Portland’s Pearl District, once a desolate collection of neglected warehouses and railways, is now the very picture of creative community restoration.
Once lined with neglected warehouses, Portland’s Pearl District is now a cultural destination
Today, it is a hub for art, fashion, and food. With block after block of indie boutiques, craft breweries, and world-class galleries, the Pearl District is a can’t-miss destination.
If you’re looking for a good excuse to visit the Pearl District, here are five great reasons that promise to give you a healthy dose of Portland’s thriving art scene.
PDX Contemporary Art
PDX Contemporary Art has featured exhibits and exclusive shows for over two decades. With an ever-changing mix of local and visiting artists, the gallery brings art to the people through its unique “PDX Window Project,” which makes portions of exhibits viewable from the street.
The gallery, located in one of the oldest buildings in the Pearl District, is a work of art by itself. The combination of contemporary styling with the natural light and historic character of the building is meant to “reflect Portland’s philosophy of recognizing the past, living in the present, and looking to the future.”
The Lumber Room
The Lumber Room is one of the Pearl District’s best-kept secrets. Nearly undetectable from the street, the building’s plain exterior lacks the name of its owner (Sarah Miller Meigs). The space, next door to the Elizabeth Leach Gallery on Northwest Ninth Avenue, is intentionally incognito.
Meigs created the gallery as a temporary home for visiting arts. Likewise, as a place where art lovers could hear lectures from cultural figures and collectors. In addition, she uses the space to showcase her impressive collection of contemporary art.
Set to reopen to the public in March 2020, this Pearl District gem promises “a new show and a new program of film, music, performances, and events.”
Less than a decade old, the Upfor Gallery has distinguished itself as a launchpad for early to mid-career artists whose work “examines and challenges cultural and artistic orthodoxies.”
The Pearl District gallery features eight major exhibits each year and participates in a variety of national and international art fairs.
Upcoming exhibits include work from painter Julie Green. Green focuses on social justice and the exploration of human memory and loss. The gallery is a partner of Oregon College of Art and Craft, showcasing the work of MFA candidates.
Lovers of local art and craft goods love MadeHere. It features dozens of local artisans and their products, set in a unique gallery format.
The Pearl District boasts the first MadeHere location. It opened in November of 2014. The vendor community now has more than 250 people. Moreover, the makers specialize in crafted jewelry, food, clothing, and more.
MadeHere partners with creatives from Portland and the Pacific Northwest who focus on high-quality and design-savvy goods. In short, as MadeHere’s tag line says, “From soap and sea salt, to skis and surfboards, we have something for everyone.”
Food is an art form, and Andina is a master at its craft. When Peter Platt opened the Pearl District location in 2003, he brought the tastes and traditions of Peru that have inspired by his family. Subsequently, it’s become a favorite of Portland foodies.
Drawing its inspiration from Peru, Andina creates a menu that “honors and celebrates the hospitality, history, and culture of the Andes.” Furthermore, they connect each dish they create with an authentic glimpse into Peruvian life.