Monday, April 30, 2012

What a great city!

I feel very fortunate to live in Portland Oregon!  I don’t know whether it’s luck, planning, or divine intervention but Portland is at the confluence of all that I could need or want as an artist!  It has a fantastic artist community with art shows, markets, support networks, ample networking opportunities and a vibrant culture.  It is located in one of the most diverse and beautiful locations in the country.  From snow-capped peaks, to lush rain forests, to the crashing surf along the coast as well as arid deserts in Eastern Oregon, it is a landscape photographers dream location.  And, on top of all of that, it has a worthy economy that allows me to have a “regular” job as I build up my photography business.  Don’t tell anybody, but this is a FANTASTIC place to live.  Well, there is one downside……grey, rainy weather 7 months of the year.  It’s what keeps the streams flowing, the snow on the mountains, the lushness of the Columbia River Gorge, but it does get a bit depressing to those of us living here year-round. This incessant rain also makes it challenging to be a photographer.   Many days it’s just too nasty to go shooting, despite what folks say about shooting in the rain.  And, when spring does arrive, it’s a short window of prime shooting before the summer kicks in and the clouds disappear.
But I digress, lets get back to the artistic community here in Portland.  Spring, Summer and Fall the Portland Metro area is ripe with artistic activities.  Every weekend there seems to be an art show in the local community, or a workshop, class or talk being given about art.  Some of the larger shows have begun to gather national attention; Art in the Pearl is a massive show in downtown Portland that draws all types of artists to forested city blocks downtown to show and sell their fine work.  The Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts is another growing show that draws hundreds of artists from across the West.  The community here is so very supportive of both established as well as up and coming artists.  No matter your skill or medium, there is a show or activity for you!
First Thursday is another fantastic event that occurs in downtown Portland.  During the first Thursday of the Spring and Summer months, dozens of local art galleries and businesses sponsor local artists to display their art in their spaces.  On this evening, each business opens their doors and serves drinks or snacks for folks that stroll along the blocks, mingling with other lovers of art, popping into various galleries and businesses to see the fantastic art that is on display.  This has turned into a cultural phenomenon here in Portland, our own regular “gala” event that happens each month. 
After a few months of networking and socializing my photography, I was invited to put in an exhibition at one of the local businesses located in The Pearl district in downtown.  The frenzy has begun to print and frame enough pieces to make a worthy exhibition, as well as all the signage that is needed for each piece.  I’m excited to be able to show my work to a new audience.  I’ll be present for the opening event to answer any questions about my work.  My pieces will be installed for 1 month, until the next First Thursday.  Let’s hope for some good sales!
There are some great “art cities” in this country….Chicago, New York, Santa Fe, Austin…but Portland is in a very unique position with a wonderful culture and is rapidly rising on this list of great “art cities”. 

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