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

A little inside scoop on our jury

A little more information on our jury process.  Each year, the board selects an artist, an art educator, and a gallerist distinguished in their fields to jury in the 106 artists who will participate in Portland Open Studios. In this way we are assured that we are giving opportunities to emerging artists while staying on the forefront of the Portland art scene.  

Our President, Kerri Hewett, feels strongly about the jury process.  “It is important to us that our jurors are actively participating in the Portland art scene. The jury process is deeply rooted in each juror’s interpretation of the local climate and helps us curate the large amount of talented work being submitted.”

The deadline for artists to apply for the event is March 3, and jury results will be announced  April 1.  Apply here

Artists will open their studios and demonstrate their work process to the public throughout all four days of the event, this year on Oct 14-15 and 21-22.

The event is free and open to the public – people can download a free phone app to locate the studios.  For those who want to support Portland Open Studios, a non-profit, we produce a full-color tour guide listing all participating artists and their studio addresses available for $15 at New Seasons grocery stores and most art stores.  Go to for more information.

Jill McVarish is a painter who has been living and working in Oregon for the past decade.  She became serious about her art at age 4, and dropped out of high school at age 15 to dedicate more time to her painting.  She received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1994, and then enrolled in the prestigious Garrett Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, where she was told that “painting is a dead art form.”  She bought a pass to the Rijksmuseum and let the Dutch Masters be her guide, an influence that you can see in her work today, which reflects both classical painting methods and composition, and very contemporary (sometimes absurdist) ideas.

Jiseon Lee Isbara is an artist and educator living and working in Portland, Oregon.  Since 2012, she has served as the Dean of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) where she has also served as faculty in Undergraduate and Graduate programs since 2003.  Prior to joining OCAC as Fibers Department Head, she taught in the Textiles Dept. at East Carolina University in North Carolina.  She earned two MFA degrees in Fibers from Colorado State University and Ewha Womans University in South Korea.

She was born and raised in South Korea, and her work reflects her experiences as an immigrant by creating anxiety with pristinely orderly and delicate forms. Lee Isbara’s current body of work tempers the chaos of communication through simple, essential techniques and fluid textile materials.  Her work has been exhibited and published in the United States and internationally. She gives back by serving as a committee member for a variety of non-profit arts-related organizations.
Caitlin Moore is an arts professional living and working in Portland. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001. Since moving to Portland in 2005 she has worked with non and for-profit arts organizations curating, directing and mounting a variety of arts programming including the management and operation of art galleries both here in Portland and abroad in Berlin, Germany. She is the Gallery Manager at PDX Contemporary Art, has served on an advisory committee at the Art Gym at Marylhurst University, and is currently the Board President of the Northwest Art Council at the Portland Art Museum.


We have a jury!!!

This is an exciting day for us.  We have a jury!  Every year we look for an artist, a gallerist, and an educator to form our three-person jury.  In this way we are assured that we are giving opportunities to emerging artists while staying on the forefront of the Portland art scene.  We are honored to announce the 2017 Portland Open Studios Jury

Caitlin Moore, the Gallery Manager at PDX Contemporary.

Jiseon Lee Isbara, a local fiber artist and professor at OCAC

Jill McVarish, oil painter with the Riversea Gallery in Astoria.

Thanks to all of you for agreeing to serve on the jury.

Our application deadline is March 3.  Apply here.