Before You Were Home - Zachary Schomburg - Now through the end of March / by Adam Moser

Writing Letters to the New Owners of the Old Addresses We Care About

Before You Were Home is a month-long project that engages with the rapidly changing landscape of Portland through the art of the personal letter. By sharing our personal histories and stories of certain places that no longer exist, or have been irrevocably changed by demolition and construction, Before You Were Home will reconstruct the city via memory for the benefit of the property’s new owner. As previous owners, inhabitants, neighbors, or patrons, this project is an opportunity to pass on our love of place to the people who plan to change it forever.  

Patrons will also be invited to write letters to the new owners/inhabitants of any address (anywhere) that is of personal significance to them.

During the month of March, the exhibit will include scheduled talks with notable Portland residents, postal carriers, neighborhood association members, and local historians, who will share their stories of particular addresses. There will also be open sharing at 6pm on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

The space will showcase a hand-drawn map of Portland, a list of addresses of recently demolished and scheduled demolishings, mailboxes, all the materials needed for letter writing, old phone books, letter-writing prompts, suggestions, and mini-lessons, and a rolodex of addresses for patrons to complete.

Any letters returned to Likewise by the new owners of a property will be given to the Likewise patron who wrote the original letter, but will also be subject to a public reading at Likewise at the end of the residency.

Zach will be tending bar every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday during the month of March.

Zach will be tending bar every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday during the month of March.

Artist website:

Twitter: @zschomburg