Portland Works employs artmaking as a catalyst to build enduring, authentic relationships which are essential to meeting the increasing challenges facing cities. Created in response to civic and social tensions between city employees, elected officials and the immigrant and refugee communities, Portland Works partners municipal participants – city councilors, police, public service, social service, fire and EMS workers – with community leaders who represent both the city’s growing diversity and the residents who have lived here for generations. Exploring topics including civics, history, life stories and the “state of the city,” participants meet monthly to create and share individual artworks. Project challenges are addressed through education, discussion and artmaking, with a final distillation of the art that’s been created – photography, mosaics, collage, printmaking, poetry, graffiti, video, audio, music – into public art projects. Such projects might include sidewalk stencils, park benches, murals, painted light poles, images on sanitation trucks – all of it art that connects people to the communities, each other and the city.