Exhibition and performance space, artists’ hub, innovative arts programmer—since its inception 15 years ago, Disjecta has blossomed from a scrappy, word-of-mouth gem into a beloved Portland cultural institution. According to founder and executive director Bryan Suereth, Disjecta—which operates in a 12,000-square-foot former bowling alley in North Portland’s Kenton neighborhood—aims to “build ambitious programs, support artists, and engage audiences.”
The nonprofit accomplishes this, in part, through its curator-in-residence program, in which arts tastemakers from elsewhere move to Portland for a year and program a full season of exhibitions. In 2010, Disjecta resurrected a Biennial of Contemporary Art, since then showcasing the most important contemporary art in Oregon, from Zachary Davis’s sculpture of connecting orbs, Baby Nils, to Kelly Rauer’s “choreographed experience” Locate. “Disjecta is conspicuous in both its vision and determination, and in the quality of the art that it presents to the community,” says City Commissioner Nick Fish, a longtime fan currently serving as the city’s arts commissioner. “Because of the creative spirit, because of the location, because of the leadership, and because of their feistiness—we’re all rooting for them to be successful.” We’ve joined the crowd.