10 Best Places in Portland to Find a Variety of Art
By Meagan Shamy
Portland Local Expert
Art punctuates a room, adding mood, color, tone, and even dissonance. To those who love art, owning an original is an ongoing source of joy. Portland, Oregon is home to numerous art galleries showcasing works of all types and all prices. With a variety of art galleries to choose from you will find some type of art to suit you tastes, whether it be for a rare print or a unique piece of jewelry. From up and coming artists to nationally recognized artists Portland has work from all levels of artists. From Native American art to recycled art Portland has it all. Our choices for the best art galleries in Portland introduce you to a range of options in terms of price, subject matter, size, and media. As you visit the shops, you'll discover whether representational or abstract art appeals to you, and no matter your style, you're certain to find some item that resonates. Among our favorites are Blue Sky Gallery and Shaffer Fine Art Gallery. We included Quintana Gallery for it's extensive selection of Native American art. We included more traditional art galleries like Elizabeth Leach Gallery and Laura Russo Gallery. For those seeking a one of a kind work of glass art we have included Bullseye Gallery.
10 Bullseye Gallery
Bullseye Gallery showcases outstanding contemporary glass works created by internationally known glass artists. Artists work in the area of kilnformed glass and strive to better their craft via outstanding design, the use of new methods and the employment of innovative materials. Some of the artists are working here on site. Here you will find exhibitions promoting exemplary art, design and architecture in glass, as well as, touring exhibitions and educational programming. They even offer hands-on making and learning experiences. They host arts events encouraging exploration and dialog. You can check out their website to see what is currently on exhibit and to find out about their upcoming events. (503-227-0222)
9 Augen Gallery
Located in an 1894 building downtown, this gallery boasts 10,000 square feet spanning two floors of the historic structure. It's conveniently located in the Yamhill Historic District, just two blocks from the Willamette River. Gallery owners carefully select prints and works on paper developed by nationally and internationally known artists. Regional artists are showcased as well as up-and-coming artists from across the country. The Augen Gallery opens its doors for the First Thursday Gallery Walk, held the first Thursday of each month from 5:30pm-8:30pm. During First Thursday the upstairs is sometimes open for viewing. This is one of the best places on the west coast to buy prints. (503-224-8182)
8 Blackfish Gallery
Focusing on contemporary artwork, this professional gallery cooperative is artist-owned and operated. It's been going strong for over 25 years and prides itself on the innovative and thoughtful works it carries. The artist in the co-op are some of the finest arts instructors in Portland, teaching in public schools, and community and private colleges, and through a variety of other arts organizations. The artists selecting pieces regularly change exhibits and strive to appeal to a wide array of viewers. They host a variety of art shows here. The front rooms are often displayed in themes making it fun and easy to admire. Admission is free and at least one of the artists that own it is always present. Kids are allowed in this art gallery. (503-224-2634)
7 PDX Contemporary Art
An ideal stop for both modern art enthusiasts and historic architecture buffs, PDX Contemporary Art houses a standout collection within one of the Pearl District's oldest buildings. Discerning owner Jane Beebe has chosen artists whose works are "both intellectually and visually satisfying," and the result is a gallery that pleases critics and casual followers alike. Represented artists include emerging and distinguished names such as Amjad Faur, Cynthia Lahti, Elizabeth Knight and Jacques Flechemuller. Many artists are shown here before being shown in NYC. The gallery specializes in quiet, minimal work from Portland artists, American artists, and international artists. Pieces shown here typically range in price anywhere from $300 up to $5,000. (503-222-0063)
6 Quintana Gallery
Quintana Galleries in the Pearl District features a collection of Native American art, including antique and contemporary art work. They have jewelry, bead work, textiles,totem poles, masks, cedar carvings, antique baskets, contemporary sculptures, fine art, and affordable prints. Quintana Gallery works with highly trained artists and self taught artists, all of which are unique and make impeccable art. Quintana Gallery maintains excellent relationships with their artists and the artists families, which means you will see items here rarely or never found at other indigenous galleries. Their website stays up to date on their collections. If you are looking for something specific their website is a great place to start. (503-223-1729, 800-321-1729)
5 Shaffer Fine Art Gallery
This gallery's dark flooring, muted brown walls and artful lighting create the perfect venue for showcasing art, allowing each work to pop and affording the optimal viewing environment. A downtown Portland must, located one block from the Saturday Market, Shaffer Fine Art Gallery is home to stunning works by notable contemporary artists, including Henry Asencio, Michael Flohr, Aimee Erickson and Charlie White. Visit on the first Thursday of the month for receptions honoring featured artists. Visit their website to find out when they are hosting special events like meeting the artists. Although they are closed on Sunday and Mondays they will meet with you by appointment. (503-295-4979, 887-844-3447)
4 Laura Russo Gallery
The Laura Russo Gallery established in 1986, highlights the works of regional artists, both newcomers and established notables, focusing on art in the Pacific Northwest. Works span different media, including painting, sculpture, works on paper and prints. Regularly changing exhibits, including a monthly exhibit and group shows provide for intrigue and variety. The estate collections of some of the region's most renowned early artists are also available at the gallery. Admission to the gallery is free and their staff is incredibly helpful. If there is a certain piece of art you want to see that is not currently displayed, the chances are high they will bring it out for you to see. Their website offers extensive details on current exhibits and upcoming exhibits. (503-226-2754, 800-925-7152)
3 Blue Sky Gallery
Blue Sky features the photography of mostly unknown and emerging artists in addition to the works of world renown artists. Originally established in 1975 as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, Blue Sky is now one of the area's most noted galleries. Blue Sky presents between 20 and 30 exhibitions annually, maintains a public research library, It's a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about photography. The gallery holds 24 shows per year, including works by local, national and international artists. They often host programs and artists talks, all of which are free to the public. (503-225-0210)
2 Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Elizabeth Leach Gallery offers Portland's most comprehensive selection of contemporary fine art and it is recognized as one of the few galleries in Portland where large-scale sculpture can adequately be exhibited. The 4,000 square foot space in the Pearl District designed by Randy Higgens, complete with beamed ceilings and white walls, offers dramatic background to the contemporary artwork. Specializing in prominent artists from the Pacific Northwest and nationally recognized artists, Elizabeth Leach offers paintings, photography, sculpture, works on paper and mixed media. The group of artists represented at this gallery covers a range of styles. Most artists represented are mid career with solid resumes. Check their website for information on current and upcoming exhibits. (503-224-0521)
1 Butters Gallery, Ltd.
Butters Gallery an Oregon family owned gallery features a large assortment of contemporary artwork, paintings, sculptures, glass and mixed media art by regional, national & international artists. Each month Butters Gallery presents one person and group exhibitions of work by nationally known artists who have garnered the attention of writers, critics, curators and collectors across the US. Butters Gallery exhibitions have been reviewed in publications like The New York Times, Art in America, Art News, Sculpture Magazine, Glass Magazine, and American Craft. Butters Gallery has been part of the Portland art scene for over 20 years and is proud to help it grow. (503-248-9378, 800-544-9171)
About Meagan Shamy
Meagan Shamy is an Oregon resident by choice and thinks Portland is a tremendous city that everyone should visit. Originally a Texas girl. She has lived all around the United States, compliments of the US Air Force. After living in Texas, Mississippi, Oregon, Idaho, Florida, and Nevada, she chose to return to Portland, OR and make it home. Meagan graduated with a History and English degree from the University of Texas. Being a military wife has led her on adventures around the world, including two of her favorite places Honduras and Scotland. Her work can be found on several websites including 10Best.com and TravelingMom.com.
Read more about Meagan Shamy here.