In Portland, art never sleeps.
Most days, you can discover your new favorite local artist at a gallery in the morning, catch a matinee at an arthouse cinema in the afternoon, have your mind boggled by a bizarre new play in the evening, then catch a set of world-class jazz that stretches until last call.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg—and in this year's Spring Arts Guide, we go deeper.
We visited five of the city's hidden creative spaces, where some of the most dedicated people in Portland's art world put in hours of labor before the public ever gets to see the result.
Sure, each room featured in this issue contains a trove of treasures and oddities. An illustration co-created by Shepard Fairey and the baby from the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind. A vintage guitar pulled from a dumpster then rehabbed by Portland's resident soul legend. A silent-era film projector that could burst into flames if it ever gets used.
But behind every finished project is hours of unglamorous, tedious work, and these are the places where much of that work happens. It's labor done by people whose names aren't on the marquee, but who are essential to keeping Portland's 24-hour art scene functioning.
It's the costumer who has to repair every high heel that snaps off during performances of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It's the conservator who meticulously removes wads of gum from sculptures at the Portland Art Museum. It's the film collector who raids theater vaults for rare prints of kung fu movies, then loans them to Quentin Tarantino.
In this issue, we also give you a heads-up on the 29 can't-miss shows of the season. Spring is the last hurrah before arts organizations go on hiatus for the summer—a time when you can see everything from a play by Portland's favorite drag clown to a talk by the author who coined the term "mansplaining" to the 35th anniversary of The Goonies.
Now that the rain is letting up and the weather's getting warmer, it's time to start exploring. And when you do, we hope you'll have a new appreciation for the people behind the scenes who made it all happen. After all, they did it for you.
Willamette Week's Spring Arts Guide 2020