Disruptors are innovators, but not all innovators are disruptors.

This year has been a year of change and reflection for our WeMake team. WeMake is organized and run by non-paid volunteers and for the last 7 years we have created space and have been a platform to provide inspiration for the design community here in Portland.

WeMake took a pause this summer, and it was needed. Typically we have events year round with a big celebration on our anniversary (the WeMake Celebrates Conference) and Design Week. Because of the pause and disruption in programing we felt that the theme DISRUPT would not only capture our state of mind but also reflect on an important stage of the process of making. We shook it up a little bit by changing the venue and changing the format. We definitely had our challenges this year, but those minor annoyances did not take away from the evenings message, or the work we have done to support arts education for under-served youth.


Gracing the stage were three keynote speakers from out of town, 5 local creative entrepreneurs, and 3 local performing artists. Although we didn’t really promote it, it is worth mentioning that ten out of eleven presenters were women and many of our speakers were new to the spotlight.

We were also very thrilled to have a partner in the Portland Art Museum. The Grand Ballroom was a beautiful setting for the event, and we are beyond grateful for their generous support.

This is why we make. This year we wanted to see as many young creatives and those unable to afford a ticket attend the event. We gave away at least 150 tickets and were happy to have friends from p:ear, Marrow, Friendtorship and IPRC in attendance.

Thank You

If you attended, thank you for your support! As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, this event is a big fundraiser for us and our benefactors who do the work directly with under-served youth. Since the beginning of our journey we have awarded over $100,000 to support this cause, and this year alone over $20,000. We think that’s awesome!

Of course we can’t thank enough everyone behind the scenes making this event happen. Thank You sponsors, Thank You volunteers, and Thank You team members. You are all amazing!

Portland Art Museum, Wieden + Kennedy, The Study, Swift, SERRA, Adobe, Widmer Brothers, West Coast Paper, Scout Books, Paige Landis & Ciera Tague, Artful Venues



The Line Up

Keynote Loveis Wise: At 23 this young artist has made a name for herself and shined a light on what being young, black, and hungry for the work means. She inspired us to make the work we want to be making while encouraging others along the way with her cosmic somethings.

Keynote Tommy Perez: Brought a sense of humor to the stage and shared his cutting edge process of manipulating paper to take on new forms. We loved that just about every slide was animated and he shared what it takes to make paper works for advertising one step at a time.

Keynote Katy Ann Gilmore: Talked of taking breaks and finding inspiration in places beyond the studio. She shared how creating work in her sketchbooks and photographing them within nature eventually aligned with creating large scale murals in public spaces. She showed that her work and lifestyle was larger than the sum of their minimal parts.

Luz Elena Mendoza—Y La Bamba: Brought all of herself to the stage, she was vulnerable, poetic, and filled with grace sharing her story as a Chicano feminist through melodic song and a reading.

Lizy Gershenzon: Made bold statements with Future Fonts a disruptive new platform for type designers to share newly creative fonts in stages of development. Read all more about Future Fonts on the blog!

Amy Dragon: Explained the art of vinyl record mastering and how she brings the sonic goals of musicians to life. Read more about Telegraph Master on the blog!

Anja Charbonneau: Talked about Broccoli Magazine, a posh pot magazine for women that has lit up the cannabis world in highly inspired ways.

Kate Day: Talked about all the badass women who need a work pant that fits in functionality and style and how Dovetail is making that happen.

Christina Lonsdale: Shared her journey of developing stories by capturing peoples aura through light and film. Read more about Radiant Human on the blog!

Briana Grisby: Brought a poem to life from her own experience of what it’s like to be a young and black in todays world and how that is often not a representation of things we take for granted, like a grocery store.

Soleil Hall aka BELLA: Erupted with powerful words that was an eye opener and a reminder to love ourselves, where we come from, and who we want to be no matter what obstacles stand before us.

Happenings of the night

Photos by Alex Cooper and Rowan Bradley

See more photos here