Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Giving Thanks Readings
Meet RACC's new leader Madison Cario
November Reviews
Early November Links
Spooky reviews
Countdown to Portlandageddon?
Mid October Links including PNCA/OCAC merger talks
Paul Allen, philanthropist and arts champion dead at 65
Midwest Art Initiative Tour
Haunting October Picks
End of September News
September review cluster

recent comments

Double J
Sam Gould
Sam Gould
Double J
Sam Gould



Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Openings & Events
About PORT

regular contributors


Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman



Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us


Contact us






powered by


Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a


Creative Commons License

Friday 10.23.09

« Blue PLAY | Main | the masters »

Portland art scene in National Geographic Traveler

Ok, the good news is its not yet another NY/LA times travel story on Portland but the November/December issue of National Geographic Traveler does a similar tour. Not really a big deal and none of this is new to anyone who lives here, but it was nice that they discussed the Pearl District, PNCA and the Everett Station Lofts. Congrats to ON gallery and Portland's Susan Seubert who got to do the photos. Art is turning into a major industry in this city. Most interesting it discusses Portland as a "model city" ... something we need to take much more seriously here. Always interesting to see how the world views Portland and compare it to how Portlanders see themselves.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 23, 2009 at 11:11 | Comments (5)


My apologizes in advance for the seemingly Marxist mumbo jumbo I am about to write, but I felt I should comment on the above. Not that what Jeff wrote, with all due respect, is an unusual point of view, or that I haven't seen it written or spoken in any number of ways, long and short, over the years. It's fairly par for the course. I'm not sure why I'm moved to write now, but here goes...

In regard to the comment that "art is turning into a major industry in this city," wouldn't that require at least a modicum of the re-distribution of capital in the arts? I think more accurately said, art has turned into a gateway for industry in Portland, not the industry in question. Design, advertising, architecture, marketing, these are the "arts" that thrive in Portland. And even so, only for a few. When it comes to art that is none of the above mentioned, Portland is well below the curve in relation to other cities of its size. It was, is, and mostlikely will remain so into the distant future. I am very lucky (VERY LUCKY) to make my living as an artist. But I make almost none of it in Portland. I have to go out of town to do that.

What we are seeing now are Vera Katz's plans for "creatives," (ie; creative people who quantify their creativity through the production of goods and capital for others) moving to town. This migration has been going on for years, of course. There is barely an industry, if you will, for artists of a more "arty" variety, people who, for lack of a better description, make paintings, photographs, sound art, sculptures, etc, etc... Would Qualifiable Goods be a somewhat reasonable description? Lord knows, but what we do know is that those artists don't make bank, or even rent, in Portland

The aftermath of Vera Katz reading that stupid Richard Florida book, and all that Sam Adams picked up through association, has turned this town into Jello. In the past none of us made any money, but at least we didn't pat ourselves on the back at ever chance we got after ponying up to the ATM that is Nike, et al, and call it a creative avenue for artistic practice. It's not necessarily the wrong thing to do, but plain and simple it's the easy way out.

Posted by: Sam Gould [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2009 05:43 PM

Sam, thanks for all the words to my off hand remark.

When I wrote it I was thinking of tourism and art education along with the whole design industry.

In particular I think the rise of all of Portland's art schools (PNCA, OCAC and PSU most visibly so far) has lead to a lot of interesting artists being paid a living wage as professors and some of them like Modou have reinvested some of that back into the cmmunity again.

Should the city really get behind all of these alt spaces and challenging artists in a meaningful way fundingwise, absolutely. In fact I have a much broader breakdown and critique that Ill get published tomorrow. It's a detailed critique not a pat on the back.

Portland needs to live up to the "model city" moniker and the CAN initiative is just part of it. What about a hotel or coffee tax to make certain we support the culture we celebrate? Honestly, a couple cents for every cup would make a big difference.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2009 07:09 PM

I think a tax like that would be a great idea, but since most Oregonians won't even chip in for a sales tax to help schools and roads I find it hard to imagine that a tax for art would work. Though I would without a doubt pay an extra couple of cents for coffee if it went to arts funding. Come to think of it, with all the coffee we drink here we could fund the arts, schools, and fix the highway system.

In regard to the art schools here, I have to tell you, it's not good. There are a few people who get a decent living, but all in all, the wages a very low. I remember speaking to a long time PNCA prof. not long ago. She point blank asked how much I got paid per class at CCA and she was shocked at how much more it was; double. I realize that cost of living in SF is much higher, but still. I think we need to be more transparent in regard to the lip service we put into how great an "art city" this is, and what ways we could actually change it for the better.

Posted by: Sam Gould [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2009 07:53 PM

I should say though, I most often refrain from talking about this publicly. I've been involved in so many discussions (organized and (dis)organized) regarding this topic, and I just don't have the energy any more. So, that said, my apologizes if it seemed like I was calling you out Jeff. That wasn't my intention. Signing off. Over and out.

Posted by: Sam Gould [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2009 08:07 PM

Honestly I dont think you are calling me out at all... I agree we can do better. All of these are things that I had in mind when I brought up the way Portland is described as a "model ceity"... yet we have a lot of work to do in supporting the arts that we are touted for.

True not all profs are paid all that well... some are. its a case by case thing but in general yes they too are underpaid. Still if you look at the # of students in these program's its clear being a prof is supporting a lot of artists in town.

Honestly the CAN intitiative will be a paradigm shift, but only if it gets into the hands of working artists and not just fill in educational gaps (which is needed but a somewhat seperate issue).

My attitude about Portland has always that it is a good rebel base... now its a good rebel base with a lot of art schools that have seized on the city's popularity with the young.

Honestly though Im not that cynical about it... I rather like the fact that the artists are more cutting edge than the insititutions. It will take Portland years to catch up with the work a whole lot of us have done here while developing reputations that go far beyond Portland but that's their job.... Im just as interested in seeing the city get its act together on the patronage front as you are... and I suspect it just might. It will take leadership on a political level and Im curious if the CAN levee for 20 million dollars per year will work. I also wonder if the money will help some of the smart fresh artists who could use a little support.

Sometimes all it takes is a little support at a persistent level and evenually it becomes a civic habit, which can be escalated. All that said Im suspicious of politicians trying to help artists.... almost as suspicious as I am of artists who want to help politicians!

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2009 11:24 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee