Guest post from Alliance staffer Monica Johnson, Manager of Art & Exhibitions

I have to say, I had a great time in Portland. As a New Yorker, I found it wonderfully bizarre – great grilled cheese waffle sandwiches, hybrid karaoke nights everywhere, and under any and all circumstances pedestrians rule the streets. Seriously, cars will come to a screeching halt just to let you safely jaywalk. Amazing!

Also amazing, is the Art.Write.Now. Tour at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). The exhibition looks great in their space at 1241 NW Johnson Street. This has been one of the most spacious venues on our tour, which created a completely different feel from the previous venue in Chicago. This is one of the things I love about designing the Art.Write.Now exhibition – every venue has a different set of architectural and usage criteria, and for every stop on the tour, I get to see the artwork develop a new syntax.

Curator Mack McFarland and the whole crew at PNCA were so awesome to work with.  In New York, you don’t always expect excellence and friendliness to come in the same package, but it sure did in Portland.

I also had a chance to meet art affiliate and inspiring teacher, Shannon McBride, and visit her classroom at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego. I was impressed by the level of commitment that her students had to their individual practice.  Everyone was working. This may seem like a simple thing, but to be an artist is to be continually engaged with your process. Music blared as everyone focused on self portraits. I wish I had had a teacher like Shannon when I was in high school!

Art.Write.Now Portland will be on view daily from 10am-7pm through Friday, January 27. The incredible emerging artists, writers, and filmmakers that are featured in the tour were selected as the “best in the country” by top professionals in the visual and literary arts. Be sure to check it out!

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