Eight Trending Galleries to Check Out

Time for an art-walkabout!

Helens_3 (Helen’s Pacific Costumers)

A Sometimes Gallery

Opened two years ago by Amy Rowan out of the corner of Lisa Congdon’s studio-office—hence the project’s name—A Sometimes Gallery was always intended as a means of galvanizing a creative community ravaged by the pandemic. Perhaps best known for themed group shows like Paper or Sometimes I Think It’s a Painting, its commitment to inclusivity extends to smaller-scale exhibitions like Jessica Poundstone and Rose Lazar’s Superbloom, where the artists hosted intermittent drop-in workshops. 687 N Tillamook St., Suite C, asometimesgallery.com. By appointment only, save for opening and closing parties.

AFRU Gallery

A little bit fine art, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, AFRU shows faithfully serve both masters. The newly expanded Central Eastside gallery has space enough to house studios and host community engagement workshops, while the main hall alternates between venue and showcase for original visions (Ben Milam, Rebecca Lynch) interspersed with drolly provocative group exhibitions like Halloween’s The House That Haunts Us All or the current Flash Flood, which brought local tattooists’ artistry from skin to canvas. 534 SE Oak St., 503-347-7443, afrugallery.com. 2-6 pm Friday, noon-6 pm Saturday, 2-6 pm Sunday.

Helen’s Costume

A stone’s throw from the old mask emporium, which closed in 2017 after a 127-year run, the deceptively ramshackle Montavilla gallery enlists contributions by both far-flung artists (Scotland’s Erica Eyres, say) and trending PDX-steeped creatives for the barbed whimsy of mixed-media exhibits like December’s imp-themed Hob Gob. 7706 SE Yamhill St., 503-442-0899, costumeintl.com. Hours vary.


Originating from the fishbowl studios that restless visionary Allie Furlotti erected along the disused West End shopping hub during the depths of the quarantine malaise to aid hand-picked talents and inspire passersby glimpsing the artists at work and play, this ever-evolving creative hub lies on the cusp of its long-awaited great leap forward. In the former PDX Contemporary home wholly reimagined by Andee Hess (“Portland’s secret design weapon,” claims Architectural Digest), ILY2′s new 1,600-square-foot flagship gallery formally launches with a Bonnie Lucas show March 25 while its residency program (rechristened “ILY2 too”) has been transplanted to the long-vacant Studio Shots space inside a Lloyd Center suddenly bustling with DIY polymath tastemakers. 925 NW Flanders St., ily2online.co. 11 am-4 pm Tuesday-Saturday. ILY2 too, 2201 Lloyd Center, G113. By appointment only.

Kyler Martz

Adjoining Icon Tattoo, where he still inks up a loyal clientele, and across the street from wallpaper artisans and fellow Icon veterans at Lonesome Pictopia, globally renowned illustrator and muralist Kyler Martz’s first storefront offers a decidedly humble introduction to globally renowned talent. The recent Seattle émigré is likely best known for outsized corporate projects up north (the three-story octopus sculpture spreading tentacles above PCC Community Market, the 30-foot whaleboat adorning the walls of Facebook’s regional offices, the fleet of nearly 40 “Treasure Trucks” he painted for Amazon). But the eclectic array of items (prints, pins, postcards, handkerchiefs) on display within his still unnamed studio all betray the same distinctive blend of fanciful retro stylings and resonant folk-art imagery. 819 N Russell St., kylermartz.com. Hours vary.

Nucleus Portland

Younger sibling of a respected Alhambra gallery, Nucleus Portland launched seven years ago with the first iteration of what would become annual crowd-pleaser SALUT! (an exhibition of 100-plus artists using 4-inch coasters as canvas) and keeps the taps pouring through Last Wednesday Drink & Draw events. For more sober-minded consideration, Nucleus’ 2023 schedule includes shows by Japanese ceramicist Kozy Kitchens and manga artist Shintaro Kago in the main showroom, while nearby Nucleus House will host works by N.Y. illustrator Dadu Shin and Berkeley’s Deth Sun. 2916 NE Alberta St., Suite B, 971-386-5114, nucleusportland.com. Noon-6 pm Thursday-Sunday. Nucleus House, 1137 NE Alberta St. Noon-4 pm Friday-Sunday.

SE Cooper Contemporary

Located on the grounds of a sprawling Lents family residence and open to the public for just six hours each week. The founder of SE Cooper Contemporary (a former co-director of NYC’s Soloway Gallery) hasn’t seen much need to promote installations until a few weeks before opening, but the enviable succession of artists he’s exhibited over the past few years (Graham Collins, Fawn Krieger, Taryn Tomasello) has offered thoughtful works of spare beauty and conceptual rigor that contextualize the larger setting to its best advantage. 6901 SE 110th Ave., 503-752-4017, secoopercontemporary.com. 11 am-5 pm Saturday.

Well Well

An artist’s collective now spanning a dozen members, Well Well opened inside of the Oregon Center for Contemporary Art with an eye on expanding opportunities for local talents to increase visibility beyond the region. After the late February close of current group exhibition Everything Leaves a Trail, a spotlight on textiles woven and manipulated to the rhythms and sensibilities informing modern art, the gallery will house founding member Katherine Spinella’s multimedia showcase Dandelion while the main hall holds continuous screenings of electric city magic valentine, the meditative Q*bert abstraction animated by Sam Cohen and scored by Beth Wooten. 8371 N Interstate Ave., #1, wellwellprojects.com. Noon-5 pm Saturday-Sunday.

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