Photo: Walter Cole (aka Darcelle), left, with Don Horn.
The Darcelle Project, a multi-dimensional project that preserves and honors the story of Walter Cole, also known as Darcelle, and his achievements as an entrepreneur, performer, Portland icon, and activist for the LGBTQ community, is a recipient of a 2020 Oregon Heritage Excellence Award from the Oregon Heritage State Historic Preservation Office.
The project, spearheaded by Donald Horn,founder of trinagle productions!, included a musical and an Oregon Historical Society exhibit that celebrated the history of Walter Cole, the man who started the Portland club Darcelle XV over 50 years ago and who, at age 90, still performs as Darcelle.
Darcelle XV and Cole’s home were both placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2020.
“I hear from so many that theatre is just stage plays/musicals, but to me, it’s so much more,” says Don. “It’s a community servicing a community.”
The Darcelle Project is one of only 22 LGBTQ businesses out of 93,500 to receive this recognition.