Spring Arts Preview 2023

 Remembering To Remember Benefits From Repeat Visits

The real gem of PICA's new show is in the annex—the presentation is a wonder.

Portland Mercury's Spring Arts Preview: The Look of Love

A new way to look at—and love—the arts & culture scene in Portland.

ILY2 (or I Love You Too) Takes Root

Portland's newest contemporary art venue previously existed as an emotional-support hotline and a pop-up "glamshot" photo studio at the Lloyd Center.

Hot Take at Portland State: Looms Are Computers

At Weaving Data, nine artists explore the shared history of textiles and tech.

Portland Perfumer Emily Schaber Blends Science and Art

Her COVID-born label, Shelter In Perfume, aims to tell stories through fragrance notes and complications.

Front Porch Sessions Is a Loneliness-Destroying Storytelling Show

Chris Williams' community-building series is simple in format, but built from a dense amount of knowledge and experience.

Drinks Before or After?

A guide to Portland art and performance venues, and where to talk about the show—after the show.

Your Guide to Spring 2023 Arts Events in Portland

Guillermo del Toro: Crafting Pinocchio, Hairspray, and More

Due to the nature of my profession—as the Mercury's arts & culture editor—I can't help but see Portland's amazing side. For instance, I was standing in line at a film festival the first time I heard about a series of "glam shot" portrait pop-up in the Lloyd Center Mall. 

This led to our Spring Arts cover, "Big City Times," from Robbie Augspurger's December residency at ILYToo—the latest in a series of retail residencies created by a new gallery opening in the Pearl called ILY2 or "I Love You 2."

Despite reports of our city's destruction, it's growing impressive, authentic new venues like Historic Alberta House. There Henk Pander's massive oil painting portraits of the 2020 protests served as a backdrop for the first post-pandemic show of Front Porch Sessions: A loneliness-destroying storytelling night that has become word-of-mouth legendary for both its slightly intimidating format and unexpected delivery on making fewer strangers in the world with every show.

Never sticking to conventional art genres or modes, Portland craftspeople are reaching out into the realms of fragrance—inventing and expressing themselves to new senses. They're diving back into history to weave the together the shared stories of computing and Jacquard loom technology.

And it's not just the crafters pushing the form. Established institutions like Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) are supporting soundscape artists with deft installations—bringing attention to locals like Liz Harris (Grouper, Nivhek) and visiting Indigenous collaborators like Suzanne Kite and Robbie Wing.

This year's Spring Arts Preview contains profiles of art and performance shows you'll want to go out to see and discuss, so in the spirit of treating the whole arts-goer, we've compiled a list of our favorite spots to grab a drink or dish before or after an arts event.

Actually, it's almost stressful how many cool, interesting events happen every week in Portland, so I'm lucky to work alongside the Mercury's Everout team, who have researched and rounded-up some of the best (and most fun!) art and performance events this spring.

As we turn our faces into the February Fakeout sun, and gaze forward to spring's fertile thaw, we hope you'll see this city's art and cultural scenes as we do—with a look of love. Now, let's go get glam shots at the mall.  


Suzette Smith

Portland Mercury Arts & Culture Editor