IHI approaches our work with a community development lens. Our primary mission is to create homes for people with low-incomes, but we are also building communities and an important part of that work involves art and culture. IHI facilitates community art projects and incorporates public art into many of our developments. These projects both beautify our housing and help create and strengthen connections between our residents and the broader communities in which they live.
IHI also embraces historic preservation and seeks out historic buildings in need of restoration as part of our development program. We do this for three reasons: 1) Preserving historic buildings creates a space and a tableau to retell stories about the people who came before us - we think it is important for our residents and our neighbors to understand the history of the place they now occupy. 2) Restoring architectural treasures helps revitalize the communities in which we work and adds value by preserving physical assets that make irreplaceable and often intangible contributions to both our human story and our built environment. 3) IHI is committed to environmental stewardship and we believe that repurposing existing buildings and salvaging old building materials is the ultimate green building strategy.
Many of IHI's housing developments include public art commissioned by local artists to help beautify and interpret the human story that is taking place in our communities. We also work with artists to facilitate community art projects that allow our residents and the broader community to participate as creators. Below are some examples of art installations that are meant to be shared by our residents and our communities. Most are open to the public but, as noted, some are located in secured community space and are only available during scheduled tours.
As part of IHI's historic restoration and repurposing of the Erickson Saloon, we commissioned a team of artists to create installations that keep alive the myths, stories, and influence of this legendary Portland establishment. The artists approached their task by combining functionality, beauty, and storytelling. They used salvaged artifacts from the Erickson Saloon and Fritz Hotel buildings and recast them to tell a story into the future. From the campfire that doubles as a lounge area to the baldachino created out of a salvaged skylight and the skyward-reaching barrel column, each piece has function while also recognizing the rich history of these buildings and the people who occupied them. Available only through scheduled tours. Artist team: James Harrison, Dave Laubenthal, Evan Holt, Doug Kenck-Crispin, and Natalie Ball.
To help beautify the building and remind people about the history of the Eliot Neighborhood, IHI commissioned three exciting art projects created by local artists. Clouds, installed in the lobby, are wood cut relief blocks created by Linda Wysong. You can see prints made with these wood blocks at each elevator lobby. Taking Flight, designed and constructed by David Boekelheide and Christina Conant, are steel cables and steel birds installed above The Magnolia's front door that rise to the roof. And the Jumptown Video Wall, created by Pamela Chipman, consists of four video loops running on i-pods that were built into glass bricks facing the sidewalk along the front of the building. The videos are a montage of old and new, incorporating historic photos of the Eliot Neighborhood alongside imagery of contemporary life in the community. To complement and interpret the video content, Pamela also created a map of notable historic locations and photos that is installed at the entrance to the apartment building. To learn more about the Jumptown Video Wall, please follow the links below:
In 2008, when IHI built 58 new apartments on vacant land that had formerly been a freeway on-ramp, we knew we also needed to build community. We constructed a playground that is open to the public and commissioned a local artist to facilitate a community art project. The result is a permanent tile mural that represents contributions from over 150 neighborhood residents and stakeholders. To read more about this project, please follow the link below.
In 2005 and 2006 IHI engaged a photographer to take individual portraits of each resident at Musolf Manor. Residents chose the setting and props and our photographer worked closely with each subject to ensure that the final product was both personal and professional. The result is an inspiring, and often intimate, collection of portraits strong, artistic, loving individuals and families who are committed to their community. Each resident received copies of their portraits (in many cases the only photograph that they had of themselves) and IHI hung many of them in the Musolf lobby so they can be celebrated every day. We opened the space and the portrait project up to the public at a First Thursday reception that was very well received - in fact, the portraits were so well done that we had many requests to purchase them as pieces of art (where residents were interested, we sold copies with proceeds going to the portrait subject). This was an artistic endeavor that began as a self-empowerment project, evolved into a public education opportunity, and lives on as permanent part of Musolf Manor's community space. Available only for scheduled viewing.
IHI offers comprehensive family and youth programming at each of our family apartment sites. One component of our program is Innovative Expressions - a year-long empowerment program to strengthen young voices, using art and storytelling as a mode of self-expression. Through the lens of a camera or the brush strokes of their latest self-portrait, youth share stories of family, school and community. Innovative Housing incorporates arts as a primary component of all our youth programs. Research consistently shows that arts engagement results in increased academic success, improved critical thinking and problem solving abilities, enhanced self-esteem, positive social skills, and emotional literacy. And kids create beautiful art! To learn more about Innovative Expressions, visit our photo gallery and follow the link below:
Tiles created by IHI youth through
the Portland Childrens Museum's
Bread and Art Program adorn
the Museum's water exhibit
IHI has a passion for preserving historic buildings and either restoring or repurposing them to provide high quality housing. In 2014 The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Fall 2014 Forum Journal highlighted IHI as a nonprofit that embraces historic rehabilitation as way to achieve its charitable mission. The Forum Journal features IHI's redevelopment of Musolf Manor and includes an interview with Executive Director Sarah Stevenson - you can read the full article here
Locally, IHI was recognized at the Architectural Heritage Center's 2014 annual event for its contributions to historic preservation in Old Town/Chinatown. IHI's work in the neighborhood includes the historic rehabilitation of Musolf Manor, the Modern Rich Apartments, and the Erickson Saloon and Fritz Hotel buildings.
We are very proud to announce that Restore Oregon awarded IHI a 2015 Art DeMuro Award for its historic restoration and repurposing of the Erickson Saloon and Fritz Hotel Buildings. The DeMuro Award is bestowed to recognize extraordinary historic rehabilitation projects throughout the State. http://restoreoregon.org/demuro-award/
IHI has completed many historic renovations, often using Federal Historic Tax Credits to help fund our restoration work. The following buildings are examples of historic preservation projects that created or preserved affordable housing opportunities while celebrating architectural treasures in our community.
The Erickson Fritz Apartments - On July 23rd, 2015 IHI celebrated the completion of a $15.9 million restoration of the historic Erickson Saloon and Fritz Hotel Buildings and the creation of 62 new apartment homes. To mark the occasion, the Erickson Fritz Apartments hosted a progressive party where guests enjoyed diverse culinary offerings from local Old Town restaurants while touring newly constructed apartments, each set up to showcase one of Old Town's coolest and most exciting establishments. Party-goers also experienced the unveiling of specially commissioned art installations that explore the legacy of these storied buildings.
Here are links to media coverage and photo galleries of the completed project:
And here are links to other photo galleries and media coverage of the project in progress:
The Modern Rich Apartments - In September 2012 IHI celebrated the grand opening of the Modern Rich Apartments, bringing 34 modern studio units to Portland's Old Town neighborhood. Originally built in 1905 as a railroad hotel, this great old building has housed many people over the decades and is now home to 34 people who work, go to school, and enjoy affordable living in Portland's downtown core. The Modern Rich's efficient urban studios blend an edgy modern aesthetic with cool historic elements and provide much-needed affordable workforce housing in Old Town. We punched the second floor light well through to the ground floor and created an interior courtyard that provides outdoor space for residents, access to new ground floor residential units, and outside dining for a new restaurant in one of seven revitalized commercial storefronts. IHI completed this project without any public funding, which gives us maximum flexibility in design and use, and also preserves scarce affordable housing resources.
The Clifford Apartments - IHI completed its historic renovation of The Clifford Apartments in SE Portland in December 2010. The Clifford was constructed in 1911 and holds a mix of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units and studio apartments, along with four ground floor commercial spaces. IHI made improvements to residential units, implemented new energy efficiency measures, created new community space and offices for supportive services, made ADA access improvements, installed new windows, reconstructed and seismically reinforced the roof, tuck pointed exterior brick, and added a new entrance canopy and lighting. We also returned the building to its original configuration, increasing the unit count from 83 to 88. The building celebrated its 100th birthday and grand re-opening in January 2011, welcoming home residents who now enjoy a beautifully renovated space along with a rich array of services.
The project was awarded the DJC's First Place Top Project Award for 2011 in the $1-5 Million Renovation category.
Lyndon Musolf Manor - In 2009 IHI completed the historic and seismic rehab of our flagship property, Lyndon Musolf Manor. Named in honor of IHI's founding board president, this historic hotel provides 95 units of affordable studio housing for very low-income singles. IHI originally acquired the property in 1991, preserving a valuable housing resource in Old Town. By 2006 the 100 year old building needed new electrical and plumbing systems, an ADA compliant elevator, and a new roof. We also gave the lobby an historic facelift, upgraded the studio apartments, and did a complete seismic upgrade, making it a much safer place for our residents in the event of an earthquake. We liked the result so much, we moved in ourselves! IHI's offices are now housed in one of 7 commercial spaces on the ground floor.