[Sara Stout, one of this year’s Alice B. Toeclips Award nominees, is a life-long promoter of cycling and the culture of cycling. She’s a founding member of a cross-section of Portland bicycling institutions, including Shift, the bike culture non-profit; Citybikes, the co-op bike shop; Critical Mass, the visibility and advocacy movement; and the KBOO Bike Show, a monthly community radio show. She has been nominated for those works and for coordinating Portland’s Carfree Day celebrations in 2003 and 2004. She has also facilitated an extensive variety of bicycle-oriented art projects – including the “Share the Road Mural” at the Hawthorne Auto Clinic, below. She currently works for the BTA, teaching pedestrian and bike-safety in the Portland Public Schools. Here’s what she has to say about her Alice nomination.]
Bikes have always been a central part of my life. My family has used bikes for transportation since before I was born and I grew up in an environment where American car culture was constantly criticized. I’ve always been interested in the practical uses, the mechanics and aesthetics of bicycles and by now my life has been saturated with bike-related activities.
Here is my favorite family portrait. It’s a super a poor quality picture from an old NYC newspaper in 1970. I think you can make out just enough to see that my barefoot mom is toting me & my sister on her old Raleigh 3 speed.
This past summer I was given the exciting opportunity to design and paint a “Share the Road” themed mural on the side of the Hawthrone Auto Clinic in SE Portland. This was a very fun and educational project for me. Usually, my perspective is uncompromisingly bike-centric, and I was challenged by the assignment to represent the idea of Sharing the Road from the perspective of all road users. Expanding my point of view was not always easy, but the dialog that was initiated by the mural gave me renewed faith in the power of public art to create a safe place for the community to discuss difficult issues.
Thanks for all your hard work for Portland bicyclists Sara!