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First Thursday

If you’ve ever thought you wanted to learn more about art, but didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb in a pretentious or stuffy art gallery, come to Portland and experience First Thursday.

On the first Thursday of every month, art galleries in Portland (primarily in the Pearl District and downtown Portland) hold receptions and stay open later into the evening to launch their new shows. Most galleries have some kind of food and drinks available, and the artists are on hand to talk about their work. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn a little more about art, without feeling like you’ve got to be among the uber-rich to attend.

In fact, First Thursday events are popular monthly outings for all kinds of Portlanders, and while some people might take it as an opportunity to dress up you shouldn’t feel like you have to. It’s a casual environment, and most of the galleries are small, informal and inviting. For an even more informal First Thursday experience, be sure to check out the street gallery for independent artists – it’s outdoors, so only runs from April through November, but it’s a great chance to see even more local artists who aren’t represented by galleries. You can find out more about the street gallery here.

Taking advantage of Portland public transportation to visit the First Thursday galleries is highly recommended, because lots of people converge on downtown for the receptions and parking can be problematic – especially in the rainy winter months!

First Thursday Map

View First Thursday in a larger map

All First Thursday gallery opening receptions are free and open to the public, and the receptions generally run from about 6:00pm until 9:00pm (although individual gallery hours may vary). You can find a list of some of the bigger gallery names and their First Thursday hours here and some detailed shows here.

Upcoming/2012 Dates:

  • December 1
  • January 5
  • February 2
  • March 1
  • April 5
  • May 3
  • Have you been to First Thursday?

    Photo by: artinstituteofportland