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A Gathering Place!

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary

Photo credit to Antonio Harris


 “A Gathering Place” is the name given to the public art masterpiece that adorns the exterior walls of the former Walnut Park Fred Meyer at NE Killingsworth and MLK.  The work consists of more than 100 painted ceramic tile panels and a mural depicting fanciful animal life and a watering hole in western Africa. The work was commissioned by the City in 1993-94 to embody the community cooperation on the Walnut Park Project, which involved more than two years of meetings of the King Neighborhood Association, the Portland Development Association, and many neighborhood activists.  The artwork involved students of 3rd and 4th grade of King Elementary School and Jefferson High School.


The artist, Baba Wague Diakite, has made Portland his home for more than 40 years, with many other works of art around Portland, especially NE Portland.  Born and raised in Mali, he employs his art to support youth education in rural Mali.


The celebration will began with a gathering in front of JP’s Custom Frame Shop,  Mid-K Beauty Supply, and the Barber College.  Community members remembered senior activists who were part of creating the new community resources -- the former Reflections Coffee House and Talking Drum Bookstore, Walnut Park Laundromat, and police precinct offices. 


This dialogue was followed by a sidewalk tour of the artwork, around the building, with the artist, who answered questions and share the ideas and inspirations of the diverse works.

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