At age 30, gallery impresario Jeanine Jablonski is so poised, disciplined and single-mindedly ambitious, it's hard to believe she used to be a wild child in Alaska, running around with a shaved head and pierced brow. The founder of newish eastside gallery Fourteen30 Contemporary burst onto the local cultural radar in 2006, becoming a board member for the Portland Art Center, writing an arts blog, founding the arts zine GLARE Quarterly and working as assistant director at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery. This September she left Leach to open her own gallery, Fourteen30 Contemporary. So, what's it like starting up a gallery in these scary economic times? Jablonski's got a plan.
WW: Is it true that Elizabeth Leach is hard to work for?
Jeanine Jablonski: I don't think that's true. She was almost maternal to me. She's certainly complex and driven, but I always respected that, and I always felt respected by her. She really showed me that you can have your own gallery and your own programming but do so much more than that in the community at large.
Why did you decide to break out on your own?
Portland artists aren't exported as much as they should be. I want to be a springboard for them, and also to bring artists in from elsewhere in the country. I also want to tap into the vast contingent of young collectors we have in Portland.... I don't want to sound too ballsy, but eventually I want to become a contemporary of Liz or Jane Beebe [owner of PDX Contemporary Art]. I see such a need for dealers like myself and the need for collectors in the region to pay attention to what we're doing.
Are you nervous about whether people are going to come in on a First Friday and drop $5,000 on a piece of art?
I have to focus on strong programming, and know that if I can survive now, I can survive after things even out a bit. Energizing the young creative energy we have in Portland is part of that strategy. I know there are young people here who are of an income bracket and an interest level to become patrons of the arts, but they don't know how and where their avenue is to do that. I want to engage those people.
at Fourteen30, 1430 SE 3rd Ave., 236-1430. Closes Dec. 6.