Portland Open Studios – An Art Event Not to Miss  

Karen Spencer at work
Karen Sunday Spencer

Portland Open Studios is thrilled to announce the list of over a dozen artists in NE Portland who will be opening their doors this October as part of the Portland Open Studios Tour, the city’s largest annual art studio tour held in the second and third weekends of October. This group is part of a larger group of 106 artists in communities across the city who will participate in the event.

One of our neighborhood artists is Eliot resident Karen Spencer, who uses fabric, thread, and sometimes paint and other media to express the world around her. She creates her own fabric to be used later in her art by dyeing or printing it using various methods. During the open studio event, she will show works in various stages so visitors can learn about the complex and unique process of creating her quilt-like wall works. There will also be an on-site hands on makers space to try out fabric collage. Spencer walks from NW Portland across the Broadway Bridge daily to her studio and finds that the view changes daily and it puts her in a perfect mind frame to create art.

Other NE Portland artists who will open their studios to the public this fall include mixed media artist Maude May, wood sculptor Hilary Pfeifer, printmaker Shannon Buck, glass artist Kurumi Conley, paper cut artist David Friedman, peppermill maker Jonathan Glowacki, and painters Scott Conary, Tess Donohoe, Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley, Mike Southern, Samyak Yamauchi, Justin Auld and William Park.

Of this year’s open studio group, 72 are returning artists (or 68%) and 34 are new artists (32%). Candidates are scored via blind curation by a jury panel that rotates each year, including one professional artist, one artist educator, and one gallerist. This year’s jury panel included painter Jill McVarish; Jiseon Lee Isbara, a textile artist, professor and current Dean of Academic Affairs at Oregon College of Art and Craft; and Caitlin Moore, curator at PDX Contemporary Gallery.

Artists are organized into neighborhoods, with one artist designated as a community leader to serve as point person for their community. This year, there are eight communities, including West Linn/Oregon City, Lake Oswego, Far West- Beaverton, Forest Park; Downtown/Pearl; North Portland/St. Johns; Northeast Portland; Southeast Portland, and Sellwood/Milwaukie.

This is the 19th year that Portland Open Studios has organized one of Portland’s largest scale juried art events. Each fall, the selected artists open their studios to the public on the designated weekends between 10am and 5pm to showcase not only their work, but also their working process. The event is free to the public with a free smartphone app that visitors can download in the weeks before the event showing addresses and maps of all the participating artists.

As a non-profit, we directly support the event by printing a collectible Tour Guide. The Tour Guide provides images and information on all the participating artists, as well as information about other art related businesses, schools and workshops, and art-loving restaurants in areas where many open studios are concentrated. The $15 guide is available online, and at many local businesses including New Seasons Markets and the Portland Art Museum. To see the complete list of participating artists and find out where to get a directory, please visit our website.

What: Portland Open Studios
When: October 14-15 and 21-22, 10AM-5PM
Where: 106 studios all over Portland, including 14 artists in NE Portland

By Hilary Pfeifer