If you’re looking for a thriving art scene, Portland State delivers. From on-campus organizations and events, to a city bursting with creative energy, you’re sure to be artistically stimulated and satisfied.
Start with the College of the Arts’ School of Art + Design, which has galleries all over campus, two of which, the Sugar Cube Gallery on Southwest Fifth Avenue and the Garage Projects on Lovejoy Court, are viewable from the sidewalk.
The Littman + White Gallery is another favorite at the heart of the Smith Memorial Student Union on the second floor. It’s a completely student-run exhibition space that features conceptually and visually challenging contemporary art. They display work by emerging and mid-career artists in order to present new art trends that fit with their goal of creating educational and timely exhibitions.
Then there’s the School of Theater + Film, which provides ample opportunities for students to participate in theater, dance and film productions, some of which are also completely student-run. In fact, the Fifth Avenue Cinema is Oregon’s only student-run movie theater. They show a constantly changing program of new and old films in 35 mm. Admission is always free for students, as is the popcorn!
If there isn’t a student production going on, chances are something else is sure to entertain at the Lincoln Performance Hall, which is one of the busiest venues in Portland and hosts over 200 events each year. And one of the best advantages of being a PSU student is its partnerships and connections to art in the greater Portland community.
Explore Downtown Art
The Portland Art Museum is just a five minute walk down the Park Blocks, with rotating exhibitions featuring ancient to modern art. The NW Film Center also plays movies in their downstairs theater. PAM offers discounted tickets for students and free admission on the first Thursday of every month, as do most of the art galleries in town who participate in the popular First Thursday Gallery Walk in the Pearl District. Check out the comprehensive list and map of spaces online and make a night of it!
And that’s just scratching the surface. Portland Center Stage is a fantastic theater company that performs in the very cool Gerding Theater at the Armory. Portland’s Center for the Arts brings talent from all over the country into their five theaters. Literary Arts hosts readings and brings best-selling authors to town as part of their Portland Arts & Lectures series. They also organize the biggest literary event of the year: Wordstock.
Get involved and DIY
Portland has it all—traditional outlets as well as alternative spaces. You can even download an app on your phone, Public Art PDX, that will lead you to all the art on display around the city. But perhaps what it’s best known for is a thriving do-it-yourself arts culture. If you feel like getting crafty, check out Crafty Wonderland, Portland’s Art + Craft Extravaganza. If you want to get your hands dirty, visit ADX, Portland’s maker space where you can share tools, knowledge and space with other artists in order to create your own stuff.
Finally, don’t forget about all the clubs and campus organizations available to you. The Student Activities & Leadership Program has a club directory online, or you can attend their fun Party in the Park on September 29, where you can peruse the various organizations that PSU has to offer.