore.

4:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Tours, activities

Tour the facility and equipment, see a media art installation by artist Sabina Haque, record a podcast, register for classes at a discount, eat free Sizzle Pie pizza and tell staff how Open Signal can best serve the community.

8:00 – 10:00 p.m. – Televised dance party

Throw on your wildest dancewear – or put on costumes provided by Open Signal – and participate in the broadcast of a 1970s-inspired dance party in our TV production studio.



Open Signal Timeline

January 2016 – Justen Harn is hired as executive director of Portland Community Media (PCM), a 35-year-old nonprofit cable access station. As director of programs and community engagement at the Hollywood Theatre, Harn spent nine years building programs that transformed the organization.

April-May 2016 – PCM acquires four full-time staff members – Lindsay Kaplan, Desiree Montoya, Taylor Neitzke and Sarah Turner – from the Hollywood Theatre, who bring with them the Theatre’s nationally recognized school and public programs.

June 2016 – PCM pays off debt and ends fiscal year under budget.

July 2016 – Two staff from the Regional Arts & Culture —Rebecca Burrell and Andre Middleton — join the PCM team.

September 2016 – PCM workshop offerings double, including new experimental media workshops. New programs include regular artist talks and media installations. 

October 2016 - In collaboration with the Hollywood Theatre, PCM staff brings curriculum-integrated media programming to Open School North, an alternative middle school in North Portland, and a teen program housed at the Wacom Experience Center.

Night Lights, PCM’s monthly public art program in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council, launches its 2016-17 season. Kalimah Abioto is selected as the first Night Lights artist in residence.

December 2016 – Facility closes to the public for renovations, to reopen in February.

STREAM PDX, a community podcast and storytelling studio led by Tyesha Snow sets up shop in the Open Signal parking lot.

January 2017 – Open Signal is born, making new use of PCM’s facilities. Building closed to the public during renovation.

Open Signal’s New Media Fellowship begins, bringing six resident artists to make work on-site at the facility.

February 2017 – Open Signal’s renovated facility opens to the public and launches spring workshops.

Open House invites the public to see the space and give input on the direction of the organization on February 25.

Summer - Fall 2017 – Open Signal’s televised content becomes available online.

Open Signal begins a three-year strategic plan, based on input from the community.


Media Contact:
Rebecca Burrell, Director of Strategy & Development
rebecca [at]
(503) 673-8709

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