Alberta Art Gallery Exhibits in an Actual Alley

Anne Jennings Paris is the third artist to show work in the Allery.

Detail of "Memories of the Kingdom" by Anne Jennings Paris. (Anne Jennings Paris)

Alleys usually contain the unsavory bits of life—trash and recycling bins, illicit shenanigans—but one off of Northeast Alberta Street has taken a more cultured turn.

The Allery (a portmanteau of alley and gallery) is an experimental outdoor gallery behind 5516 NE 27th Ave. that shows large-scale paintings by Portland artists.

Poet and painter Anne Jennings Paris is the third artist to show her work there. Her exhibit Memories of the Kingdom just opened in conjunction with Last Thursday on Alberta on June 27.

The Allery was built under some eaves, so there is partial protection from the elements. Paris tries to think of Memories of the Kingdom more like a sand mandala, built to be destroyed, than one of her typical paintings.

“Part of the experiment is knowing that your work is not going to be treated like other fine art might be treated,” Paris says. “You know as you’re creating it that other people could vandalize it or steal it, so weather is kind of the least of those things.”

Memories of the Kingdom incorporates poetry and acrylic paintings in four future “retellings” of the Concordia neighborhood’s recent past. Brightly colored objects in the painting include a laptop, bridges, snow-capped mountains, trees and a skyscraper that looks a lot like Wells Fargo Center.

The Allery’s curator and owner is Jennifer “JJ” Jones, an artist and co-founder of the Agnès Varda Forever! Film Festival. Similar to the origin of that project, when Jones plastered signs all over the city in 2021 with artist Laura Glazer that said “Agnès Varda Forever” after getting super inspired by the French New Wave director, Jones says she created the Allery as a way to surprise people.

“Alleys are special places,” Jones says. “They are public right-of-ways, but they feel private. I wanted to create a place where magic can happen through surprise encounters with art.”

GO: Memories of the Kingdom at the Allery, 5516 NE 27th Ave. On display throughout the summer and into the fall. Free.

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