Take the Tour

Artwork by Tracie Broughton

When is it?

The 2016 PDXOS Tour is October 8th & 9th and 15th & 16th from 10am to 5pm each day.

Get a sense for what the tour is like with this short video from One Hundred Seconds:


*Please note that the ticket options the video references are out-of-date – details are here and below. Video features Kindra Crick, Jesse Reno, and Jenn Gauer and Meghan Radick.

Where is it?

The Tour takes place throughout the Portland metro area, which is Clackamas County, Multnomah County, and Washington County.

How do you find the artists?

Purchasing a Tour Guide will provide the resources you need to access artists studios. Our Tour Guide features maps and addresses of the participating artists arranged in geographic communities. You can see East and West side maps of Portland and find communities you’d like to explore. Each community also provides a more detailed map, plus artist bios and images of their art.

You can buy these directly from the website by following the above links or you can buy Tour Guides from any of the following participating local retailers:

New SeasonsMuse, I’ve Been Framed, Blick, Collage, Artists and Craftsman

Who are these artists?

Every year a lot of artists apply to participate in Portland Open Studios. A jury of three arts professionals (the jury is different each year) vote on their favorites based solely on three images submitted by the artists. They don’t know the names of the artists, their experience level, where they live, or anything about them.

Because they choose based only on the quality of artwork, the resulting participating artists are quite varied. Some artists have little experience showing their work and others are in multiple galleries. Some artists are shy and some are gregarious. Some artist are hobbyists, some have non-art day jobs, and some are full-time artists.

What is a studio and what is it like to visit them?

We define a studio as a place where someone makes art.

Some artists make art in their living room, their basement, their garage, etc and some artists have a dedicated art workspace in an apartment, office, or professional building. Some artists work in closet sized spaces and some in warehouse sized spaces. Some artists are exceedingly tidy with everything item in their studio labeled and others have a small path cleared in their stacks of clutter.

“It varies” might be an easier way to say all that. It’s interesting to see which artists inhabit which kinds of spaces and whether that effects their work.

Artists are people with varied ways of expression. Some artists are extremely social and can be the life of the party (and not just because they are wearing something funky). Some artists are shy and do not know what to say about their work unless asked a direct questions.

Super important thing to remember

All of the artists have paid for the opportunity to meet you. Yes, they would like for you to buy their work, but they want validation in other forms as well, like hearing your reaction to their artwork. Ask questions and feel free to engage artists in conversations about their work, process, and journey.

Artwork will be priced between $5 and $10,000, but mostly less than $500, and often less than $100. You are not obligated to buy anything from anyone and you will not be pressured to buy anything. If you love something, please consider a purchase and know that many artists offer payment plans, commissions, have refund policies, and many other considerations/amenities that you would expect from any business.

Why take the Tour?

It’s educational. It’s fun. Art is awesome. It’s an experience.

Portland Open Studios is about education first and foremost. Hopefully it’s also fun, engaging, interesting, and lots of other positive adjectives.

The Portland Open Studios Tour is about artists sharing their work, their process, and themselves. It’s equally about Visitors looking, asking questions, engaging with the artists, trying activities, and experiencing different kinds of creativity.

Looking at finished artwork (especially online or in a museum/gallery) it’s easy to think that art is magic. Remarkable art can seem to have appeared finished and never looked any other way that it does and as though no person made it. While this experience of artwork as otherworldly is valid and valuable, Portland Open Studios seeks to debunk that and pull back the curtain on the magic trick of artwork. No matter how remarkable the work, it was made by an interesting, fallible person and there was a step-by-step process that took it from nothing to something — and we think that process and that person can enhance the artwork or be interesting in their own right.

It’s not every day you get to talk to an artist about their work and their process, especially in the place where they make their work. We think that experience is pretty cool.

Who can go on the Tour?

Anyone. It’s a great thing to do alone, with family, or with friends. A ticket is good for two adults. Anyone under 18 is free.

Why do we charge money for a ticket to the event (Tour Guide or Mobile App)?

2016 is our 18th year operating Portland Open Studios and a lot of people still don’t know about us. We want as many people as possible to know about our Tour and our participating artists, so we buy advertising. Those ads are paid for with the money earned from the previous year’s ticket sales.

The artists and our advertisers pay for the production of the Tour Guide, App, and website, as well as the few people who get paid to help run the operation.

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit and all revenues are spent promoting the Tour and supporting the organization.

You’ve read all that and you still have a question?

Email Charlotte Cunningham, Administrator at admin@portlandopenstudios.com and I will answer your question or direct you to the person who can.