Carnation Contemporary was founded in 2018 to empower contemporary, emerging, and mid-career artists from Portland and the surrounding region. We are a member-run cooperative project space with monthly exhibitions and programming. Nearly one-third of Carnation’s artists live outside of the Portland metropolitan area, representing rural western Oregon, eastern Washington, and eastern Oregon. Witnessing the gap between commercial galleries (which exist strictly within a capitalist structure) and regularly dissolving artist spaces, the members of Carnation work together to create consistent opportunities to exhibit experimental work in the Portland art scene and foster creative community in our region.
As a member-run and -funded gallery, Carnation Contemporary supports artists both within and beyond our member base who contribute to the cultural landscape of the Pacific Northwest. We do not keep any proceeds from the sale of works and deliberately use our platform to help uplift those we work with. In addition hosting regular exhibitions, Carnation artists use the gallery space to host artist talks, workshops, participate in First Saturdays (a monthly neighborhood event)—all of which are open to the public and almost always free. We have facilitated exhibition exchanges with similarly-minded collectives like Tropical Contemporary (Eugene, OR), Wavelength Space (Chattanooga, TN), and Outback Arthouse (Los Angeles, CA); hosted visiting artist exhibitions from Oregon College of Art and Craft (Portland, OR), the Independent Publishing Resource Center (Portland, OR); and exhibitions from our community through calls for proposals and national, juried calls for submissions with guest curators.