The Johnson Creek College is an experimental school that offers classes in exchange for unique forms of payment and barter that aid in the awareness and restoration of Portland's Johnson Creek. Founded by artists Adam Carlin and Kristina Dutton, the Creek College fosters a shared positive vision and active community stewardship. Classes offer opportunities for community members to learn new skill sets, and restoration efforts create a healthier environment for a diversity of people represented along the 26 mile watershed. Our mission is to encourage the development of deeper relationships to nature, self, and community through mentorship, arts-based learning, and environmental education.
The Creek College simultaneously addresses multiple needs; Climate change is already bringing warmer, drier summers, and higher intensity rainstorms, which negatively affect aquatic life. Stewardship and restoring actions will increase ecosystem resilience to climate change and ongoing development. The Creek College is an opportunity to increase interest in and awareness of these issues. It is also an opportunity for a natural setting to function as a classroom in a very broad sense; through art participation, as a place to cultivate new skills sets, a platform for environmental awareness education, and a bridge for diverse communities.
The college originated in the form of a question; what do we, as artists, have in our toolkit to create the broadest impact in aiding restoration efforts? We decided to create an opportunity for local residents of all ages and backgrounds to work together over the course of multiple events, ensuring a sense of connection to each other, the project and the creek environment. The Creek College, in partnership with Johnson Creek Watershed Council, offers a chance for people of various backgrounds and interests to feel empowered in working together for the betterment of this vital and fragile ecosystem, as it weaves its way through our neighborhoods.
Funded by Portland, OR (July 2016)