The Philip Feldman Gallery
The Philip Feldman Gallery + Project Space is one of the first spaces visitors to PNCA encounter as they walk through the main doors of the college off NW Johnson Street. There, just up the stairs and to the left, is a doorway — a plain-enough looking doorway until you peek your head through and see what wonders are hanging on the walls, or perched on the floors, or hanging from the ceiling.
At times, there has been a flock of chickens clucking in a temporary coop, their tails decked out with Carnavalesque plumage (Laura Lima, Troca Brasil); or a sand sculpture decorated with delicate designs (Laleh Mehran, Lines Drawn in the Sand); or water cycling through oil barrels (Charles Goldman, New Country).
The gallery was established in 1999 in the memory of Philip Feldman, a third-generation Oregonian whose passions were creative work and good works. A successful businessman, Feldman’s career was nevertheless only one aspect of his life; he was also a collector, potter, lifelong art student, and tireless advocate for the arts. His friends and family joined in naming the gallery after him, hoping to create a space where students and community could interact.
As a teaching gallery, the Feldman is devoted to enhancing and supporting PNCA’s curriculum, as well as providing an opportunity for students to learn gallery management in a hands-on setting. Students are able to work and converse one-on-one with each visiting artist and, through several work-study positions, help realize each show.
Mack McFarland, a graduate of PNCA and current Exhibitions Coordinator for the gallery, describes the Feldman as “a place to see what an artist does, in a very real-life way — not a trip to the Henry where you go and it’s all up and ready … with a gallery in the school, you hear the bangs and see the running around.”
Dedicated to bringing national and international contemporary artists to Portland, the Feldman mounts six shows each year, with each exhibit on view for two months. Students participate in all aspects of the show, from details of curation to logistics of installation. Visiting artists are invited to lecture or participate in student workshops and studio visits, and each show culminates in a First Thursday opening and a Gallery Talk given by the artist and open to the public.
Event Horizon by Elizabeth Harris, May 2012.
Through Feldman exhibitions and events, PNCA collaborates with other academic galleries such as the Cooley Gallery at Reed University and Marylhurst University’s Art Gym. In addition, the College has a recurring collaboration with PICA’s TBA Festival, and upcoming Feldman offerings, such as the Illegal Art Show, will merge the talents and resources of various local curators.
PNCA provides a crucial element of experimentation to the scene in Portland’s Pearl District, a neighborhood known for its plethora of galleries. Historically, PNCA students and faculty have formed the foundation of the visual arts in Portland and have profoundly affected the cultural life of the city for generations. The Feldman intends to continue that tradition of involvement.
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