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Why Vibe exists for Portland

Vibe exists because arts education is missing in today’s daily educational system ~ especially for students without the means to make it happen outside of the school day. Vibe connects local teaching artists who are passionate about bringing their love of music and visual arts to the students they work with.

Until long-term comprehensive visual art and music educational classes are available to ALL students in Portland, Vibe will work to provide those missing pieces in a well-rounded education.


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We believe relationships are influential in teaching arts and music.

Vibe of Portland believes art and music are best taught by building relationships between mentors, teachers, directors and students. Our aim is to build long-term invested relationships with the students, schools and communities where our programs are implemented.

Vibe is not a substitute for having art and music teachers, we are a supplement. When we started our first middle school music foundations class in 2008 and our students were learning beginning rhythms, note names and music fundamentals because they had never had a music class in their 6+ years of public education. With limited resources in Portland public schools, Vibe exists to bridge the gap and promote art and music education and empower students.

Vibe of Portland currently provides 30+ classes weekly at our 8 partner schools and art studio under the direction of Vibe’s full-time mom, founder, and executive director Laura Streib. Laura calls her kids the Vibe mascots as they are her reason behind her passion to make sure all students in Portland have access to quality art and music education.

A brief history for Vibe of Portland

Due to lack of funding in the Portland Metro Area, many programs in the arts and music have been drastically reduced if not all together eliminated from the educational experience for students. Vibe of Portland began in 2007 to provide art and music instruction to students regardless of economic means. Our first 2 classes launched at Harrison Park K-8 in the 2008-09 school year in partnership with Impact NW and their SUN schools program. Since 2008, Vibe has grown to partner with the SUN schools programs at SE Portland’s Harrison Park K-8, Bridger Elementary, Whitman and Woodmere schools. Vibe also partners with the PTAs at Creative Science School, Creston and Atkinson to provide these classes. In North Portland Vibe offers classes at King Elementary, Ockley Green K-8 and Beach K-8 in partnership with the schools and Self-Enhancement Inc. (SEI)

Beginning with our Foundations series of classes during the 2008-2009 school year at Harrison Park, Vibe has grown to include specific classes in guitar, percussion, choir, illustration, ceramics and general art as student interest and demand indicates. Vibe’s classes educate, challenge, provide discipline and creativity, and instill a sense of worth and accomplishment in Portland’s youth in a positive and creative environment.

In March of 2011, Vibe of Portland opened the Vibe Art Studio at TaborSpace in Southeast Portland to broaden the number of students to whom we can provide artistic experiences. These classes are offered to home school students, preschool students, elementary students after school and on Saturdays as well as offering open studios and workshops and summer camps.

Vibe believes that access to art and music education should be available to all students regardless of their location, background, or any other circumstance that might prevent them having an opportunity to learn and succeed through artistic outlets. Currently in our city and economic climate, neighborhoods where parents know they can advocate and fundraise for their students education, those schools retain the arts or ‘elective’ classes as part of the school day. For school communities that don’t have the same level of economic means or knowledge for advocacy – the arts are not equally represented in a child’s education. And this happens all within the same school district.

Vibe’s art and music programming is all lead by local professionals who practice their art and/or music within the community. It is important for our students to see professional artists as well as connect the broader artistic community to kids in Portland.

Vibe on Art Education

Vibe’s art classes are not “cookie cutter” art classes. We don’t teach you how to draw or paint a dog step by step; there’s no glitter and minimal amounts of googly eyes. Everyone is not going to come out with a painting that looks the same as the next kid. Our teaching artists provide our students with tools to look at form, at line, at texture, at value. We provide exercises in using hand-eye coordination through blind-drawings (you put your hand in a bag and work to connect what your eye sees with where your hand is moving). Our teaching artists give direction but also give great freedom for students to experiment, to create, to explore.

Vibe’s teaching artists incorporate art history throughout all the projects students are working on. Whether its our Pint-Size Picasso classes learning about Georgia O’Keeffe while looking at flowers and painting, our elementary classes are doing self-portraits while studying Chuck Close or our middle school classes learning about Calder while creating sculptures- we incorporate the history of art into every aspect of our classes.

Vibe believes that art and music should be a fundamental educational right for all students in all schools. Until that returns during the day in the public school format, Vibe is here to fulfill that void in arts education by working during the school day and in after school partnerships to ensure that students without access to the arts will have that opportunity through our programming.

Our partner schools are primarily schools with over 50% of the student population living at or below the poverty line. Students we serve do not have outside resources available to them to access art and music opportunities on their own and that is where Vibe comes in. We bring quality art and music educational access to students regardless of background, economic situation, race, religion or anything else that might prevent them from being able to otherwise participate in the arts.


What about the Arts Tax?