Oregon Culture Nights offer heritage, summer entertainment

A series of summer evening events at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History showcases the rich diversity of Oregon’s artists and cultural practices.

The Oregon Culture Nights take place Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. outdoors in the museum courtyard and are free to those with a current UO ID. Attendees are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy the heritage performances and demonstrations.

First begun as a safer program during the COVID 19 pandemic in 2021, Oregon Culture Nights showcases the work of master artists from the Traditional Arts and Apprenticeship Program, an initiative of the museum's Oregon Folklife Network.

“The Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program helps sustain cultural practices, ensuring that these traditions endure from one generation to the next,” said Emily West Hartlerode, associate director of the Oregon Folklife Network. “Each of these culture keepers exhibits artistic excellence and deep knowledge of the historic context for these traditions. They know what remains consistent, and what innovations have changed their traditions over centuries.”

Aug. 11: The poetry of hip-hop with Mic Crenshaw

Mic Crenshaw is a world-class emcee and former member of the Portland-based group Hungry Mob; a 2001 Portland Poetry slam champion and national finalist; and one of the most respected hip-hop artists in the Northwest. His albums top the college radio hip-hop charts, and he has performed with acts such as the Fugees, Outkast and Wu-Tang Clan.

Aug. 18: Rajasthani and Hindusthani music with Nisha Joshi

Nisha Joshi is a master artist in Rajasthani folk and Hindustani classical musical traditions. In India, she regularly performed both styles on Delhi radio and television. Her first apprenticeship award in Oregon was in 1997, but she also runs the Portland-based Swaranjali Academy of Indian Music and teaches vocal, harmonium, sitar and tabla lessons from her home.

Aug. 25: Persian calligraphy with Marjan Anvari

Marjan Anvari is a master artist and art conservator of tazhib, a traditional Persian form of gold illumination dating back to the thirdrd century. Mathematically precise and aesthetically ornate, tazhib, along with calligraphy and miniature, is foundational to Iranian architecture, handcrafts, rugs, silverwares and manuscripts.​ Since founding Negahreh Art+ Design in 2014, Anvari was a 2016 apprenticeship awardee, and 2022 Traditional Arts Recovery Program awardee.