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 or twice 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 carved our way into the Portland art scene to create consistent opportunities to exhibit experimental work and foster creative community.
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. With the artists’ best interests in mind, we do not keep any proceeds from the sale of works and deliberately use our platform to help uplift those we work with. In the last cycle, Carnation artists utilized the gallery space to host artist talks, held ceramic, poetry, and writing workshops, a digital cloud-gazing session, and pasta-making dinner, all of which were free and open to the public. We have facilitated exhibition exchanges with Tropical Contemporary (Eugene, OR) and Outback Arthouse (Los Angeles, CA), and hosted visiting artist exhibitions from Oregon College of Art and Craft (Portland, OR), the Independent Publishing Resource Center (Portland, OR), and exhibitions from our local community through calls for proposals and a juried national call for submissions.