The Best Art Galleries in Portland's Pearl District

Marcelina Morfin

Portland may be a foodie’s paradise, but it is also an art lover’s haven. The heart of the art community can be found in the Pearl District where established galleries sit alongside newer art venues, all of which highlight an impressive array of contemporary art. From local artists to international talent, here are the best galleries to experience Portland, Oregon‘s art scene.

North Park Blocks

1. Blue Sky Gallery

Art Gallery

Established in 1975 as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, Blue Sky Gallery focuses on local, national, and international artists and the incredible scenes they capture with their cameras. Located within the historic DeSoto Building in a 3,700 square-foot space, visitors will find amazing art by both emerging and established talent. Each year the gallery hosts 20 to 30 exhibitions to educate the public, help further the careers of their artists, and open communication between viewers and artists. Current exhibitions highlight the work of Washington D.C.-based photographer Jared Soares whose current photos explore the hip-hop culture in Roanoke, Virginia, and Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu whose show focuses on New York City’s Puerto Rican women of Spanish Harlem and their families.

2. Froelick Gallery

Art Gallery, Building

Founded in 1995, Froelick Gallery seeks out contemporary artists who have ‘strong and independent views.’ Located in the DeSoto Building, the gallery represents a diverse group of regional, national, and international artists at varying stages of their careers and who work in a variety of media. On the first Thursday of each month, a new exhibition opens with a public reception to coincide with Portland’s monthly gallery walk. Artists and genres to be explored at Froelick include Laurie Danial, who creates abstract works, and sculptor Ronna Neuenschwander, whose works are inspired by her time in the USA and abroad in Mali, Africa.

3. J. Pepin Art Gallery

Art Gallery

J. Pepin Art Gallery
Courtesy of Upfor Gallery
Named after its proprietor, artist Jennifer Pepin, J. Pepin Art Gallery was created to give artists with mental illness a voice and venue for their work. Seeking to change the way people view mental illness and to end the stigma associated with it, the gallery gives artists a space to display beautiful works of art while sharing their stories of how mental illness played a role in their creative process. Some of the talented artists represented by the gallery include Evan Orlando who creates colorful woodcuts and metal works and painter Alexandra Peterson. The gallery also donates a portion of its proceeds to various organizations that help bring about awareness of mental illness.

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