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A Place Called Home

In an effort to showcase the diversity of our region, highlight the Port of Portland's commitment to equity and take a fresh approach to art in the airport, "A Place Called Home" was created in partnership with the Portland Street Art Alliance and two local artists: Alex Chiu and Jeremy Nichols.

Throughout the design process, Alex and Jeremy consulted with Port employees as well as representatives from the Native American Youth and Family Center, Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Black United Fund, Urban League of Portland and Latino Network, as well as members of our PDX Airport Community Advisory Committee.

It is our hope that travelers and residents alike see this work as a celebration of community, inclusion and the sense of home we feel at PDX.

Alex Chiu

Part of my role as a muralist is to engage with each community in order to reflect what it wants to see and how it wants to be seen. After processing feedback from cultural organizations, community leaders and Port of Portland employees, I had the privilege to paint the diverse faces of Portland and the Pacific Northwest. Although it would be impossible for me to include all of the communities represented in our region, I feel the mural highlights important aspects of our local culture and daily life, and truly reflects a sense of home.

About Alex:

My parents are both Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong, and I always felt stuck between two very different worlds – balancing my Chinese identity with my American identity. My younger self pushed back against my Chinese cultural heritage because I felt it made me different from my friends. Lately, I’ve been trying to reclaim my cultural identity and define my experience as a second generation Asian American. My face will always communicate my Chinese descent, even though I was born in the United States. It is hard not to feel like a foreigner as I go through life.

My art is about redefining what being American means through cultural representation. I want to explore American culture through its differences, and I’m interested in understanding and depicting racial diversity, cultural histories and different cultural practices in the United States. I would like for people to relinquish their fear of the “other.” My art is about breaking barriers.


Jeremy Nichols

As an artist living in Oregon, the outdoors is a huge part of my life and strongly influences my work. We are always surrounded by gorgeous nature, no matter where you find yourself. I felt it was very important to highlight our native species and natural landmarks in the mural, as we all need to understand that our natural lands are beautiful and precious. I hope this mural will provide a subtle reminder to residents and visitors alike to appreciate and respect Oregon’s natural beauty.

About Jeremy:

As a child, I traveled regularly between upstate New York and Tokyo – my birthplace and my family’s home country – all the while growing up in the suburbs of Ohio. I grew up visually, socially and culturally fascinated and influenced by these different environments. However, the contrasting cultural atmospheres confused me as a child. It led me to not have a firm understanding as to where belonged; and even more so, not knowing where to really call “home.” To this day, I internally battle as to where my actual home truly is.

I try to reflect on this feeling of displacement by taking an “outsider looking in” approach to my artwork. By combining elements of design and nature, I attempt to depict the relationship, energy and juxtaposition between nature and culture. I try to present the viewer with a sense of how I feel and see the world around me.

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A Place Called Home

Created by Portland artists Jeremy Nichols and Alex Chiu, "A Place Called Home" showcases the diversity of our communities and citizens while taking a fresh approach to art in the airport. Learn more about the mural, created as a partnership between the Port of Portland and the Portland Street Art Alliance.

Jeremy Nichols

Alex Chiu

Port of Portland - Community Mural
Sauvie Island and Oregon's Bounty
Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch

At 24,000 acres, Sauvie Island is one of the largest river islands in the country and sits at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, just 10 miles northwest of downtown Portland. The island’s farmland and wildlife refuge and has become a popular destination for a variety of people — locals seeking the freshest and best produce; birdwatchers looking for sandhill cranes, bald eagles, blue herons or migrating geese; and those who want to hike, bike, fish, hunt or use the public beaches. In the summer, grab a basket and head out into the berry fields for a pick-your-own adventure; in the fall, don’t miss the pumpkin patches and corn maze. Learn more at sauvieisland.org.

Mazzy Chiu
Mazzy Chui

Mazzy Chiu, daughter of artist Alex Chiu, is a celebrity in her own right. Thanks to her talented dad, Mazzy is immortalized in other Portland places, including a mural at the Northeast 82nd TriMet MAX station. She also has a YouTube show – Cooking with Mazzy – where she’ll teach you how to make microwave mochi, hurricane popcorn, gyoza and more with the help of parents, friends and the occasional hand puppet.

Ballet Folklórico
Ballet Folklórico

Latino Network’s Ballet Folklórico honors Mexican culture, heritage and identity through dance classes and performances. Youth enrolled in the program learn traditional dances while gaining an appreciation for the lyrical, musical and colorful culture of Mexico. Ballet Folklórico performs at community events including El Grito, Cinco de Mayo, Latino Network’s Noche Bella and on the Rose Festival Foundation’s Fiesta float. Learn more at latnet.org.

Chapman Elementary Swifts
Chapman Elementary Swifts

Every year thousands of people make their way to Chapman Elementary School in Northwest Portland during the month of September — the time of year when thousands of Vaux’s swifts drift through the city on their annual migration from Canada to Central and South America. As many as 16,000 swifts gather in the sky and funnel into the school’s towering smokestack to roost for the night. It’s popular with spectators too: Each night at sunset, hundreds of onlookers flock to a nearby grassy bank and watch in awe as a cloud of tiny birds swirls for up to an hour before darting inside the chimney. Learn more at audubonportland.org.

Rose Festival Queen Mya Brazile
Rose Festival Queen Mya Brazile

Summers in the Portland area are filled with a variety of community-oriented, family-friendly events. Foresighted city leaders started the Rose Festival during the first decade of the 20th century to put Portland on the map and brand it the ‘summer capital of the world.’ Little did they know that more than a hundred summers later, the festival would feature three popular parades, a three-weekend urban fair packed with great entertainment and food, and an iconic Court made up of local high school women like Rose Queen Mya Brazile making goodwill visits around the state. Learn more at rosefestival.org.

Blues Musician Norman Sylvester
Blues Musician Norman Sylvester

Norman Sylvester, 2011 Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee, is known for his dedication to both the blues and community service. Back in 1987, his band performed at the very first Rose City Blues Festival – now known as the Waterfront Blues Festival – the largest celebration of blues, soul, funk and rhythm & blues west of the Mississippi. He also plays an integral role in the Good in the Hood Festival, an annual celebration of multicultural music and food. Learn more at waterfrontbluesfest.com and goodnthehood.org.

Native Storyteller Ed Edmo
Native Storyteller Ed Edmo

Ed Edmo is an acclaimed Shoshone-Bannock poet, playwright, performer, traditional storyteller, tour guide and lecturer on Northwest tribal culture. Ed served as a consultant to the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and his many adaptations of Native American legends from the mid-Columbia River region have been incorporated into cultural performances that bring the stories and their lessons to a broad audience of all ages. Learn more at ededmo.tripod.com.

Vanport Floods
Vanport Floods

A “miracle city,” “sociological experiment” and “municipal monstrosity.” During its short life span (1942-1948), Vanport – Oregon’s second largest city and the nation’s largest public housing project – drew national attention and conflicting opinions. When the Columbia River flooded on Memorial Day in 1948, the city of 40,000 was erased from the map in a single day. Decades later, the annual Vanport Mosaic Festival celebrates migration, housing, displacement and perseverance with performances, tours, exhibits and other community activities. Learn more at vanportmosaic.org.

Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock

Located at Cannon Beach on the North coast of Oregon, Haystack Rock rises 235 feet from the edge of the shoreline and is one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks, attracting wildlife and tourists alike. Home to colorful tidepools and diverse bird life, it is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and is a protected Marine Garden. Volunteer interpreters and protectors of Haystack Rock and the life that it supports are on the beach during morning low tides during the summer. Learn more at friendsofhaystackrock.org.