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Portland, Oregon

Portland: Art Museums

by Tamara Muldoon, Portland Visual Arts blogger

The only down side to exploring art in Portland, Oregon is having to choose between so many options. You can’t go wrong with the Portland Art Museum, whose permanent collections include American, Asian and European art, photography and graphic arts, and an outstanding display of Native American artifacts. And you can count on them to have world-class special exhibitions throughout the year.

Be advised, however, that you don’t have to visit a museum to see art in Portland.  Both the City of Portland and Multnomah County are governed by the “Percent-for-Art” program, which requires 2 percent of the budget for publicly funded construction projects to go toward permanent art installations. Thanks to this program, there is art on the streets throughout the downtown area and inside many publicly owned buildings, including City Hall, the Federal Courthouse, Central Library, Oregon Convention Center and even at the Justice Center— the city jail.

Portland has several outstanding accredited art and design schools, including the Pacific Northwest College of Art , Oregon College of Art & Crafts and the Art Institute of Portland, each of which has display galleries and public outreach programs. Artists find a ready market for their work among the multitude of commercial galleries and retail stores featuring local artworks, or you can buy it directly from the artist at the Portland Saturday Market .

The Portland Art Dealers Association just celebrated 25 years of their First Thursday events where downtown galleries stay open late to host the public. First Thursday has evolved into a vibrant scene with impromptu street artists and music creating a lively, thought-provoking way to spend an evening. More recently, a similar First Friday event was started among art galleries on Portland’s east side. You don’t have to go looking for art in Portland; in Portland, art is everywhere you look.

Portland Art Museums: Art Museums Around Portland

Below are our Portland Art Museum recommendations, with information on location, admission, transportation/parking, museum history and other points of interest in Portland Art.

Museum of Contemporary Craft

Founded in 1937 and currently in partnership with the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland’s MoCC is focused on the history of and current developments in craft, as well as investigating its changing definition in relation to contemporary culture.  The Museum’s Exhibition Galleries include 4500 square feet of space devoted to representing major national and international artists of today, and exhibiting work from the MoCC collection of objects, which illustrate …more…

Portland Art Museum (The PAM)

Located in the heart of Portland’s cultural district on the Park Blocks, Portland Art Museum (PAM) offers 112,000 square feet of exhibition space containing its collection of more than 42,000 diverse art objects for all interests. Founded in 1892, the PAM is the oldest museum on the West Coast and the seventh oldest in the United States. In addition to American Art, Asian Art, Photography, and Contemporary and Modern Art, the permanent collection also includes extensive collections unique to its location and history: Native American Art, Northwest Art, and Silver. ...more...