What exactly IS Marrow?

Marrow is part community center, part education space, part youth activist organization, part art gallery...

We aim to help young folks build the education, life and community that they want for themselves. If you're looking for an easy term to describe what we do, Marrow is a Creative Youth Development program.

Marrow provides a safe environment for any teen to:

  • Participate in workshops and courses.
  • Use our drop-in hours to work independently, work with others, or just hang out.
  • Take advantage of our membership program to build real world skills in a particular area of Marrow's operations.
  • Connect with passionate, honest, rad adults through mentorship and advising.
  • Exhibit and sell your work (visual art, writing, music - whatever you create).

What is Creative Youth Development (CYD)?

CYD is “a recently (2014) coined term that organizes a longstanding community of practice that intentionally integrates the arts, sciences, and humanities with youth development principles, sparking young people’s creativity and building critical learning and life skills that carry into adulthood.” (via National Guild for Community Arts Education). The value of CYD as a field has been acknowledged by The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Americans for the Arts, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education, who together with the Mass. Cultural Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing their joint commitment to advancing the field nationwide.

Who can participate? What ages do you serve?

We say "teens" because there just isn't a better term. We aren't interested in age policing - so if you're a young person pre-teen to early 20's and feel like Marrow is a good fit for you, you're welcome here!

Sometimes we have programming that is open to younger folks and adults, and those events are marked "all ages" on our calendar.

You don't have to live in St Johns (some folks bus up from as far as Sellwood), or even in Portland to get involved at Marrow - if you're just passing through or visiting you're welcome to come in for a workshop or event!

I'm an adult, can I participate in a class, or come check out your space?

To maintain a safe space for our teens, the area beyond our front entryway/shop is for teen-aged folks (as defined above) and staff/volunteers only - unless there is an all-ages event or workshop. Adults who'd like to check out the rest of our space are welcome to make an appointment via email or come to an all ages event.

Are young folks allowed to leave Marrow during programming or events?

Yes! Many of our teens are very independent and ride the bus, walk here, or get around on their own. We encourage everyone to stick around, but we don't require anyone to stay in our space - whether we're running drop-in hours, a class, or an event. Fred Meyer, Roosevelt High School, and a great food cart pod are all within two blocks from our building!

Do you have any rules?

We're not big on the idea of rules, but these are some guidelines that our community has agreed upon, to keep everyone safe:

  • Our staff reserve the right to ask anyone to leave who is making other folks feel unsafe. If someone is making you feel unsafe (physically, emotionally, or otherwise) - please tell a staff member, mentor, or volunteer. Even when programming is facilitated by another organization or individual, a Marrow staff member is always present. If you'd feel more comfortable you can contact staff privately via email at info@marrowpdx.org
  • Anything discussed with Marrow staff is entirely confidential - unless we feel we need to intervene to protect your safety or the safety of others (in which case it will be handled with the most possible respect for your consent and autonomy).
  • Marrow is a drug and alcohol free space.