PICA is a non-profit, contemporary art center located in the heart of Portland. For more than thirty years, they have been dedicated to bringing diverse, engaging, and accessible programming. That brings together local, national, and international artists creating innovative work at the forefront of their disciplines across all media – visual arts, performance, film/video & new music.
They are one of the leading art centers in this region. They bring together a wide variety of disciplines and genres to their audiences, making it one of the best places in Portland.
History of PICA
In 2002, PICA was founded by artist and curator Kristan Kennedy as a space for contemporary art production, discourse, and experimentation. The organization has since become an internationally recognized leader in contemporary arts programming. PICA’s annual Portland New Works Festival is the longest-running experimental new works festival in the United States. In addition to the annual New Works Festival, PICA has presented over 400 world premieres and outstanding new work from around the country.
Facts About PICA
– In 2013, it was awarded the ArtPlace America Award of Distinction for its contribution to creative placemaking.
– PICA has a year-round program that includes three large-scale festivals per year – The Portland New Works Festival in January, TBA festival in April, and October’s Live Arts Exchange (LAX), an international festival of new performance work.
– PICA also has an exhibition program, artist residency program, performing arts commissioning program, and publishes the award-winning journal X-tra.
– The White Stag Block is located in downtown Portland at 50 SE Main St #210, which used to be occupied by a fur company and then a sporting goods store until it was turned into an art center for PICA.
Why Visit PICA
PICA is one of the most well-respected contemporary art centers in the United States. If you are interested in contemporary art, you should check out their programming, including visual arts, performance, film/video & new music. They have had a strong reputation for showcasing innovative work at the forefront of their disciplines for more than thirty years.
You can visit PICA on Wednesday through Saturday from 12:00 pm-close with ticketed performances on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays as well as Sundays at 12:00 pm.
What to Do at PICA
Their programming is diverse and includes various disciplines, including visual arts, performance, film/video & new music. Their most popular events include their annual Portland New Works Festival, which brings together world-class artists from around the country to present newly created work. You can also check out one of their live performances or attend a screening to understand contemporary cinema and video art better.
Some examples of previous performances include The Happy Show, a performance installation by James Coupe in which audience members are asked to “leave your worries at the door” and enter an environment where happiness is everything. Another example includes A Letter for Queen Victoria, created by Tanya Lukin Linklater. She used letters written to her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, as a source of inspiration for the performance.
If you are looking for an introduction to contemporary art and want to explore what PICA offers, I highly recommend attending their annual New Works Festival. It is one of the longest-running experimental new works festivals in the United States and showcases some of the most innovative work created today.
Ticketed performances are held on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, and Sundays at 12:00 pm. They also host free public programs every day, including artist talks, conversations with artists in residence, special guests, panel discussions, & seminars by visiting scholars. They have so much programming that there is always something interesting going on.
What to See at PICA
There are countless things to see at PICA, from the experimental art installations, film screenings, and lectures by some of today’s most exciting artists. The unique thing about this space is its goal for everyone to experience what they offer. Whether you are interested in sports or music, your kids want an afternoon with a side of culture, or you’re just looking for a place to take in some art, PICA has something for everyone.
Some current exhibitions include:
-Myth and Infrastructure by Cauleen Smith
-The Way of All Flesh by Kahlil Joseph
-Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake
-Rituals of Resistance by Tania Bruguera
-The Object Lesson by The Kitchen (New York, NY)
-And Then, I Became a Landscape by Jacqueline E. Lawton
-The Oregon Files by Various Artists
Activities and Events at PICA
PICA is a contemporary art center that offers activities and events for people of all ages. There are exhibits, workshops, classes, and performances to enjoy at PICA. You can also attend talks and tours to learn more about the displayed art. Admission is free for most events, so be sure to check out what’s happening during your visit.
Some current events include:
-Aging in Place Workshop with Jennie Hahn: Aging in Place is a workshop series designed to explore the relationship between architecture and aging. The workshops are led by Jennie Hahn, an architect specializing in designing age-friendly environments for people of all ages.
-Screening of the film The Florida Project and talk with director Sean Baker: The film The Florida Project is a comedy-drama that follows the lives of people living in and around an inexpensive motel. Sean Baker, director, and co-writer discuss his inspiration for this project and how he views the world through his unique lens.
-Performance by the Chicago band SIRENS: SIRENS features writers and singers of the band CS Luxem who came together to create music that speaks out against the political situation in America.
-PICA’s first-ever Community Day!: This is a day-long event that celebrates the diversity of the Portland community. There will be performances, food carts, family activities, and more!
-Open Studios with artists in residence: This is a unique opportunity to see where artists work and learn more about their creative process. Visitors are welcome to ask questions and interact with the artists in residence.
This is just a tiny sampling of the events happening at PICA. Be sure to check out their website or calendar for a complete list of upcoming activities.
Tips for Visiting PICA
-Arrive early to get a good spot! The space is intimate and popular performances can quickly fill up.
-There is no designated parking lot, so be sure to check the map on their website for alternative parking options.
-Expect crowds – you will see a variety of people here!
-Be respectful. This is their space, and they want everyone to feel welcome, comfortable, and safe!
-PICA is accessible. There are stairs and no elevators, but a ramp at the main entrance and restrooms accommodate those with disabilities.
-Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking on uneven surfaces and standing for long periods.
How to Get at PICA
PICA is located in Portland, Oregon. It can be found at the corner of NW Davis and Northrup. Here are some ways to get there:
-Bus #12 stops right outside their building! Get off on the N. Fremont stop, and it’s a quick walk down one block to PICA. This bus runs until about midnight.
-If you’re biking, there is a bike rack right outside their building!
-There are also a few parking options within walking distance of PICA. Check the map on their website for more information.
PICA is worth a visit if you’re in Portland! There’s always something new and exciting happening here, so you’re sure to find something that interests you.
Address: 15 NE Hancock St, Portland, OR 97212, United States
Phone Number: +1503-242-1419
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