Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last Thursday on Alberta

This evening marks the final “Last Thursday” art walk of the year on NE Alberta Street, here in Portland. Having a monthly art sale in this artsy district has always been a great idea. Sadly, though, the growth of the event and the manner in which it is being managed has done more harm than good to the participating artists.

Rewind back to an excerpt from this blog in July, 2008:

This unusual event, at which local artists display and sell their work anywhere that they can find an open piece of sidewalk, has become increasingly popular, but has also experienced some growing pains. Last year, in response to a rowdy party that had absolutely nothing to do with the artists, the police took out their frustrations by disallowing anyone to display their work under canopies. Meaning, now our work has no protection from rain or, at this time of year, the scorching sun.”

“WE’RE BLOCKING OFF THE STREET”, a flyer read, giving artists a shot of optimism. For that decision came with a little present for the artists: We could once again set up our artwork beneath the shelter of canopies. Surely, this was a step in the right direction. Little did we know that the new and improved, un-motorized version of Last Thursday would come with an unexpected downside.

Throughout this season, Last Thursday has been transformed into something that cannot seriously be referred to as an art event anymore; it has instead become a raging street party, fueled by alcohol, where any artists trying to show and sell there work are an afterthought, at best. Even during the peak hours in the early evening, the thousands of attendees stroll down the middle of the street with tunnel vision, barely any of them even noticing all of the art that’s set up on the sidewalks. The sad truth is. . . the local artists who were once the very reason that people came out to this event are now insignificant, if not invisible. Ask any artist how their sales have been affected by the street closure and they’ll certainly tell you that sales have plummeted this year.

To all Portlanders who love the arts, we hope that we’ll see you tonight and that you’ll start your Holiday shopping early, despite the gloomy weather. Thanks!

Etsy Artist of the Day

We'd like to draw your attention to South Texas fine artist Roz of RozArt. We love the theme and colors of her "Beach 8" painting and we think her cow paintings images are absolutely hilarious. Roz's Etsy shop, filled with "whimsical" paintings, is a must-see!

Thanks for supporting independent artists and buying hand-made!