Portland has become an art mecca and you can find different styles of art on almost every corner. Whether it’s adding a whimsical mural on the side of a hotel, styling a statue in knitted attire to keep them warm, city-inspired tattoos adorning residents’ bodies, or even adding a “D” to the “NE” on the street sign “NE Flanders St” (The Simpsons reference), we absolutely adore it! Below you will find the various ways Portland expresses itself through art. Some of these are a little unconventional, but as the motto says … “Keep Portland Weird!”
Bridges, trees, rain, roses … did we mention bridges? On your way through downtown you might pass by a person or two sporting some Portland-inspired body art to express their endless devotion to this city they call home. There’s even one tattoo artist in town who is known for inking up Timbers Army members and even Timbers team members.
What’s more fun than taking a casual stroll through downtown? Taking selfies with the numerous statues and public art masterpieces, of course! There’s even an app called Public Art PDX to help you locate the public art that seems to be just everywhere in Portland. Included are “Animals in Pools,” which some jest how they illustrate the divide between the Beaver and Duck universities, “The Quest,” which some schools decide not to include in tours due to the representation of the naked human body, and of course “Portlandia,” which is the second largest copper statue right after the iconic “Statue of Liberty.” Or, if you want a more personal touch including the stories behind a lot of the public art, you can hang out with one of our Resident Experts on our guided, daily Best of Portland walking tour. Don’t forget your selfie stick!
GRAFFITI & MURALS
Portland’s grungy, punk, and quirky side really comes out in the graffiti and murals splashed all over the city. Some are located right downtown, while others are actually placed in outlying neighborhoods. You will see this art on street signs, brick walls, roads, and even on sidewalks. Some will definitely give you a double take with their abstract interpretations as well as plays on Portland’s hipster culture. For more information, check out the Portland Street Art Alliance.
Art walks in Portland always bring out an array of creative individuals including musicians, performers, and of course visual artists. Not only are they a free way to get into the art scene, you might even get some free refreshments from participating galleries. Free wine, cheese, and art? I think so! For a more classic Portland art scene, check out First Thursdays. For a more eclectic, festival vibe, check out Last Thursdays. Stroll down the city streets on a warm summer night and you’ll likely fall in love with more aspects of Portland than just the incredible art.
Article by Adriana Bordea