This guide is currently inactive Jeff Jahn

Portland art scene tour

The Wild West is still alive and well here in Portland. Cowboys and gold-diggers have been replaced with rockstars and artists, but in my opinion the constant movement of people in and out of the city still gives it an edge. Who knew the west was still alive and kickin'?


Jeff Jahn - Image by Sarah Henderson

With: Jeff Jahn

Let me introduce myself. I'm Jeff Jahn, your guide in Portland. I've been a curator, artist, publisher of online visual art and design criticism with my base in Portland, Oregon. I am an active participant in many of the recent changes in Portland's cultural scene. In 2005 I co-launched the noted and innovative art macro-blog PORT. PORT is dedicated to catalysing critical discussion and disseminating information about art as seen through the lens of Portland, Oregon. Last but not least, I'm only one degree of separation from everything else in Portland…So what would I recommend you in Portland?

Forget about jet lag, forget about relaxing and hurry over to the 8/20 club to meet me. Oh by the way; if it's a Wednesday you're in luck! It's happy hour all day long at the 8/20 and they serve great drinks!

First go to the Everett Station Lofts building. Founded in 1989, the Lofts have been a key player in supporting the local art scene. With 47 working and living units for artists and no less than 16 artist-run galleries, you have your work cut out for you today. This really is the networking zone in town, so make the most of it and get to know everybody you possibly can (best to see this spot on First Thursday of every month when all of the galleries are open but Saturdays also have regular gallery hours).

Pay a visit to two brash young art galleries in Portland: Fontanelle and Fourteen30 Contemporary. Fontanelle aims to be a rendezvous point for Portland's creative community while at the same time connecting it to a like-minded audience. Fourteen30 is owned by Jeanine Jablonski and is looking to make the connection between serious art collectors and young, emerging artists on the scene. The gallery also has a bookshop that sells experimental and innovative, but lesser known, art magazines, zines and books. Oh, and be sure to get proper directions to Fourteen30; it's nearly under the Hawthorne Bridge ...

To the rescue
I'll introduce my friend Ruth Ann Brown at the New American Art Union (NAAU); a contemporary art space that she opened in 2004. Next to representing upcoming artists from the fields of fine art and new media, and stimulating interdisciplinary dialogue, NAAU initiated a brave program that funds difficult art projects that may not have taken place otherwise. Chatting with this local dealer is a great opportunity to dive deeper into the scene! In the evening, check out Vendetta, an outdoor bar known for it's artistic clientele. Or if you want to stay in the neighborhood just around the corner from NAAU is the Doug Fir lounge and music venue.

Rock on!

Meet artist, publisher and curator Patrick Rock. This native-born Oregonian is a multidisciplinary artist, working with sculpture, new media, installation, etc. Situated in North Portland, this fascinating guy is running Rocksbox Fine Art. Rockbox is both an independent exhibition space and a short-term artist in residency program. This is the spot you two meet for a chat. Try to stay on your best behaviour and remember that for your next trip to Portland you might want that spot in the residency program.

Back door
Participate in what is known as the back room. Basically, it's a group of artists, art professionals and intellectuals occasionally get together for art talks and presentations. To make this event an even more pleasant experience, food, drinks and music will be served in more than sufficient quantities. The back room was founded in 2004 by Matthew Stadler, he gets some help from Stephanie Snyder, the curator from the Cooley Gallery at Reed College as well.

Take the day to relax, take a hike in Forrest Park or the Japanese Garden, enjoy the beautiful surroundings and rethink your experiences.

Never gawk at celebs, nobody cares here
Dont't go to Starbucks while in Portland or admit going to Starbucks, unless that is your only coffee option... which in Portland is never the case
Do not drive a Hummer

Don't go there because that's what tourists do
Rose Garden
Aerial Tram to OHSU
Saturday Market
Powell's Books (still go; it's awesome and the soul of the city)

Getting around
Walking (free and easy)
Train (max $2.50)
Streetcar ($2.50)
Bus ($2.50)
Bikes (free or rental $50)

Portland is full of restaurants.
Really nice and arty: Bluehour, Park Kitchen and clarklewis
Less pricey: The Screendoor, The Delta, La Bonita, New Old Lompoc and Ken's Artisan Bakery, for coffee shops try Stumptown, Anna Bannanas and The Fresh Pot and Coffee House Five