Monday, March 31, 2014

A is for art and crafts (Portlandia from A to Z)

And off we go!

First Thursday in Portland
A is for art and crafts

Portland is an artsy place.

Art walks: We have four art walks each month, the most well known of which is First Thursday. First Thursday started in 1986 in a what-was-then-mostly-abandoned Pearl District (now one of the most happening places in the city).

I ;last went to First Thursday several years ago, when one of my coworkers, Kelly Kievit, a painter in addition to being a talented graphic designer, had a show at the Froelich Gallery. Sadly, now she has moved to Denver so I don't know any local artists personally to drag me out on Thursday nights!

Portland Art Museum
Art galleries and museums: The beautiful Portland Art Museum is free for children under 17, thanks to a $1 million endowment. In fact, many Portland galleries and museums offer free or reduced admission on certain days or always.

Education: We are home to the Oregon College of Art and Craft and a fine art school, the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

With my friend April and artist Nikki McClure
 at the Wild Arts Festival last winter

Local art shows: When I was younger, my aunt was a potter. I remember the summer our family painted my aunt and uncle's house in exchange for a full setting of pottery, which my parents still own. She showed her work in the wonderful annual Ceramics Showcase and Local 14 Women's Art Show and Sale.

Last year I went to the Wild Arts Festival for the first time with my friends. It's sponsored by the Audubon Society, and I never even knew it existed.

Crafts: We have great local craft stores beyond the big box Michael's. The most well known are Scrap (a nonprofit creative reuse center) and Collage, but a drop-in arts and crafts studio also just opened up in my own hood and I have yet to visit it: the Craft Factory.

In addition to local craft bazaars held all over town over the winter holidays, the large, amazing Crafty Wonderland (Portland's arts & crafts extravaganza) is not to be missed! Best of all, it's free...and it offers high-quality, all-handmade items, unlike so many of the large craft bazaars nowadays. We also have our own Museum of Contemporary Craft, always a fun place to visit.

Multnomah Art Center: Portland's fantastic parks & recreation district runs several community centers, best of which is the Multnomah Art Center (just .5 mile from my house). In addition to its many performing arts classes (music, dance, and theater), the center offers weaving, pottery, calligraphy, painting, jewelry making, metalsmithing, tie-dye, glass fusing, and mosaic among others. Several years ago I took a fabulously fun mosaic class there. Must do something creative there again soon!

This is just the tip of the iceberg and doesn't even mention all of the great entrepreneurial start-up creative companies that have bloomed in Portland. We love to express ourselves and expose ourselves to art, as our former mayor Bud Clark made famous in 1978:

Next up: Bookstores and breweries!


  1. I wish I could enjoy those art walks. It sounds like a great way to spend a day.

    1. Yes...I can see why people get hooked!

  2. A is for AWESOME!!! It looks like you've really immersed yourself in the Portland art community - looking forward to bookstores and breweries! Cheers, marci ( :D

    1. Thanks Marci--I'm definitely a creative soul! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I look forward to learning more about Portland through your A-Z challenge - the art walks sound interesting!
    Jude a fellow challenger xx

  4. Fun post! We have a friend who just came back from Oregon and it sounds like a lovely state, some day I'd love to do a long road trip out there :)

  5. Nice coverage! I've never been, but I'd like to visit some day.


  6. I've never been to the USA so your blog is going to fill some big gaps in my knowledge. Portland looks lovely. I'm just returning your visit to I'm a first timer to the challenge and it's already keeping me busy doing all the "socialising", although that's what makes it interesting.

  7. Great post. I love how much culture and art you can find in Portland, OR. My sister lived there for a while, and I know she misses it.
    Play off the Page

  8. When I lived there, the art museums were one of the great trips with the kids!

  9. Brilliant. I guess I can keep these as a guide when I visit Portland. Look forward to the bookstore post - I am a mad mad book person :)