If fall marks the beginning of Portland's arts season, then spring is the crashing finale.
It's a time when theaters and galleries try to make a final, lasting impression on audiences before programming slows for the summer. These are shows that art institutions want you to remember months from now, when the weather starts to cool again and you're no longer distracted by swimming holes and bar patios.
In other words, spring is when the arts scene brings out the big guns. There is a lot to see—and we're here to help.
Our Spring Arts Guide maps out the 30 most exciting shows we think Portland audiences will be talking about the rest of the year, from acclaimed Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby's Portland debut to Portland Opera's history-making production of As One, the first opera to feature a transgender protagonist.
Artists Rep has commissioned an absurd new play about a boy who thinks he's a wolf and gets "re-homed" by his adoptive parents. NW Dance Project, Portland's biggest dance company, is leaving behind the comfort of a traditional stage and premiering three new works performed simultaneously on multiple floors of a local tech company's opulent office building.
But not just the spectacles are worth seeing.
We introduce you to artists challenging the way Portland thinks about itself. Like author Mitchell S. Jackson, whose book of essays chronicles a childhood in Northeast Portland ravaged by drugs and systemic racism. Or May Cat, a visual artist whose new exhibit examines the folklore surrounding ghosts in Thai culture, through video collages and IRL gore.
As Portland's winter hibernation comes to an end, this city's increasingly diverse and vibrant arts organizations step up to thrill, challenge, inspire and move us. So shake off that cabin fever—this guide will help push you out the door.