Friends of Noise seeks to foster healing and growth for the creative youth in our community via the arts. We host all age concerts that showcase youth first and adult artist second. We teach music production workshops so that young people can host and produce concerts themselves. We teach Music Biz professional development workshops so that young people can have a baseline skill set to navigate the music scene.
Friends of Noise is a non-profit, educational, all-ages organization. Our mission is to provide safer and productive spaces for all-ages concerts, focused arts education, and leadership opportunities for youth with a focus on providing marginalized youth and youth of color access to performative creative expression. Our long-term goals are to contribute to the development of a region wide network of young people and adults that are learned and ready to pursue a career in the music industry on stage or backstage and to grow into a youth centered arts center that resides in a music focused arts hub in an underserved community within our city.
We seek to create a non-profit, all-ages arts venue that is youth-oriented and youth-driven. We envision a safe, inclusive community meeting place for arts events, with a strong educational and mentorship component. We intend to engage young people in all aspects of event planning and production within this space, in order to encourage real world skill-building. We believe these skills will serve students well in their future endeavors and help them become cultural leaders and engaged citizens in their communities.
Board of Directors
Gina Altamura resides in Portland, Oregon with her cat Zizek. She has worked in Portland’s music industry for the better part of a decade, curating interdisciplinary arts programming at Portland nightclub Holocene. She also manages R&B and pop artists as a founder of local firm Nature\\Nurture Artist Management. She is compelled by the philosophical implications of emerging pop cultural trends, and moonlights as a DJ for community radio station XRAY.FM, where she examines the latest trends in pop music on her show Intuitive Navigation. She is a passionate advocate for youth voices in the music community, working both in and out of the classroom to bring music and music industry education to teens, via nonprofit organizations like Friends of Noise.
Andre Middleton (Executive Director) is a native new Yorker that moved to Portland to attend college. He has many ties to the arts and music scene via friendships that stretch back for at least 2 decades. He is the Executive Director of Friends of Noise. Andre is a community activist on issues of inclusion and equity and a community connector within the arts. He is the host of the long running XRAY.FM program, Group Therapy where he gets to interview activist and artist and community members. He recently joined the Board of Trustees for the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, where he hopes to have a profound impact on their efforts to connect and share current and challenging art within a broad cross section of our fair city.
Rachael Allen is a native Pacific Northwesterner who spent her youth overseas and in Baltimore before settling back in Portland in 2005. Coming from a legacy of educators and youth advocates, she brings passion for education that empowers people. As a director of the Village Free School, Rachael explores the balance between freedom, accountability, and authenticity with students of all ages in a self-directed, non-coercive environment that operates democratically. Her love of music has been a palpable guide and constant companion all her life, providing many opportunities to be involved in music communities personally and professionally: most recently as a board member of the local non-profit Friends of Noise. Rachael is a voracious reader, avid people watcher, and adventure enthusiast.
Lisa Vazquez is a lab rat, beat nerd, multi instrumentalist, vocalist. Lisa creates intoxicating layered rhythms and vocals both live and in the studio.
Lucas Strelchun is a music producer, DJ, audio engineer, sound designer and audio geek. In 2013, he began releasing EDM remixes, originals and edits under the alias DJ Stretchman. Aside from his main project, Lucas produces lots of Hip-Hop, Pop and Trap beats for various artists.
A comedian and professional stick figure artist on her off time, Raiyasha Paris is a long term student new board member on our team here at Friends Of Noise. In regards to music she is a vocalist and pianist who strongly follows in the footsteps of Alicia Keys, Mary J Blige and Erykah Badu. Music is a staple in the Paris family and Raiyasha desires to live up that family tradition and second nature. She states, “the moment I heard the story from my mom that my grandmother sang at Carnegie Hall in New York alongside Marian Anderson (St. Mary’s High School) and saw that how powerful one can be, I knew a gift was in me somewhere, and once found, I knew I had to share it with the world.
James Ball, Esq. is a Portland, OR native who flew the nest in 1996 and returned in 2011 to start a family and open an intellectual property and entertainment law practice. In 2014 he partnered with Bryan Wasetis to form Aspect Law Group, an arts and entertainment law firm. James joined the board of Friends of Noise in 2016 to help further its mission of music education and providing all ages music events to the community. In his spare time, James enjoys learning about every aspect of humanity’s self-expression through the arts and sciences.
Bim is a life-long professional artist from the Pacific NW who has been playing in and touring with Portland based bands since he was a teenager. He spends most nights at shows. Bim is interested in creating systemic changes to how industry, government, and society ensure the future of music and art. He has a personal understanding of the power of music, how it can change people and communities for the better, give voice, create space, and speak truth to power through beauty. Bim has spent his life advocating for the people who comprise the Creative Class. He envisions a real future for them, one where they are unhindered by systems that tell artists they are too young, too strange, not business oriented enough, or too creative to be allowed to pursue their wild visions for a better world. Bim is a published music journalist and his work spans from music-tech & streaming, distribution, to fictional pieces that orbit sci-fi interpretations of the consolidation of power in society and how the internet became a corporate force against art. He ran for Mayor of Portland in 2016 on a platform that focused on the value of art and music in cities. The cultural, economic, and civic value of art is a constant theme in Bim’s life. At the end of most days though, you’ll simply find him at one of the tiny, dimly lit and fiercely independent, venues in Portland. Just there, listening to a band play some songs, and perhaps between the sets, lightly discussing the future of society with other weirdos.