Any photographer heading to Portland will surely stop in at Blue Sky Gallery. It’s a required destination. The place is legendary, actually.

Blue Sky has been around since 1975, when five young photographers (including current president Christopher Rauschenberg) started the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts. In its current home, a beautiful 3700-square-foot gallery in Portland’s historic DeSoto Building, one can catch 20 – 25 exhibitions a year. There’s a public research library chock full of just about every photo book you can think of, an impressive juried collection of regional work available for easy viewing in the Pacific Northwest Viewing Drawers, and there’s a plethora of artist talks sprinkled on top of all this. Blue Sky Books is a special publishing initiative that promotes work by photographers who have shown there. There are different membership levels which entitle you to special member events, catalogues and books, and even original photographs.

A lot of well-known photographers had shows at Blue Sky before they became recognizable, highly respected artists in the field – “discovered” if you will. Included on that roster are: Dawoud Bey (1986), Julie Blackmon (2006), Debbie Fleming Caffery (1997), Linda Connor (1991),  William Eggleston (1986), Terry Evans (2000), Wendy Ewald (1990), Jim Goldberg (1982), Les Krims (1990), Helen Levitt (1984), Richard Misrach (1984 and 1991), Abelardo Morell (1996 and 2009), Hiroshi Watanabe (2003), and Garry Winogrand (1986).

Since Blue Sky is a non-profit, cooperative gallery, there are many volunteer opportunities there. There's a volunteer submission review committee (which meets once a week to consider the hundreds of portfolios that are submitted for possible exhibition). Volunteers also prepare and install the shows, support the administrative staff, and greet visitors as gallery attendants.

I figured it’d be a good way to get to know some of the other photographers in Portland and to become more a part of the photo scene, so I’ve been doing some of the greeting lately. It's nice to be immersed in everything photographic a few hours each week. It reminds me of the days when I had my own gallery in Kansas City in the 1980’s.

Portlanders: pop on in if you haven’t already. If you’re planning a trip to the Rose City and you’re interested in photography, my guess is you’ve already set aside a couple hours to explore Blue Sky. You'll love it! And admission is free.

My Blog

Blue Sky

1/29/2019

Any photographer heading to Portland will surely stop in at Blue Sky Gallery. It’s a required destination. The place is legendary, actually.

Blue Sky has been around since 1975, when five young photographers (including current president Christopher Rauschenberg) started the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts. In its current home, a beautiful 3700-square-foot gallery in Portland’s historic DeSoto Building, one can catch 20 – 25 exhibitions a year. There’s a public research library chock full of just about every photo book you can think of, an impressive juried collection of regional work available for easy viewing in the Pacific Northwest Viewing Drawers, and there’s a plethora of artist talks sprinkled on top of all this. Blue Sky Books is a special publishing initiative that promotes work by photographers who have shown there. There are different membership levels which entitle you to special member events, catalogues and books, and even original photographs.

A lot of well-known photographers had shows at Blue Sky before they became recognizable, highly respected artists in the field – “discovered” if you will. Included on that roster are: Dawoud Bey (1986), Julie Blackmon (2006), Debbie Fleming Caffery (1997), Linda Connor (1991),  William Eggleston (1986), Terry Evans (2000), Wendy Ewald (1990), Jim Goldberg (1982), Les Krims (1990), Helen Levitt (1984), Richard Misrach (1984 and 1991), Abelardo Morell (1996 and 2009), Hiroshi Watanabe (2003), and Garry Winogrand (1986).

Since Blue Sky is a non-profit, cooperative gallery, there are many volunteer opportunities there. There's a volunteer submission review committee (which meets once a week to consider the hundreds of portfolios that are submitted for possible exhibition). Volunteers also prepare and install the shows, support the administrative staff, and greet visitors as gallery attendants.

I figured it’d be a good way to get to know some of the other photographers in Portland and to become more a part of the photo scene, so I’ve been doing some of the greeting lately. It's nice to be immersed in everything photographic a few hours each week. It reminds me of the days when I had my own gallery in Kansas City in the 1980’s.

Portlanders: pop on in if you haven’t already. If you’re planning a trip to the Rose City and you’re interested in photography, my guess is you’ve already set aside a couple hours to explore Blue Sky. You'll love it! And admission is free.