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, Oregon. 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 being featured in a two-person exhibition for one month.
  • Understanding the positive impact a two-person exhibition or curatorial project can have on an artist’s ability to realize their ideas and advance their careers.
  • Championing the art careers of our peers at all levels and supporting a diversity of artists. Carnation welcomes applications from BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+ community members, people with disabilities, and others who are underrepresented within the arts.
  • 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 visibility 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. For the 2022 cycle, each member will be paired with another Carnation member for a two-person show or curatorial project for one month. The decision to present two-person exhibitions for the 2022 cycle reflects our interest in the generative energy that can come from collaboration and an interest in extending Carnation membership to as many artists as possible.
  2. Additional exhibition opportunities may include participating in group shows at Carnation as well as participating in exhibition exchanges with other galleries. As a member of Carnation, they also have the opportunity to access and utilize Oregon Contemporary’s (formerly Disjecta) outdoor courtyard area to host events with the approval of Oregon Contemporary.
  3. Carnation members have opportunities to curate exhibitions. This includes group shows curated around a theme, two person shows, and juried shows.
  4. While Carnation is a gallery, it is first and foremost 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.
  5. Carnation members have the freedom to show challenging, non-commercial work including, but not limited to, installations, performances, video and beyond.
  6. Carnation members retain 100% from any sale of work from their exhibition.
  7. Carnation is a preeminent arts organization in the highly visible Oregon Contemporary art complex. Members benefit from additional traffic generated by Oregon Contemporary events such as the Portland Biennial, Annual Auction, and the curator-in-residence exhibitions.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 members. 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 12-month cycle. Toward the end of every cycle the larger group comes together to talk through successes and failures, and members have the opportunity to renew membership. 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, marketing, 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 and support Carnation exhibitions, fundraisers, and events.
    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 can also participate in social media takeovers throughout the exhibition cycle.
  • Advertise for Carnation on your social media regularly.
    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 Sat-Sun 12-5 PM for at least 5 gallery shifts each cycle. Opening and closing on time is essential. 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 6 PM for the opening reception. If your install is completed early, you may open your exhibition that Saturday from 12-5 PM. 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 5 PM 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).
  • Regularly attend monthly all-member meetings + smaller committee meetings.
    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 $70 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 Saturday-Sunday

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