Get Exposed to Contemporary Art in the Rose City
You may be more a traditional art lover than our former mayor Bud Clark (famous for the “Expose Yourself to Art” posters that were a hit in the 1980s), but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find something that suits your taste—no matter what it is—in the many diverse Rose City’s art galleries. Here are the nine best the city has to offer (with minimal allowances to get a little more than galleries that only feature painting and sculpture on the list).
The Big Art Galleries in PDX
1 – Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Founded in 1981, the Elizabeth Leach Gallery (in Portland’s Pearl District on Northwest Ninth) hosts shows from both Northwest and internationally established artists who are working in nearly every conceivable contemporary media.
2 – Froelick Gallery
Drawing its artists from the local regional scene, as well as the US Gulf Coast, Brooklyn, and Tokyo, the Froelick Gallery on NW Davis hosts a new show every month for the city’s art lovers.
3 – Blackfish Gallery
Another of Portland’s old guard of galleries, Blackfish Gallery was founded in 1979. It is collectively owned and run by a group of Oregon artists who attempt to represent the best the local and regional scenes have to offer.
4 – Bullseye Projects
Bullseye Projects, originally the gallery of Bullseye Glass, now hosts art, architecture, and design exhibits that feature glass, as well as touring exhibitions, and educational exhibits.
5 – Blue Sky/Oregon
Originally founded as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts in 1975, Blue Sky is the city’s premiere gallery for photography hosting a rotating lineup of local, national, and internationally renowned photographers over the years.
6 – Upfor
Founded back in 2013, Upfor gallery features contemporary work that is mostly focused on time-based and media art, however the exhibition program also includes solo and group exhibitions of sculpture, painting, works on paper, video, software, installations as well as performance, from emerging and established artists who exhibit internationally.
A Little Something Different for Art Lovers
These galleries are all located off the beaten path of the city’s art walks, hosting shows that are a little bit different.
7 – Disjecta
More a community arts center than a gallery, per se, North Portland’s Disjecta hosts a variety of events in addition to being one of the city’s best venues for large format contemporary art installations and sculptures.
8 – 23 Sandy
23 Sandy Gallery, a book arts and print arts gallery on Northeast Twenty-Third Ave, just North of Sandy, houses the city’s best collection of book arts, sculptures based in text media, broadsides, and other print art.
9 – Land
Located on popular Mississippi Avenue in North Portland, Land is a combination bookstore and art gallery. Begun by the Buy Olympia crowd from Washington’s capital city, Land hosts shows by regional favorites as well as artists from all over the world.
Art in the City of Roses
Of course a list of eleven galleries barely represents a minor fraction of the contemporary art scene in a city as vibrant as Portland. The art scene, like everything else in this city, is growing rapidly. Get out there and see it like it is while you can!