This past week, I had a great trip to Portland, OR. It was only my second time visiting the City of Roses, but I have to say that I really like it. It has a cool urban vibe and offers city living in a truly gorgeous setting alongside the Willamette River with the mountains in the distance. There is definitely a coffee culture – and that is fine by me; I tried several, with my favorites being Barista in the Pearl District and also NW Coffee over in Goose Hollow. The food was great – beginning with a delicious pastrami sandwich at Kenny & Zuke’s and ending with northern Italian at Nel Centro (oh, and a stop by St. Cupcake…yum!)
The city has a convenient free shuttle that runs in the heart of the city. I typically like to get a sense of a place by going through it block by block so, as is normal for me, I walked and walked and walked – into different neighborhoods, up into Washington Park (overlooking the city) and through the downtown districts.
Portland has an growing artist community and a number of galleries that devote themselves to promoting local and regional artists and a few that showcase national and international talents. At the Portland Art Museum, I enjoyed revisiting the contemporary collections. They had a really beautifully curated exhibit on Japanese prints – it led visitors through 3 centuries of printmaking and placed the art trends in the context of societal evolution.
As for the galleries, I visited about 15 and found them to run the gamut from co-ops to commercial – some conceptual, some great and others, not so much. I generally find the gallerists to be very friendly and approachable, willing to talk about the artists, the shows and the galleries. Below I list my favorites:
- Lee Kelly @ Elizabeth Leach
- Jim Riswold @ Augen Gallery
- Roll Hardy @ Laura Russo Gallery
- Fritz Liedtke @Blue Sky
- Ellen George @ PDX
- Jack Davidson @ Pulliam
- James Boulton @ Pulliam