Hey, there.

As we navigate our transition into a new model of support, I have some reflections to share with you about where we've been, and where we're going. And I want to make the case for why you should come along.

In 2012, a group of us collectively launched a week-long, all-inclusive festival celebrating and activating the creative community across many disciplines. Our approach was grassroots. No one trade organization or corporation defined the focus. We amplified all areas and scales of practice, and we refused to compromise on this core value.

It’s worth lingering on this point, as a bottom-up structure is rare in the world of design festivals and trade shows. This fierce independence set the blueprint for everything that came after: civic conversation through design, happy collisions between complementary skillsets, and collaboration of all kinds. It also presented our core challenge: sustainability. Our programming has far outstripped our infrastructure for years, and as an organization, we've experimented relentlessly, trying to achieve a resilient model.

What we realized in our various prototypes for financial support was that centering our model around what our community values keeps us aligned with our mission and the people we serve. What we’ve heard again and again from people who engage with us is that they hold dear the connection they get from the events they attend and the people they meet. This ecosystem is our focus.

While it may seem that we run events, our work is largely in the platform, training, resourcing, and marketing for the hundreds and hundreds of events we coordinate, and all the other programs we run. We connect the dots and put things together that add up to more than the sum of their parts through countless efforts. We make connections between people whom we believe can create stronger content together. We unearth resources such as venues and vendors to support the community. We amplify and package content for the press. We design and aggregate programming so that the audience understands the depth and texture of our line-up. We create partnerships with the media to get the message out. We tend to this entire ecosystem.

Membership in Design Portland will sustain our shared community by enabling us to continue this work. It will provide access to the most inspiring events, content, and people making great work right here. It will be an entry point for connection, a space for participation, and a pulse of the creative ecosystem. And it will provide value beyond the festival, all year round, through an ongoing calendar, a directory of community members, and editorial content.

We’re in a moment of change, and we're asking our community to rally around us so that Design Portland can be a resource for years to come. A reliable stream of support, whether a small sum to register for events or a community membership to take part in the full scope of what we're building, will enable us to continue deepening what we do.

We’ve clarified the tiers of access to support these different levels of engagement, in response to the feedback we've heard. If you’ve already registered for an account, you’ll have full community membership, whether you opted for full price or sliding scale. If you're just turning your attention to the festival now and all you're looking for is a way to register for events, we've unlocked a simple way for you to just do that. Every level of involvement is meaningful to us.

We appreciate everyone who comes along on this ride, as we mature the organization into one that endures. And we hope you’ll keep getting more and more out of what we’re doing. Because this is for all of us. Together.

Thank you,
Tsilli