Who We Are

Our gallery was founded in 2018 by a collective of Pacific Northwest-based artists who champion critical and contemporary artwork. We united behind a belief that emerging and mid-career artists lack support and exhibition opportunities in Portland. Our solution was to create a cooperative gallery for collaborating with and exhibiting the region’s best artists. The collective is passionate about giving artists full creative license to bring their vision and artwork to fruition, with a mission to develop a track record of strong programming, create an inclusive community, and empower our members.

Our core purpose and daily practice: 
We exist to elevate underrepresented artists and expand the status-quo of what it means to be a contemporary art space in Portland, OR. Carnation Contemporary is a laboratory where risks are taken and ideas are realized. We aim to provide a platform where our artists’ accomplishments are highlighted and serve as a conduit that connects artists with a new audience.

We do this by:
  • Providing a beautiful gallery space and trusting our artists to use it as they see fit. 
  • Having new exhibitions on a monthly basis, each member getting an entire month. 
  • Understanding the enormous impact a solo show or curatorial project can have on an artist’s ability to realize their ideas and advance their careers.
  • Championing & supporting the art careers of our peers.
  • Supporting cross-collaborations between members and the broader creative community.
  • Working to generate a stable, collaborative, and trusting environment for our members to evolve their creative practices and careers.
  • Promoting diversity in the larger creative community by offering access to emerging and mid-career artists that the community may not otherwise have access to.

Our long-term focus:  
  • Join the region’s most influential galleries in creating the standard for culturally significant art.
  • Investment in our members means larger investment in our communities. 
  • Expand the potential opportunities for artists operating in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Further expand the opportunities for Carnation Members outside of the region helping to elevate them onto a national platform.
  • Cultivate a generative network/community of artists residing in our region.

Benefits and Responsibilities of Membership 

First off the goods. We have outlined below some of the perks that come with joining in with us as a member!

  1. Each Carnation member has the gallery for an entire month on a rotating 24 month cycle. Many members use this month as an opportunity for a solo exhibition or to curate a group show. Additional exhibition opportunities include participating in group shows at Carnation as well as participating with exhibition exchanges with other galleries. As a member of Carnation, they also have access to Disjecta’s Platform Space for one night and pop-up events.
  2. Carnation members have opportunities to curate exhibitions. This includes group shows curated around a theme, two person shows, and juried shows.
  3. Carnation is a gallery but more importantly a community of artists. There are many opportunities to plan or participate in collaborations, openings, calls for shows, member exhibition exchanges, parties, fundraisers, and potentially the occasional art fair, member retreats, and much more.
  4. Carnation members have the freedom to show challenging, non-commercial work including but not limited to installations, performances, video and beyond.
  5. Carnation members retain 100% from any sale of work from their exhibition.
  6. Carnation is a preeminent arts organization in the highly visible Disjecta contemporary arts complex. Members benefit from additional traffic generated by Disjecta events such as the Portland Biennial, Annual Auction, and the curator-in-residence exhibitions.
  7. Carnation members will have their exhibitions professionally documented, and high quality images of their work will be shared on our website and social media. Members will be given their high-res edited images for personal use.
  8. Carnation members have the opportunity to learn new gallery-based skills based on their interest and motivation. The fluidity of Carnation allows members to experience a range of possible roles.

We thrive with the support of our peers. While Carnation is a gallery, it is first and foremost a community of artists. The continued success of our cooperative gallery model depends on enthusiastic support and engagement with its member base. With this awesome membership comes some duties. Listed below are some commitments you make when joining.

  • Commit to being a Carnation member for at least one cycle.
    When members join, they commit to a full 24-month cycle. Membership does not automatically renew. At the end of every cycle the larger group comes together to talk through successes and failures. At the end of a cycle, group members as a whole will recommend their fellow members for another cycle. Ultimately new members will be selected via an open call process, which will be voted on by the entire member base.
  • Participate in committees and take on additional responsibilities as needed.
    Carnation consists of committees that focus on different aspects of gallery operation, such as curatorial, grant writing, member responsibilities and protocols, gallery exchanges, and fundraising, and we have a rotating cycle of individuals with specific roles and responsibilities that keep things moving. Members are expected to be active in one or more committees and take on additional responsibilities as needs arise.
  • Come to First Saturday openings to support the current Carnation show.
    It is expected that as a member you are present at exhibition openings to help support the current member(s) show. Bring friends! We all want to benefit from everyone’s communities. Your presence and support is also necessary when we host fundraisers, member-lead workshops and pop-up events.
  • Contribute to our social media regularly.
    We are all Carnation, and with a concerted group effort our social media will reflect and represent the larger group’s presence within the community. Send us quality images of your work, you working in your studio, artists you follow or think should be highlighted, or any exhibition opening or event you attend so we can share on Carnation’s social media. Include a description and hashtags. Everyone will also participate in social media takeovers throughout the exhibition cycle.
  • Advertise for Carnation on your social media once a week.
    We all need to help spread the word about our amazing exhibitions and events. Carnation can only reach the followers we have. You all have such amazing networks, and we’re confident your followers want to know about what’s happening at Carnation. Please make sure to support your fellow members and our shows by promoting via social media or other means. 
  • Sit the gallery for a 5-hour period.
    Each member commits to keeping the gallery open during open hours Fri-Sun 12-5pm for 6 weekends each cycle. Opening and closing on time is essential. Gallery sitting weekends are assigned by a lottery system, and members may trade. Members unable to sit for scheduled days/weekends must provide a substitute. If you need to pay someone, the rate is $15 per hr or $75 per day.
  • Be responsible with your gallery month.
    Install must be complete by First Saturday at 6pm for the opening reception. If your install is completed early, you may open your exhibition that Saturday from 12-5pm. Your exhibition must remain up and open to the public for the entirety of your month. After open gallery hours on the last Sunday at 5pm when your exhibition is complete, deinstall in the allowed timeframe and return the gallery to its original state (spackle, sand, paint, sweep, and remove door vinyl).
  • Attend monthly all-member meeting + smaller committee meetings as necessary depending on the current needs of the committee.
    Carnation is a community, and it’s important that we all get together as a group on a monthly basis throughout the exhibition cycle in order to keep our community of artists engaged and connected among each other.
  • Pay a $100 non-refundable joining fee + $100 refundable deposit, and $95 monthly membership dues.
    This is how we cover rent, insurance, taxes, and additional programming.

Back to Open Call for New Members

8371 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217

Open Hours
12-5 Friday-Sunday

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