5 Vibrant Arts Organizations In Portland

From painting and sculpture to theatre and dance, the arts are an important part of any culture. And in a creative city like Portland, there's plenty of great art to see. Whether you live in the Pacific Northwest or are planning a visit there soon, be sure to check out the five vibrant organizations listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Portland Organizations Dedicated To The Arts

Organization Mission
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center Build ambitious programs that promote artists and engage communities
Artists Repertory Theatre Produce intimate, provocative theatre and provide a home for artists and audiences to take creative risks
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art Acknowledge and advance new developments in contemporary art while fostering the creative explorations of artists and audiences
Yale Union Support artists, propose new modes of production, and stimulate the ongoing public discourse around art
Western Arts Alliance Promote and present performing arts throughout the western states and provinces

8 Great Films About The Arts

  1. I, Don Giovanni (2009)
  2. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
  3. Frida (2002)
  4. All About Eve (1950)
  5. Birdman (2014)
  6. Basquiat (1996)
  7. Surviving Picasso (1996)
  8. Amadeus (1984)

Tips For Being More Creative

  • Ask questions
  • Learn more about any topic you find interesting
  • Bring a sketch pad with you when you go out
  • Make time to play, no matter how old you get
  • Keep a journal
  • Don't be afraid to take risks
  • Carry a camera with you
  • Do something creative every day, even if it's small

Who Decides What Art Means?

In Depth

With incredible public parks, tasty street food, and abundant recreational opportunities, Portland, Oregon is a place full of diverse pleasures. It's also a great city for art, with many different groups contributing to a lively, aesthetically vibrant cultural scene. Offering bold exhibits, programs, and events, the ones included on this list do their part to keep the city artistically thriving. Spanning museums and educational organizations, here are, in no particular order, five notable nonprofits that provide creative enrichment to Portland and its residents.

At #1 is Disjecta Contemporary Art Center. Featuring dynamic programs designed to stimulate ideas and inspire collaboration, Disjecta is dedicated to promoting challenging, forward-thinking work in the visual and performing arts. Through various innovative exhibitions and community events, it encourages introspection, creative risk-taking, and the exchange of new ideas among viewers and makers alike. As part of its primary mission, the center commits itself to advancing cultural equity by advocating for those who have been underrepresented in the arts.

Central to Disjecta's programming is its Portland Biennial, a comprehensive survey of Oregon creators who are shaping the state's contemporary arts culture. Also significant is the Curator in Residence program, which invites curators from around the country to organize themed exhibitions of domestic and international works. Culinaria, meanwhile, is a unique community event that combines art with food and drink. The center also offers inexpensive residency spaces for other cultural organizations, with which it partners to host talks, performances, and workshops. Assist with staffing, installation, and more by becoming a volunteer or intern.

Also significant is the Curator in Residence program, which invites curators from around the country to organize themed exhibitions of domestic and international works.

For #2 we have Artists Repertory Theatre. The longest-running professional theatre company in the city, this nonprofit aims to produce thought-provoking shows and provide an enriching environment where local artists can nurture their creativity. Significantly contributing to this are its resident artists, a diverse group of renowned theatre-makers from across the nation who create inventive productions and help drive the organization's community and educational programming. Working with the residents, the company offers a rich catalog of plays, classes, workshops, and services.

Among Artists Rep's notable programs is Table Room Stage, which provides professional development and creative opportunities to diverse, underrepresented local and national playwrights. ArtsHub, meanwhile, gives creators and cultural organizations access to low-cost rehearsal and performance spaces, as well as support services. The company's many educational offerings, such as customized lessons, professional-level classes, and a student ambassador program, work to further cultivate the public's engagement with theatre. To support the continued welfare of the performing arts, make a donation online to the group's annual fund.

Arriving at #3 is Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Founded in 1995, PICA seeks to champion wide-ranging creative perspectives and promote advances in the contemporary art world. Fueled by a progressive, cross-disciplinary vision, its adventurous programming supports the work of some of the most provocative and forward-thinking creators around the globe. Presenting everything from exhibitions to performances and lectures, as well as an annual festival devoted to multimedia, time-based work, the institute strives to galvanize productive conversations about modern culture.

Fueled by a progressive, cross-disciplinary vision, its adventurous programming supports the work of some of the most provocative and forward-thinking creators around the globe.

Dissolving barriers between disciplines, PICA's visual art program encompasses painting, sculpture, film, and hybrid productions. Equally experimental in sensibility are its performance events, which bring global dance, music, and theater to an array of venues such as streets, warehouses, and offices. To facilitate new work, the institute makes commissions and provides intensive residencies that give artists the space to push their creative boundaries. It also offers a host of educational activities such as workshops, conversations, tours, and screenings. Help keep contemporary art accessible by becoming a PICA member, and get discounts and other benefits.

For #4 we get Yale Union, which is located in Southeast Portland. Housed in a historic brick laundry building that has been repurposed into a contemporary art center, Y.U. operates to support emerging creators, proffer new modes of production, and spur discourse around the arts. With facilities such as a wood shop, a recording studio, and a screening room, the organization provides opportunities for incipient and under-recognized artists to create and showcase their work at exhibitions and events.

In addition to spaces devoted to artistic programming, Y.U. features other resources and facilities that aid community members and local creators. Among these are its print shop, which contains multiple models of old presses, and is used for printing the union's own materials as well as requested external projects. There's also a kitchen designed for community gatherings, and areas that are used to host programs and events with partner organizations. Consider renting your own space for a private event, and the proceeds will go to supporting Y.U.'s operations and building maintenance.

Among these are its print shop, which contains multiple models of old presses, and is used for printing the union's own materials as well as requested external projects.

Finally, landing at #5 is Western Arts Alliance. A membership association of performing arts professionals, W.A.A. is committed to presenting and promoting the arts throughout the Western United States. Integral to its history and mission is its annual conference, which brings together creators, managers, and agents for four days of networking, exhibits, workshops, and performances. The event is designed to connect people working in the field, foster strong professional relationships, and provide a constructive forum for discussing and developing new ideas.

On top of its conference, W.A.A. offers a number of programs that provide training and education to career professionals. The Advancing Indigenous Performance initiative is designed to build networks for Indigenous artists working in the United States. Performing Arts Discovery connects global programmers from around the Pacific Rim with members of the association. A biennial four-day retreat, the W.A.A. Institute gives participants of all ages opportunities to learn, have fun, and engage in dialogue about issues pertaining to the field. Contribute to the association's efforts by donating through its site.