President’s letter: Portland Open Studios Runs on Volunteer power

By Leah Kohlenberg

Today, as we kick off the 21st year of Portland Open Studios by opening our call to artists, I am privileged to find myself in the company of the open studios board. The board members are all volunteers, and put in thousands of hours of work, starting now, to make this event a success in October. These people are seriously dedicated!

Returning are Maude May (Vice President), Shelly Edwards (Treasurer), Jolinda Miller (Secretary), Janie Lowe (Education), Duck Holland (Community Liaison), and David Friedman (Webmaster). Please refer to our Instagram and Facebook pages to find out more about these people.

Joining us this year is Kirista Trask as our Marketing Director. This is a new board position, and Kirista is creating an exciting and comprehensive new marketing strategy for us! Expect to see more consistent messaging, tight branding and much more visibility this year. Learn more about Krisita in her own words here.  Even board members who are stepping down this year aren’t really leaving the Open Studios world. Samyak Yamauchi, who served two years as volunteer liaison and recruitment coordinator, is continuing to help out with our social media posting on facebook. Pat Kane, who has served a record seven years on the board, most recently as the communications director, is continuing on as our newsletter editor. Kit Carlton, who spent one year as our events coordinator, is volunteering to teach art at an elementary school for a Latino Network-Open Studios collaboration.

The thing all these people have in common is a commitment to building a bridge between artist and patron. And we are looking forward to making 2019 our most successful, most fun year yet!

Meet our 2019 Jury

By Janie Lowe

This year, we decided to increase our jury from three to four judges.  They will be judging the artwork together and in person.  We feel that we will have a better idea about what the jurors are looking for and what impresses them in this way. As usual, the jury is comprised of working artists, an art educator and a gallerist.  Here they are:

Stephanie Chefas

Stephanie Chefas Projects is a labor of love from its owner, Stephanie Chefas, who has been independently curating art exhibits for nearly a decade in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other locations.  Now calling Portland home, Chefas retains an eye for cutting-edge and often challenging work that demands attention. Highlighting a diverse blend of contemporary artists from around the world, the gallery features monthly exhibitions with an emphasis on cultivating new talent and encouraging risk and evolution among established visionaries. StephanieChefas website

Lisa Congdon

Fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon is best known for her colorful drawings and hand lettering. She works for clients around the world including Commes des Garçons, Ernie Ball, Crate and Barrel, Facebook, MoMA, REI, Sonos, Harvard University, Chronicle Books, and Random House Publishing, among many others. She is the author of seven books, including the starving-artist-myth-smashing Art Inc: The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist. She was named one of 40 Women Over 40 to Watch in 2015 and she is featured in the 2017 book, 200 Women Who Will Change the Way you See the World. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Lisa Congdon website

 Adriene Cruz

Harlem native Adriene Cruz received her BFA from the School of Visual Art in New York, and has been creating art in Portland for over 30 years.  Best known for her brilliantly colored and adorned art quilts, she has exhibited internationally and also designed, among other public works, the colorful Killingsworth Station on Interstate.  Adriene Cruz website

 Una Kim

Una Kim was born and raised in South Korea and immigrated to Los Angeles, California at the age of sixteen. She attended undergraduate school at the University of Southern California and graduate school at the Parsons School of Design, New York. She has shown her work nationally and internationally, with solo exhibitions in Gwangju and Daegu in South Korea, and Ningbo, China.  She  has completed two large murals in the Portland area,  and participated in international women’s exhibitions numerous times, the latest being at the National Museum, Beijing, China and Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Una Kim FB

Monster Drawing Rally on Friday The 13th

This Friday, July 13th from 6-9pm you can see many artists drawing, painting and mixed media–ing to help benefit the Portland Art Museum. The Monster Drawing Rally will be held between the buildings of the Portland Art Museum. Several Portland Open Studios artist will be drawing at the event including Jesse Reno, Melissa Monroe and David Friedman. Past PDXOS artists will also be drawing. All finished works will sell for $35.

Proceeds support free school and youth programs at the Museum.

Bring the Family!
Stop by the L’il Drawing Rally an area where kids and families are encouraged to sit down and draw. This year’s L’il Drawing Rally features a fun experimental figure drawing activity led by artist Kristin Musser.

Volunteer Opportunities for Artists

Hello artists!  Here are some Volunteer/demo/exhibit opportunities this summer for you all:

We need a handful of artists to display one small piece of artwork for our PDXOS sampling at the Artist and Craftsman North store Parking Lot party July 22, noon – 5:00. Contact before the end of May if you would like to put one small piece on the display grids. You would need to deliver your art to Sam’s house before the 22nd, and pick up there after the event, either at 5:00 or at Sam’s at a later date.

We need a couple of volunteers to promote PDXOS at the above event at Artist and Craftsman North store for one or two hour shifts. Greet people while Cindy Lommasson live paints and educate the public about PDXOS. Contact before the end of May if you can help.

I’m in the process of sending out group emails for the volunteer/demo jobs that artists signed for at the first artist meeting. Please shoot me back a quick reply when you receive it, so I know it has been received and you have seen it. Thank you!

One of the best ways you can help is by promoting our organization and the tour:

  • Use #portlandopenstudios #pdxos #artistsatwork #theportlandway
  • Put links to PDXOS newsletters and blogs in your newsletters and social media
  • Like our FB page and tag us when you have events to share
  • Follow us and comment on IG and Follow other PDXOS artists.

Thanks for all your help! We couldn’t do it without you!

Announcing Portland Open Studios 2018 Participating Artists

Portland Open Studios is pleased to announce the 2018 participating artists, in alphabetical order.  Welcome to the 20th year!!!

Nancy Abens
Dennis Anderson
Rachel Austin
Sherri Aytche
Don Bailey
Marcy Baker
Davey Barnwell
Paul Bartnik
Serena Barton
Dave Benz
Tanmaya Bingham
Don Bishop
Brenda Boylan
Charissa Brock
Rudi Broschofsky
Rio Butler
Erin Cadena
Kit Carlton
Betsy Chang
Shawn Demarest
Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley
Tess Donohoe
Craig Dorety
Poppy Dully
Shelly Durica-Laiche
Kowkie Durst
Austin Eddy
Linda Ethier
Jenn Feeney
Heather Fields
Tamae Frame
David Friedman
Beverly Gimlin
Jonathan Glowacki
Daniel Good
Jon Gottshall
Carol Greiwe
Dotty Hawthorne
William Hernandez
Sam Hingston
Wayne Jiang
Leah Kohlenberg
Joanie Krug
Susan Kuznitsky
Jeni Lee
Gretha Lindwood
Cindy Lommasson
Janie Lowe
Brianna Luce
Kelli MacConnell
Stacey Mairs
Ruby Maly
Chas Martin
Michele Maule
Maude Anne May
Dennis Meiners
Melissa Monroe
Lulu Moonwood Murakami
Thérèse Murdza
Tara Murino-Brault
Susan Murphy
Alison O’Donoghue
Larry Olson
Lisa Onstad
Gail Owen
William Park
Hilary Pfeifer
Kevin Poest
Robert Pond
Amy Ponteri
Joanne Radmilovich Kollman
Jesse Reno
Linda Robertson
Diane Russell
Paul Rutz
Linda Sawaya
Mike Schultz
PM Shore
Isabelle Soule
Michael Southern
Karen Spencer
Sally Squire
Amy Stoner
Sara Swink
Randall David Tipton
Jill Torberson
Amanda Triplett
Julian Voss-Andreae
Elise Wagner
Elisabeth Walden
Sarah Waldron
Nanette Wallace
Kitty Wallis
Rick Wheeler
Angela White-Wenger
Karen Wippich
Brian Wischer
Lisa M Wiser
Samyak Yamauchi
Russell Young

Community and Volunteerism

By Samyak Yamauchi
Volunteer Coordinator

Many aspects of the 2018 Portland Open Studios Tour will be different this year. Besides the new presentation of the tour guide, we will be looking at ‘Community’ in a different way. We would like to build more community and commitment within our artist communities and our group as a whole.

To that end:

  • The artists will be delineated into groups, but there will be no group leaders, so we’ll be asking artists to come up with ways to make connections with the other artists in their PDXOS neighborhood.
  • We’ll be asking artists to promote PDXOS by volunteering to do demos and spreading the word to their own networks via social media promotion.
  • We’ll be asking for help with tasks that need doing.
  • We’ll also be holding PDXOS artist community building/networking gatherings to share ideas, ask questions, and support each other.

We are looking forward to working with this year’s artist group to make Portland Open Studios 2018 a great event!

We have our jury!!

We’re so excited about the three individuals who agreed to judge the applicants for our 20th year Tour. As usual, our jury is comprised of a working artist, an art educator and a gallerist.

Our art educator this year is Victor Maldonado, also a working interdisciplinary artist who creates conceptually driven multidisciplinary works. He is an Assistant Professor and Inclusions Specialist at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, a freelance writer and an independent curator of Northwest art. He received his BFA in Painting and Drawing from the California College of Art and his MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Victor draws his inspiration from his upbringing in California and Mexico in a family of migrant field workers. Deploying both traditional mediums including painting, printmaking and drawing alongside contemporary strategies such as performances, installations and interventions, Victor expresses the challenge and power of identity to author experience and perception. His work has been acquired by the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX. He is represented exclusively by Froelick Gallery, Portland.

Arvie Smith, our ‘working artist’ jurist, also qualifies as an art educator, as he is a Professor Emeritus of Painting at Pacific Northwest College of Art where he taught since the mid 80’s. He spent his childhood in rural Texas and South Central and Watts Los Angles, California. He received his BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art and his MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Hoffberger School of Painting under Grace Hartigan. During a sojourn in Italy in 1983, Arvie studied at Il Bisonte and SACI in Florence. From 1998 to the present he has traveled extensively through Ghana, Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso, West Africa.

Arvie Smith transforms the history of oppressed and stereotyped segments of the American experience into lyrical two-dimensional master works. His paintings are commonly of psychological images revealing deep sympathy for the dispossessed and marginalized members of society in an unrelenting search for beauty, meaning, and equality. His work reflects powerful injustices and the will to resist and survive. His memories of growing up in the South add to his awareness of the legacy that the slavery of the African American has left with all Americans today. His intention is to solidify the memory of atrocities and oppression so they will never be forgotten or duplicated. Arvie says he creates this work “because he must”.

Our gallerist this year is Donna Guardino of The Guardino Gallery.  For most of her life, art has been Donna Guardino’s livelihood.  In the 1970’s she applied to the Mill Valley Festival and was turned down. The next year, she was asked by the same organization to be a juror for their show.  This experience gave her a life-long lesson: There are so many variables in the jury process, you can’t take it personally. You just have to try again. This is the advice she is still giving artists today as she looks at work from hundreds of artists as the curate for Guardino Gallery.

With her history as a painter, printer, etcher and sculptor she was exposed to many art forms. Helping set up two non-profit art organizations, running several galleries and ultimately her own gallery, seeing art makes her curious about each artist’s process. She saw that for her, there wasn’t a strict boundary between fine art and craft.  Now, as a curator, she looks for art that has a visual impact on her.


Are you an artist? Thinking about applying to Portland Open Studios, but have questions? Want to meet others in the art community?

We are participating with two uber-cool galleries, Ori Gallery and Una Gallery, in the Feb. 26 Art Spark organized by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). The event is from 6-8 pm at the Lagunitas Community Room, and like all Art Sparks you’ll get to meet and mingle with many other folks in our multi-faceted art community with music, beer and food.

There will also be a brief talk about the barriers and best practices for responding to open art calls, and talk about what we are all doing to address equity, inclusion and diversity. Plus there will be a raffle with swag, and we are giving out slots to ten artists to get your art professionally photographed FOR FREE if you’d like to apply to our open studios event this year. More details here:

Meet the Board

Leah Kohlenberg, our President, is a professional, internationally known artist, educator and published author, but she is even more than that to our Board. She joined the board in 2016 and has been a force of nature ever since. Leah is a visionary who has exciting ideas for Portland Open Studios and the determination to inspire the Board and others surrounding us to bring them to fruition.



Maude May, Vice President, joined our board in 2017 and has been a source of energy and enthusiasm ever since. She is a working artist, with a background in graphic design, having run her own graphic company for over 15 years. This year she takes over the position of Vice President and she promises to be a guiding force for all the exciting things about to happen.







Jolinda Miller, new to the board this year, is the PDXOS Secretary. She is a teacher for Portland Public Schools and sees each day the power of art to lift and inspire her students.





When Shelly Edwards isn’t rockin’ our books as Portland Open Studio’s Treasurer, she’s helping people understand Alzheimer’s and its effects or serving as a worship leader and pianist for Portland First United Methodist Church. She gives an exceptional amount of her time to serving others, and our Board is grateful to have her watching over our funds.



Kit Carlton, a working mixed media artist, serves as our Events Chair and periodic contributor to our blog and newsletter. As a bit of a polymath, she revels in all things art history, music (especially of the synth variety), neuroscience, philosophy and poetry. She obtained her dual-degree from Texas State University before eventually transplanting to the PNW over a decade ago. Her degrees in Anthropology and English (as well as her constant self-directed research) invariably shape her aesthetic, which focuses on the intersection of science and pnuema. This is Kit’s first year with the board, but given her versatility and task-drive undoubtedly our events will come off without a hitch.



Charlotte Cunningham, while not a formal member of the Board, still serves in a vital capacity as our Administrator, managing the artist application and acceptance process and the database.   An artist herself, she also spends time sketching, crocheting, and assisting in the art department of her son’s grade school.





Kerri Hewett is our President emeritus. She spent the last three years reforming the board when we lost our administrator, Jason Kappus. She also updated the website and is the reason we are able to take off at a run this year with new ideas and a new energetic spirit.  We treasure her knowledge and welcome her input.



David Friedman, our co-Communications Chair and Webmaster, is new on the board this year. David is a working artist, focused on the media of papercutting. He is also a website specialist and graphic artist (he designed and maintains the Art in the Pearl website). We are extremely fortunate that he will be shepherding our Website and helping with our new app.



Duck Holland, new to the Board this year, will be involved in fundraising as well a serving as our Community Liaison. Her background spans art restoration to corporate executive to advocate for artists and the artist community. “My mission is to make PDXOS a ‘must see’ on every Portlanders’ calendar. And I play bass.”


Pat Kane is our co-Communications Chair. This will be her sixth year on the Board. She publishes the newsletter and the blog, focusing on our artists and their accomplishments. She also utilizes her writing experience to edit all written content that goes out.




Janie Lowe, new to the Board this year, is our Education Chair.  She studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  Janie already has some great ideas to energize our education program.  She co-founded YOLO ColorHouse, designing the harmonious palettes in the ColorHouse collection. Thankfully for all of us she is back in her studio now, and painting again.


Samyak Yamauchi, our Volunteer Coordinator, is a spontaneous painter who joined the board in 2017, after four years as a participating artist. She’s had a challenge from the start since we removed the volunteer requirement for our artists. Even so, she has helped the board stay on track with her loving attitude towards all things Portland.