Nine art galleries and 1 museum closed in Portland in 2016.
In response to this news, arts writer and arts activist Jennifer Rabin (Willamette Week, Oregon ArtsWatch, Visual Art Source, Hyperallergic) founded Art Passport PDX, a free public program to get people engaged in the visual arts and to give them a chance to win $1600 to spend at the galleries.
In asking members of the community what was keeping them from going to see art, she heard things that surprised her: people didn’t think they should walk into a gallery unless they were prepared to buy something, they didn’t think they knew enough about art to be able to ask the “right” questions, they feared being looked down upon because they didn’t have a lot of money.
Rabin handpicked eight local galleries—from blue chips to nonprofits—that she knew would welcome newcomers with open arms, answer questions, and share what they love about art.
To participate, members of the community collect stamps from the eight galleries to fill their art passports (available at the launch party or the galleries). The only requisite is a curiosity about art and a willingness to ask questions.
Once everyone hands in their completed passports, we will select one participant to receive a $1600 credit, which can be used to purchase art at any of the participating galleries. (Runners up will receive lots of artsy prizes including memberships to the Portland Art Museum, gift certificates, and art catalogs.)
In addition to demystifying the white-box gallery world, one of the goals of the program is to nurture a new generation of art collectors. We are spreading the word that most galleries accept payment plans, which means that it's possible to purchase one-of-a-kind art for small monthly payments. Each gallery’s specific payment plan is included in the passport book and many of the galleries have put together collections of works ranging from $200-$1000 for first-time collectors to peruse while they’re visiting.
For media inquiries please contact jr [at] jenniferrabin.com
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