Video submissions will replace live performances at yearly cultural celebration

Staff from the Coquille tribe interacts with a Capitol visitor at their booth. Four tribes have chosen to participate in Multicultural Day Reimagined by providing videos to share at this year’s event. (Courtesy/Capitol History Gateway)

In a different time, the Capitol would be bustling this weekend with Irish dancers, people dressed in traditional Japanese garb and the sounds of mariachi music.

But this year, Multicultural Day is going virtual, with a day of programming streamed on Facebook starting at 10 a.m. with back to back video performances until 2 p.m. The schedule of performances will be posted on the event’s Facebook page Friday.

EVENT LINK: Multicultural Day  

Stacy Nalley, public outreach coordinator at the Capitol, said the event was just starting to get into its stride before the pandemic happened.

“It takes a while for events to catch on,” she said. “We had just hit a really good spot with the amount of partners participating.”

For the event’s third year, 45 organizations are participating through videos that range from an 8-year-old reading a fairytale in Russian to old musical instruments.

In one video, Yvonne Putze, executive director of Deepwood Museum and Gardens, will be dressed in Victorian era clothing while talking about music inside homes from 1884 to 1930.

She’s going to be showing off a talking machine called a euphonia, which was created in the mid-nineteenth century to imitate speech.

Putze said she applauds the Oregon State Capitol Foundation for moving ahead with the event. She said she’s getting more comfortable in a recorded setting.

“When we’re doing it, it’s really thinking about how you can reach people in a different way and making an impact,” she said.

Multicultural Day comes as art and cultural organizations across the state may face a bleak future after months of little to no revenue. Nalley said the online event provides the participants with a platform for expression this year.

“There are a lot of negative impacts on the cultural, historical, heritage organizations and when this pandemic is over a lot of those places may cease to exist,” Nalley said.

Despite furloughs or canceled gigs, Nalley said the groups she reached out to wanted the event to go on.

“I think what I’m excited about is to see people’s ingenuity and spirit come through on these videos,” Nalley said.

She said those who can’t watch on Saturday can view the videos on the Oregon State Capitol’s website from Aug. 15 until Nov. 15. 

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Have a story tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.