Spotlight: A Family Arts Festival

February 24 & 25, 11am – 3pm

Portland is a treasure trove of incredible art.
For one weekend only, you can see it all in one place!
Music, dance, theater, and visual art will fill every corner of THE JUDY, Portland’s downtown hub for youth arts. 

Most enjoyed by ages 5 and up
Sponsored in part by PDX Parent

Meet the Artists

Catalyst: NWCT’s Youth Company  is an advanced training program for performing arts and technical and design theater students ages 12 to 18. At Spotlight, they’ll be performing a musical revue!

Arshia Rajeshnarayanan will showcase the enchanting vocabulary of Bharatanatyam through a blend of intricate footwork and captivating storytelling. Originating in the temples of Tamil Nadu, Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest and most revered classical dance forms in India. It is rooted in Hindu mythology and spirituality, and serves as a storytelling tool, conveying narratives from ancient traditional epics and scriptures.

Bharatanatyam is characterized by its intricate footwork and facial expressions, as well as its rhythmic movements. The dancer’s attire is adorned with traditional jewelry and vibrant costumes, adding to the visual spectacle and enhancing the storytelling experience. Over the centuries, Bharatanatyam has evolved and adapted, incorporating influences from various different regions and cultures while still retaining its core traditions. Bharatanatyam has been in Arshia’s life since she was a child. She continues to cultivate her skills under the tutelage and guidance of her gurus or teachers Sri. Adithya P.V. and Smt. Radhika Narayanan.

“Growing up in America, away from my Indian roots and heritage, Bharatanatyam has been a way for me to connect with my culture,” she says. “As different as it may seem, art is art, and therefore can be translated to different forms, styles, and movements. Throughout my journey, the Bharatanatyam vocabulary has helped me better understand the intricacies of other art forms.”

In her showcase at Spotlight, Arshia will be featuring two main fragments of this said vocabulary: Abhinaya. the art of expression, and Nritta, the art of dance. She is proud to present pieces choreographed and taught to her by her teachers. 

You may have seen mind-boggling Brick Bending videos on YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. Perhaps you visited a LEGO art exhibit in or around Portland. But have YOU ever helped LEGO artists build massive art installations, all while watching Brick Bending videos on the big screen at The Judy? Of course you haven’t, because it’s never happened before!

Come join Brick Bending and friends for an unforgettable LEGO performance art experiment. Together, we’ll build never-before-seen geometric creations on a huge scale— and have a little fun at the same time! Don’t be afraid to stop by, say hello, and click a few bricks together at Spotlight.

Corazones Alegres Ballet Folklórico honors and promotes Mexican culture, heritage, and identity through traditional dance classes and performances for youth and the community. A dance troupe under the Latino Network, Corazones Alegres Ballet Folklórico was established in March 2015 out of the Gresham-Rockwood area.

Ballet Folklórico youth learn to reveal the story of each dance while developing pride in their heritage, dignity, and poise. Students range from ages 3 to eighteen and come from many school districts in the Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties.

Leila Del Duca specializes in science fiction and fantasy comic book art. She loves using sharp, clean lines and textured dry brushes. Working in both traditional and digital mediums, she focuses on emphasizing both action and emotion in her storytelling.

Leila’s comics include Once Upon A Time At The End Of The World (Issues 7-10), The House of Lost Horizons, Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed, Sleepless, Shutter and she also wrote Afar. Her client list includes DC, Marvel, Vertigo, Image Comics, ONI Press, BOOM! Studios, IDW, and National Geographic. Leila is a member of Helioscope, a comic arts collective in Portland, which is the largest comic book studio in the United States.

You know NWCT’s John Ellingson as Gerald from Elephant & Piggie, The Cat in the Hat, and Bert from Mary Poppins. At Spotlight, John will bring another beloved character to life on stage! (The only way to find out who is to come to Spotlight, but we’ll give you a hint: It’s a feathered friend.) John’s zany performance features original music from local composer Ezra Weiss. 

Becky Hawkins makes comics about life in Portland with her tiny cartoon sidekick, Shoulder Angel. She spent five years traveling the world as a cruise ship musician, and has been doing watercolor comics on postcard paper ever since. Becky likes the idea of using postcards, which usually show an idealized version of a place, to portray ordinary experiences.

“Ghost Light,” her comic series documenting behind-the-scenes hijinks at NWCT, has been running for 11 years. Becky also teams up with local cartoonist Barry Deutsch to create the award-winning 1940s lesbian superhero history noir webcomic SuperButch.

Caitlin Yarsky is a comic book artist who loves drawing dark fantasy and science fiction worlds. Past work includes Wonder Woman, Superman, Catwoman and Shazam (DC), Black Hammer Reborn (Dark Horse), Bliss and Coyotes (Image Comics) among others.

Kids Junk Orchestra players make rhythms and music on whatever surface they can think of — drums, bongos, buckets, body percussion, and even pots and pans!

At Spotlight, Kids Junk Orchestra will perform an original musical that takes you on a journey of different styles of music from blues to jazz to hip-hop, and everything in between — but percussion is the thing. They’ll travel to different regions to discover African, Latin, Reggae and Funk(y) Hip Hop rhythms and music from their beginnings all the way to the present, all in a 30-45 minute performance!

Mo Phillips is a teaching artist and a fun-time maker in Portland, Oregon. He writes and records songs, makes oddball videos, produces choose-your-own-adventure musicals, all in Mo-Fi. Mo-Fi is a way of making art centered on joy and exploration, primarily of inexpensive apps that do silly stuff. When not teaching song writing in schools or shredding ukulele for the people, Mo is a dad. That’s his favorite job, the rest is just gravy.

Festival Schedule

Spotlight tickets are available for one day or for the full weekend (that’s the only way to see ALL of the acts!)
Performances and demonstrations start at 11am and run until 3pm across all three performance spaces at THE JUDY:
The Schnitzer Stage, The Ball Black Box, and The Family Cinema. Stay as long as you’d like!

Performance times are approximate:

Saturday, February 24:

11:05am & 1pm: Arshia Rajeshnarayanan (Bharatanatyam Dance)
11:40am & 1:30pm: Corazones Alegres Ballet Folklórico (Traditional Dance)
12:20 & 2:20pm: NWCT’s John Ellingson (Music & Theater)

11:15am & 12:40pm: Catalyst: NWCT’s Youth Company (Music & Theater)
12 & 1:45pm: Kids Junk Orchestra (Music)

11:30am & 1:15pm: Becky Hawkins, Caitlin Yarsky & Leila Del Duca (Comic Illustrators)
12:15 & 2pm: Mo Phillips (Music)

Sunday, February 25:

11:05am & 1pm: Mo Phillips (Music)
11:40am & 1:30pm: NWCT’s John Ellingson (Music & Theater)
12:20 & 2:20pm: Arshia Rajeshnarayanan (Bharatanatyam Dance)

11:15am & 12:40pm: Catalyst: NWCT’s Youth Company (Music & Theater)
12 & 1:45pm: Kids Junk Orchestra (Music)

11:15am – 2:30pm: Brick Bending(LEGO Art)

Thank You NWCT Sponsors