While intelligent critical discussion may not always happen in a very public fashion in Portland, I know it is taking place because I've heard it everywhere from informal conversations with acquaintances to academic lectures. Dialogue is taking place amongst artists, critics, gallery owners and curators based out of Portland. It's also happening by artists and art professionals coming to Portland to find out what the rumors are all about. It's obvious to longtime Portland residents, recent transplants and visitors that something is brewing here, and it's not to be missed.
Critical discussion about art in Portland reaches far beyond the few measly plots of printed real estate allotted to arts coverage in local print media. For a city of this size, with this much activity, with this many practicing artists and functioning galleries, and now, within the past few years, with the increasing amount of political interest in branding Portland as a city for art and artists, it's only natural to expect critical discussion to grow into maturity with its artists.
It's truly mystifying why much of Portland's art writing has remained corralled by the scant amount of printed space available to the arts. The turf is much larger than that and the discussions go much deeper than that. Fellow PORT writer Jeff Jahn's NW Drizzle column broke away from a dependence on print (and the strictures of diminutive word counts imposed by the economic realities of print). With the launch of PORT, critical discussion now has a public forum that allows for a greater volume of writing with far more immediacy. My particular interest as a regular contributor of PORT is in inciting these discussions and ensuring that the link between Portland and the rest of the world is a two-way conduit for ideas.
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