With the closing last weekend of two of Portland's premiere art spaces, Haze Gallery and Disjecta, one might have expected the mood of the city's creative community to match the macabre zombie disguises of trick-or-treaters wandering the streets. Instead, it was a weekend of fun and celebrations, as both spaces ended their current runs with Halloween-infused costume parties. The festive atmospheres may not have resulted merely from what these spaces have accomplished in the past, but from their lofty plans for the future.

Haze Gallery's Jack Shimko plans to open Haze2 in northwest Portland, while Disjecta's Bryan Suereth is in negotiations for a large space that would take his multi-disciplinary vision to the next level. Haze2, projected to open later this year, will display national work in its primary gallery while continuing to exhibit local work by emerging and mid-career artists in a smaller connected space. Haze has provided Portland with some of its most exciting shows over the past year, and Shimko plans on maintaining this trend in the new locale with a continued emphasis on installation and cutting-edge work.

Disjecta's new plans are even more ambitious. Revamping as a nonprofit, Suereth has gathered many former Disjecta and Modern Zoo collaborators and launched plans for a large-scale professional exhibition and performance space. The new Disjecta promises to provide a steady diet of top-caliber regional and national visual shows, as well as performances, lectures, and film and video work. Declaring that "the arts organization that's only on dole is dead," Suereth plans to supplement public and private funding with income from artist studios, events, and outside gallery or retail space. The end result is an arts organization that "can begin to support itself and maintain the economic flexibility demanded by the current financial climate." Hoping to provide the city with a mid-level institution akin to Seattle's Consolidated Works or Minneapolis' Soap Factory, the new Disjecta could be nothing short of revolutionary.

These projects would be a boon for Portland's art scene, bringing in more national work without turning a blind eye to the emerging and established talent that is already here. If both plans work out, they could provide Portland with a much-needed center of gravity for challenging, contemporary art. With PICA also planning a re-launch of their visual arts program in the near future, 2005 could be a year that sees the city take a big step forward.