Portland in Oregon is famous for its creative outlook and being a place that truly embraces everything artistic from local street art and public sculptures to critically acclaimed masterpieces. The hub of the artistic community is the Pearl District but other galleries are dotted throughout the city. From contemporary to historic fine art, here are the best art galleries to explore in Portland, Oregon…
1. Portland Art Museum – the most famous and popular art museum in the city
The Portland Art Museum is at the top of our list of the best art galleries in Portland. Did you know that this was the first museum to be founded in Portland, Oregon in 1892? The first collection the museum acquired was the Henry Corbett collection of 100 plaster casts of sculptures from Roman and Greek culture. Besides this collection, there are over 42,000 museum pieces ranging from ancient history to now.
Two historic buildings at the museum include the Mark Building, which was originally Masonic Temple built in 1925, and the Belluschi Building, which was built later in the 1930s. An astounding subterranean gallery is a connecting point between both buildings for a more enriched historical experience.
- Address: 1219 SW Park Avenue Portland, OR 97205, United States
- Portland Art Museum Website
2. Blue Sky Gallery – a non-profit exhibition space for contemporary photography in Portland
Blue Sky Gallery originated in 1975 under its original name, Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts. The museum started with 5 up-and-coming photographers who were responsible for the museum’s original collection.
Located in the historic 3,700-square-foot DeSoto Building, Blue Sky’s mission is to showcase photographers’ work in the form of dialogue, exhibitions, and showcases in the museum so the featured artists’ careers can soar. Every year, 20-25 exhibitions are shown featuring the work of different photographers who are accepted into the museum’s exhibitions.
Blue Sky’s public research library and artist programs and events are free for the public to access.
- Address: 122 NW 8th Avenue, Portland OR, 97209, United States
- Blue Sky Gallery Website
3. Bullseye Gallery
Bullseye Gallery is one of the best art galleries in Portland that showcases glass art to its patrons. It’s now known as Bullseye Projects.
Since 1974, the gallery has worked with local artists to produce and showcase contemporary kiln-glass art. Bullseye Projects has become the main influencer of art glass that’s included in architecture and art itself.
If you are interested, you can sign up for a kilnforming class to get more in touch with glass making and appreciate its art.
- Address: 3610 SE 21st Avenue Portland, OR, 97202, United States
- Bullseye Gallery Website
4. Charles A. Hartman Fine Art
Charles A. Hartman Fine Art was founded in 1996 by Charles Hartman, hence the museum has become his namesake. As the director of the museum, he highlights artworks from international and regional authors for the general public to enjoy. The works of 17 artists are mainly represented at the museum along with another 28 artists that have selected works displayed off and on.
Be mindful if you wish to visit Charles A. Hartman Fine Art that the museum is open Thursdays through Saturdays and you must make an appointment (open from 11 AM to 5 PM) to see the displayed art.
- Address: 134 NW 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, United States
- Charles A. Hartman Fine Art Website
5. Elizabeth Leach Gallery
The Elizabeth Leach Gallery originated in 1981 and features artists mainly from the Northwest, but the gallery also highlights international artists’ work, too. These artists showcase a plethora of contemporary media. You can preview the viewing room on their website before planning your visit. When you’re not at the museum, you can check out the online events featuring some of the gallery’s artists.
The gallery is a member of the Art Dealers Association of American (ADAA), which is a non-profit organization of the top art galleries throughout the country.
- Address: 417 NW 9th Avenue Portland, OR 97209, United States
- Elizabeth Leach Gallery Website
6. Gallery 114 – one of the best art galleries in the Pearl District
Gallery 114 was founded in 1990 and wanted its artistic members to have ultimate freedom in creating their art, which is a unique feature of their commercial art gallery cousins. This gallery is another one of the best art galleries in Portland to be located in the Pearl District and showcases a variety of video art and 2D and 3D creations. They maintain a commitment to diversity so a plethora of art is displayed from different cultures, races, and religions.
The work of 14 main artists represents Gallery 114. However, you can apply to become a new artist at the gallery by following the directions on the “Apply” page of the website.
- Address: 1100 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
- Gallery 114 Website
7. Russo Lee Gallery – a popular gallery that features exhibitions by established and upcoming Northwest artists
Laura Russo founded Russo Lee Gallery in 1986 and it’s been at the same location for 30 years. Martha Lee now heads the gallery.
Pacific Northwest regional artists from Oregon and Washington are highlighted in the gallery and a national and international audience is maintained featuring contemporary art on their website and in-person. They have welcomed a variety of artistic pieces from the 1980s until the present day to keep art fresh and inviting for its guests.
A total of 44 artists represent the main works in the gallery. 10 artists have estates inside the gallery. Other works are available by 3 other artists.
- Address: 805 NW 21st Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209, United States
- Russo Lee Gallery Website
8. Froelick Gallery – offering some of the best contemporary art in Portland
Froelick Gallery showcases a diverse range of contemporary art from artists in the United States (primarily in the Pacific Northwest region) and Tokyo. The gallery originally opened in 1995 in Downtown Portland. In 2007, the gallery relocated to the historic DeSoto Building which is between the Pearl District and Old Town.
30 main artists have their contemporary art showcased at Froelick Gallery. Take a look at the past publications and exhibition catalogs to get an idea of the featured artists’ styles.
- Address: 714 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
- Froelick Gallery Website
9. Alberta Street Gallery – one of the best art galleries in Portland
Visit Alberta Street Gallery to enjoy contemporary art in a variety of mediums including paintings, metalwork, fiber, glass, photography, sculptures, and ceramics. Located in the Historic Alberta Arts District, it originated in 2004 because of Saturday Market artists that wanted their art showcased for more than one day every week.
Hence, the 6 Days Gallery was created and had longer hours than the Saturday Market. In 2018, Alberta Street Gallery relocated to a larger location at their current address to expand the number of artists they can accommodate in their gallery.
- Address: 1829 NE Alberta St Unit B, Portland, OR 97211, United States
- Alberta Street Gallery Website
10. Upfor Gallery – a contemporary/modern art gallery
Upfor Gallery is a newer art gallery that originated in 2013. Artists that challenged artistic and cultural norms in the art world are the main ones featured. They showcased 80 exhibitions of their featured artists’ works throughout the last 6 years.
While their Portland exhibition area is temporarily closed to work on consulting services for other clients in 2020, you can still view their past exhibitions in the form of images on their “Archive” page. You can also keep up with current events from Upfor Gallery by visiting their Instagram page.
- Address: 929 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209
- Upfor Gallery Website
11. PDX Contemporary Art – one of the Pearl District’s most forward-thinking commercial galleries
Jane Beebe is the Owner and Director of PDX Contemporary Art. Originating in 1996, this gallery was considered one of the most “forward-thinking” galleries amongst the best art galleries in Portland.
Their mission is to honor the art of indigenous individuals where their ancestral lands and homes are exhibited in the gallery. There are over 40 artists’ works represented at the PDX Contemporary Art gallery along with 17 associated artists and many more invited artists for past exhibitions.
- Address: 925 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
- PDX Contemporary Art Website
12. Oregon Jewish Museum – home to an important exhibition of art and artifacts of Jews and Judaism in Oregon
If you are interested in learning more about Holocaust education, visit the Oregon Jewish Museum. Three main exhibitions make up the key components of the museum including, Discrimination and Resistance, An Oregon Primer, The Holocaust, An Oregon Perspective and Oregon Jewish Stories.
Discrimination and Resistance highlight how Jewish people in Oregon were discriminated against at the time of the Holocaust. The Holocaust exhibit displays the stories of Oregon Jewish natives who survived the Holocaust. Oregon Jewish Stories shows the current perspective of how Oregon Jewish natives live.
- Address: 724 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
- Oregon Jewish Museum Website
13. HOLDING Contemporary – presents exhibitions and programs by visual artists across disciplines
HOLDING Contemporary Museum features art via visual artists that cover a variety of disciplines. Over 20 artists have their works featured in the HOLDING Contemporary museum.
Iris Williamson and John Knight began the Williamson | Knight gallery in 2016 in the Portland Arts District, The gallery was eventually renamed HOLDING Contemporary. Their current location currently occupies unceded lands from different indigenous groups such as the Chinook, Cowlitz, Clackamas, and more. This adds more of a historical aspect to the contemporary museum itself because of this fact.
- Address: 916 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
- HOLDING Contemporary Website
14. Guardino Gallery – exhibits visual artists across disciplines in Alberta Art’s District
Guardino Gallery has the most artists’ works featured at 118 total artists on our ranked list. Located in Northeast Portland, you will be pleased with the visual appeal of the contemporary art exhibited at Guardino Gallery. After you enjoy this viewing pleasure, you can purchase contemporary crafts as a keepsake of your experience at Guardino Gallery.
Guardino Gallery features an Art Walk on the last Thursday of every month from 6 pm to 9 pm. This has been a tradition since the gallery originated in 1997. You can talk to the artists, view their work, and enjoy refreshments. Check out upcoming events by going to the “Show Schedule” page.
- Address: 2939 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, United States
- Guardino Gallery Website
15. Lawrence Gallery – a popular art gallery located an hour away from Portland
Lawrence Gallery has been displaying traditional and contemporary Northwestern American artists since they opened in 1977. To remember your experience at Lawrence Experience, there are consignments available for sale up to 80% off their original value.
There are artworks featured via 93 artists, making this one of the best art galleries in Portland for the large number of artists’ work featured in a gallery.
Lawrence Gallery is temporarily closed as they move from their old location to a new location with the address 540 N. State Street, Lake Oswego OR. All of the art showcased in their gallery is also featured on their website for you to enjoy as you wait for them to relocate to their new address.
- Address: 19700 OR-18, McMinnville, OR 97128
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Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. In between adventures she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele.