Portland art scene offers theater, live music, mixed media for this summer

Photo of Portlanders enjoying summer evening
Courtesy of Travel Portland

Portland offers outstanding events for every art aficionado, no matter the weather. Nonetheless, the city’s art community especially thrives in the summertime. One can find almost any event related to any medium, whether it be music, the fine arts or theater. 

Start your summer in Portland by taking a lunch break at Pioneer Courthouse Square listening to Noon Tunes. Noon Tunes is a Summer Concert Series Presented by 101.9 KINK radio station in collaboration with The Oregonian. The concert series hosts local bands every Tuesday in July and August from noon to 1 p.m. 

If you are looking for larger concerts, McMenamin’s Edgefield Amphitheater hosts a wide variety of bigger acts every summer. This summer’s schedule includes Maggie Rogers, Cigarettes After Sex, Portugal. The Man and Modest Mouse. For those spending break outside of Portland, Edgefield will also be hosting a few shows early next academic year as well. 

In late June through early September, thespians can go enjoy an evening at a local park for the Original Practice Shakespeare Festival. The festival is free and takes place at various parks throughout the city, including Laurelhurst and Lents Park. Actorsuse the original practice techniques of Elizabethan England with limited rehearsal, scrolls in hand, onstage prompters and audience interaction. The company hosts around 30 performances each summer, so they are hard to miss. 

Those who want to get hands on and learn something new may want to consider taking a class at the Multnomah Arts Center (MAC). Located in Multnomah Village, MAC provides both visual and performing arts classes in various subjects, including but not limited to ceramics, textiles, printmaking, photography, drawing and painting. Prices of classes vary depending on the subject and length. The MAC also provides scholarships for non-residents and offers a pay what you can option for Portland residents. 

A more casual way of getting involved in the city’s art scene is to attend events at The Haven in Southeast Portland. This collective of painters, musicians, tech artists, healers, and tea artists is known as Portland’s “Creative Sanctuary.” Every Monday, The Haven hosts an open-mic called Psanctum that calls for musicians, poets and storytellers to show off their talents for seven minutes. 

Both celebrating the arts and exploring various neighborhoods in Portland are essential to the summer experience in the city. These are easy to accomplish by attending a monthly art walk. The first Thursday of every month, art galleries and businesses in the Pearl District and downtown open new exhibitions. This is a great opportunity for enjoying some fine art and people-watching. At the end of each month, you can catch Alberta Arts District’s Last Thursday with art openings at galleries, including the Guardino Gallery and Alberta Street Gallery. In the summertime, Last Thursdays are lively with parades, acrobats and live music on the street,weather permitting.

Finally, the Central Eastside galleries, studios and other art spaces also host First Fridays every month. Galleries featured include East Creative Collective, Sidestreet Arts and One Grand Gallery. 

If you are staying in Portland over the summer, all of these are worth checking out. You never know what you are going to find or who you will meet while out and about. The city has so much to offer for artists and art enthusiasts alike. 

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