For Artists

Artwork Credit: Hilary Pfeifer

Thank you for Applying!
2017 Application Closed



14/15 & 21/22

2017 Artist Timeline

February 26   Entry Fee increases to $40

March 3  Submission Deadline

April 1   Selection Notification to artists

April 12 – Community Leader Meeting

April 17 – General Artists Meeting 

June 19 – General Artist Meeting 

Tour Guides available for distribution.

September – Artists Kick Off Party 

Get your signs! Join us for food, drinks, and distribution.


14/15 & 21/22

What our Artists love about participating..

Good mix of new visitors and repeat visitors.

Visitors seemed genuinely interested in our work process, stayed for demos and signed up to get more info.

“My Community Leader arranged a tour of the artists studios in my community so we wouldn’t miss out on the experience a visitor gets.”

(Studio visits from other artists), “..insight & feedback – overall sense of community of those that participated was the nicest thing – helped me all over with ideas & feeling hopeful again.”

“Appreciated the opportunity to show my work along with other artists in my group at a couple of shows prior to the tour”

“Good publicity, people are looking at PDXOS artists for art opportunities”

Why should you apply?

We encourage all visual artists to apply every year.  As your work progresses, be sure to update your selection of images for the application.

Our jury changes annually allowing for new artists to emerge, and the agility to embrace modern trends.

Participating in Portland Open Studios amplifies your own marketing efforts.

We like to share on our social media channels. We help you build your social media audience by sharing your news and events with our followers.

We purchase advertising in print, radio and through other joint sponsorships. We promote our Tour Guide, the dates of the main event, and the festivals where our artists are attending.

We took away the requirement to volunteer for 8 hours.

Our Artist’s tell us they get a lot of value by investing their time with our organization. We are now rewarding our Artists for donating their time to work with us.  By working 4 or more hours with our Volunteer Coordinator, Artists are eligible to request a $50 refund.

What is “required” from the artist.

The gallery scene and art world in Portland is changing. Every. Day. To stay relevant, this organization requires infrastructure, technology skill sets and volunteers committed to our mission. It isn’t about what we require from you, it is about how engaged you are with your success. The engagement we expect from all artists will result in a stronger group ready to make an impact on the art scene.

Our artists are asked to attend 1 meeting, 1 workshop, and a party so they can be actively informed, successful in their career, and kick off the celebration of this annual event.

This organization only lives if there are artists willing to actively participate in generating excitement for the event. We are a mission driven organization built on bringing a community of 100+ artists together to represent the climate of Portland’s art scene. Please apply to share your commitment to a thriving art community.  Active engagement is expected.

Cost to Apply and Participate

  • Jury Fee – $30, raises to $40 after February 24
  • Participation Fee – $250 (collected upon acceptance)

More reasons to apply

We generate opportunities for group shows and other events that promote the annual event.

We look for additional ways to sell Tour Guides, and access new audiences for our artists.

Can’t afford a booth at a local event? Can’t spend an entire weekend at a festival? Hate having to pack a vehicle with inventory?

We apply to and sponsor local art festivals and need Artists willing to demonstrate their process, techniques, and interesting aspects of their chosen media. You get access to a new audience; the opportunity to talk to people specifically about your work. Cultivate your next fan, future collectors, and entice visitors to your studio during the Tour dates.

What can I expect in sales during the event?

During the event, sales results may vary by artist, day, location due to many different factors we at Portland Open Studios just can’t control. Our artist’s have shared these insights about other benefits for participating.

  • Opportunity for new commissions, custom work, and future sales.
  • “Visitors signed up for workshops & classes that I teach, and I add to my email lists.”
  • Meeting and networking with other artists at all levels in their career.
  • Some artists do not have a sales goal, they apply to increase their visibility and exposure.

What is Portland Open Studios marketing plan?

We amplify our artists marketing efforts. We make a serious effort to promote our event and every participating artist. Portland Open Studios pursues multi-channel media promotions, but we are not a replacement for your own marketing efforts. We provide opportunities to connect you to resources to create your own marketing strategy to use beyond our event. We want every artist to be successful in their career.

Here’s our strategy for 2017:

  • Look for our ads in Portland Mercury, Portland Monthly, and other publications
  • We’re in “At the Performance” – the Artslandia magazine delivered to audiences at musicals, plays, and events around town
  • Listen for commercials on KINK & OPB
  • Watch our Facebook page for regular updates and news
  • Subscribe to our newsletter to get notifications about relevant opportunities
  • We share your social media and blog posts to our audiences – send us your news
  • Attend the workshop to meet Jillian Pitre, Social Media Strategist, get tips to help your strategy
  • Look for fresh interviews with artists on our Blog
  • Educate and expand your audience
  • Create or deepen relationships with Visitors by demonstrating your methods and sharing your process
  • Have your artwork and contact information printed in Tour Guides*, which are distributed through the region
  • Have your artwork and contact information published in our iPhone and Android apps
  • Have your artwork published on our website and promoted on social media
  • Receive complimentary copies of the printed Tour Guides, and the use of studio signs.
  • Two free workshops providing tour information, professional tips, and the opportunity to connect with other artists
  • Announcements published in the PDXOS blog (from April 2016 until March 2017).
  • Opportunity to sell your work directly to the public
  • Coordinate self-promotion with PDXOS’ larger marketing efforts**

*The Tour Guide is a valuable catalog with your name and contact info given to and used by the media, curators, and art buyers all year long. Artists may be invited to exhibitions, sell their work, become the subject of news articles, or asked to teach classes as a result of being in PDXOS.
**Artists may publicize their studio address as long as they include information about PDXOS (this is a revision of previous policy).

  • Open to all visual media except film.
  • Open to residents of Clackamas County, Multnomah County, and Washington County.
  • Artists agree to
    • Participate all four days
    • Be available at their studio 10 am – 5 pm
    • Demonstrate their working methods
  • Artists must have educational elements such as
    • documentation of working methods or
    • live demonstration of techniques
    • discussion of process
  • Artists attend three meetings in support of The Tour and The Organization
    • Interactive Orientation with participating artists
    • Development Workshop w/ Guest Speaker
    • Event Kick Off Party!

Teams, Groups, Collaborative work

Every year we receive questions from couples, teams, co-ops, and more regarding applying to Portland Open Studios. Collaborative teams have been represented in our Guide when the integrated partners are completely inseparable, and do not produce any independent work.

Our application process has not been modified to identify the correct information to create an accurate Tour Guide entry and expectation for the visitor. The team/collaborative application process requires changes that we have been unable to effectively implement. Artists must contact us separately to disclose partnerships.

When a blind juror looks at an image or a piece of work, s/he are rating it regardless of how many people contributed to create it. When teams and groups apply, and collaborative work is selected for judging, a blind juror will be unaware of these collaborative efforts. This can create an unfair advantage to the individual efforts represented by the majority of our applicants.

This limitation has been an obstacle for many years, our progress is slow, yet continuous. We are making strides in changing our processes, and we value your interest and constructive feedback.

Each year, Portland Open Studios selects new jurors from Portland’s arts community to view and score each applicant’s submitted artwork images:

Three jurors: One artist, one curator, and one educator.

We believe this allows us to provide opportunities for emerging artists while keeping a fresh look at the Portland art scene.

2017 Juror’s announced:

Caitlin Moore, Gallery Manager at PDX Contemporary
Jiseon Lee Isbara, Fiber artist and Professor at OCAC
& Jill McVarish, painter

Blind Jury

We use a blind jury process. The jurors do not receive information identifying the artists. They evaluate the art based on the three images uploaded by each applicant. Each juror provides an individual rating. The juror can not see scores from other jurors. The three juror’s scores are averaged to provide the final score.

A committee views the scores and determines the final 100+ artists with 3-5 alternatives.  In the event of tied scores at the threshold of acceptance, the committee takes multiple factors under consideration and applies our goals for diversity, neighborhood density, variety of media, ratio of new to returning artists, and the past level of engagement of the artist.

The percentage of previous participants admitted generally does not exceed 55% of the total number of participants.

Kimberly Gales Emerging Artist Scholarship:

Artists 20-30 years of age are encouraged to apply for this scholarship, which waives fees for participating in Portland Open Studios. In addition recipients will receive a $100 stipend.

All artists are eligible for the Merit and Service awards.

Check out our past winners.

Encourage Diversity earmarked funds

In late 2016, Portland Open Studios received donations specifically earmarked towards encouraging minorities and increasing diversity in our group of artists. If you feel this represents you, and you can not afford our participation fee, these funds may be available to assist you. If you do not have a space to use as a studio, we may have shared space available with other participating artists.

To be eligible, you must apply through the jury process as all other artists.

Contact to provide details for what you require. We will attempt to assist as many artists as we can with these funds.

Resources for Participating in Portland Open Studios

To have us promote you and what you’re doing on social media send an e-mail to (Add this e-mail to your mailing list as well.)

For information on Tour Guide formats or directing people to purchase a Tour Guide, use this link:

Important Contacts for 2016

Please email Samyak at to record your volunteer hours.

New Artist Orientation (what to expect from the Tour and what we expect from you).
Select Comments from the 2013 Visitor’s Survey (note how people remember a friendly host as much as a talented artist)
Usage of Portland Open Studios Signs