Portland’s art scene has so much going on, it merits at least three regular celebrations, held in different creative neighborhoods around town.
First Thursday, in the Pearl District and downtown, has been going strong since 1986. On the first Thursday of each month, galleries and businesses, including the Pacific Northwest College of Art debut new exhibitions, stay open late and throw a soiree, complete with free wine and snacks and great people-watching. Of course, it’s also serious business for local galleries like the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, one of the celebration’s pioneers.
During Northeast Alberta Street’s Last Thursday, the art openings at spaces like the Guardino Gallery set the scene for a boisterous street fair that attracts independent artists and performers, from local bands to troupes of acrobats. Held year-round, the event is biggest from May through September, when the street is closed to traffic during the festivities.
First Friday, hosted by Central Eastside galleries, studios and alternative art spaces, brings visitors up close with working artists in this burgeoning district. As its names implies, this art walk happens year-round on the first Friday of each month. ADX, a shared workshop for everything from metal to textiles, is a good place to begin a tour.