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August 1, 2023

THE GALLERY IS ALIVE! ALIIVEE!- Carin Carrion, BFA Illustration 2025

by ccarcas

As my time at the Q Center is reaching its final weeks, I finally can spill the beans on my journey in learning about galleries and coordinating a community artist gallery show. In the beginning of June as I was getting my bearings, I received the green light in having a gallery show in the Q Center, and at the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival. At the same time, I was introduced to Geeta Lewis, an artist and elder in the community, from her I got to learn about various do’s and don’ts in setting up a gallery space and the many MANY types of hardware used for preparing artwork to hang. She also told me about her upcoming art shows at the Portland Art Museum, and the Ori Gallery, a gallery space which provides a space to amplify the voices for queer artists of color.

Geeta currently and previously has made comic work alongside her gallery pieces. The gallery pieces she has made confront different aspects of Portland such as gentrification and racism, alongside these themes she uses the canvas to express and show members to the Portland community as one of her recent projects is to paint 100 portraits of the people in her community. Also last week was the opening of Geeta’s show at the Ori Galley!

During my first four weeks Geeta Lewis prepared me heavily for the storm that was coordinating the Q Center Gallery.

Before making a post for submissions of the Q Center’s social media I created a form for submissions and due to the limited space, we had at the gallery we planned on closing submissions when the submission reached around 25 or at the very least a week before reaching out to artists who submitted to coordinate with them on when they could drop off their work at the Q Center. After creating the form, I finalized two advertising drawings, the bigfoot one was for our social media and the one of the characters was used in the lobby area of the Q Center.

During the time we were receiving submissions it was brought to my attention by my coworkers on the multiple uses the Q Center Gallery had for the community as a space for support groups. The work shown at the gallery not only had to fit the space but also have a consideration for the people in the space with the work, and to coordinate the work in a many which would not trigger a member of a support group. In the end, we were still able to accept most of the work submitted into the gallery and accommodate the support groups. In the mornings I would take down a few art pieces which might be a problem for a support group and once the support group has finished for the day I would hang the pieces back up just in time for the gallery hours during the week.

Not long after the opening of the gallery would be the community gallery’s next adventure to Portland Pride Waterfront Festival. Which was later this year to avoid the festival interfering with June 19th and because in July there was much less of a chance it would rain and make the festival very muddy like last year. And so, I worked with my supervisor to transport all the artworks to the festival, and I helped set up the area and monitor the space during the festival. It was really lovely seeing people excited with various pieces and seeing some of the artists themselves come by to see the gallery there. After packing up and returning the artwork to the gallery, I created a thank you post for the community and the artists. A small problem I ran into was the photos I took of the gallery space were a bit barren of people hahahaha that’s what I get for taking photos before the festival had opened LOL. So, I decided it would be fun to feature the Q Center pride mascot submissions taking their own gander at the gallery.

SORRY I LOOK SO DEAD IN THE LAST PHOTO HAHA the excitement from proposing one last project relating to zines at the Q Center kind of wiped me. I’ll let you all know how that all goes on my last day next week WOW! Anyway, feel free to stop reading at this point as a ramble on my thought process for how I organized presenting the work in the galley. So, I organized the walls by four themes more less: bonds, abstraction and living, the body and then leading to nature in the final wall. I mainly did this through not only how the pieces looked to me from both first impression to me as the viewer and then reflecting on the artists statement from the artists and how they all kind of hold a flow of connection to one another despite being various subject matter. This pretty much concludes my second to last post. Thank you for reading 🙂

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