Inspired by the tradition of naming of an American Poet Laureate, but wanting to open it up to all types of creatives, Adams gained City Council approval to designate a Portland Creative Laureate. Portland was the first city in the United States to designate a Create Laureate.”[i] Portland’s Creative Laureate can be from any creative industry, including painters, potters, dancers, musicians, writers, poets, filmmakers, crafters, makers, or anyone who feels they represent the broader creative community.[ii] Someone who will serve as Portland's "cultural ambassador," Adams said, participating in community events, advocating for arts education and promoting Portland creativity.
In in one of his last acts of Mayor, Adams named Northeast Portland photographer Julie Keefe the city's first Creative Laureate. She "typifies the Portland artist," said Adams.[iii] “It is my hope that the position of Creative Laureate for the City of Portland will afford me the opportunity to continue advocating for the ideas I so strongly believe in – that art creates conversation, conversation creates community, and everyone loves poetry written by first graders reflecting on their first photographs!” said Ms. Keefe.[iv]
The notion gained national attention, including an article in Pacific Standard magazine, titled, “Does the United States Need a Creative Laureate?” Noah Davis talks to Julie Keefe, Portland's Creative Laureate, about what that title means and why the U.S. could use one.”[v] Fast Company wrote, “Grim statistics about poverty, shoddy housing, and bleak opportunities may not mean much until you know the story behind them. Which is why Portland’s creative laureate is emphasizing storytelling in social justice.”[vi]
In 2013, Fast Company’ Named Portland’s Creative Laureate, Julie O’Keef, to Its 100 Most Creative People List: The business magazine throws a dinner party for Julie Keefe and eight other creative thinkers to talk the future of cities.[vii]
[i] Fisher, Alan (March 17, 2014) "'Creative' laureate a first for US city." https://www.aljazeera.com/video/americas/2014/03/laureate-first-us-city-2014317221835406316.html. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2018-1-3. [ii] Streeter, Aimera (December 15, 2017). "Could YOU Be Portland’s Next Creative Laureate?" https://racc.org/resources/listings/creative-laureate-sought-city-portland/. Regional Arts and Cultural Council. Retrieved 2018-1-3. [iii] Parks, Casey (January 12, 2013). “Creating art and connections Portland's first creative laureate tells the city's stories with photos.” The Oregonian. [iv] "Mayor Adams appoints Julie Keefe as Portland's first creative laureate." http://www.calderaarts.org/caldera/mayor-adams-appoints-julie-keefe-as-portlands-first-creative-laureate/. Caldera Website. Retrieved 2018-1-3. [v] Davis, Noah (January 23, 2014). “Does the United States Need a Creative Laureate? Noah Davis talks to Julie Keefe, Portland's creative laureate, about what that title means and why the U.S. could use one.” https://psmag.com/social-justice/united-states-portland-creative-laureate-73219. Pacific Standard. Retrieved 2028-1-3. [vi] Zax, David (November 12, 2013). "How Portland’s Creative Laureate Helps Put A Human Face on Poverty Statistics." Fast Company. Retrieved 2018-1-3. [vii] Scott, Aaron (May 13, 2013). "‘Fast Company’ Names Portland’s Creative Laureate to Its 100 Most Creative People List: The business magazine throws a dinner party for Julie Keefe and eight other creative thinkers to talk the future of cities." https://www.pdxmonthly.com/articles/2013/5/13/fast-company-names-portland-s-creative-laureate-to-the-100-most-creative-people-may-2013. Fast Company. Retrieved 2018-1-3.