The PDX Carpet Comes to an Art Gallery Near You

It's been the inspiration for albums full of Instagram photos, the backdrop for thousands of shoe snapshots. And now the old PDX carpet is getting its own gallery show, with art inspired by—and in some cases made from—the one-time airport staple.

By Megan Haverman July 8, 2015

Screen shot 2015 07 07 at 5.56.53 pm u1u7pi

Photo courtesy Sean Chamberlain of One Grand Gallery

It’s got over 2,000 Twitter followers, it was the finish line for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in May, and it marshaled the Rose Festival Parade in a cherry–red convertible. And now the PDX carpet has its own art show, coming to Portland this week at One Grand Gallery.

 Twenty selected artists will be showing work inspired by—and even in some cases made from—the infamous PDX carpet. Expect pieces from Nike designer William Green, Sizzle Pie owner Mikey McKennedy, and a few up-and-comers, such as emerging abstract painter Mary Weisenburger.

"It’s carpet. But people care."

It all began when the Port of Portland decided to give away the old carpet. A creative agency called Two Dogs in a Boat, which happens to own One Grand Gallery, applied. Named one of four winners in March, the agency finally received 1,100 yards in June, and went immediately to work making rugs, chairs, pet accessories, and art, under the name The PDX Project. And in collaboration with One Grand Gallery, they’re bringing it to you as a brand new show opening this Friday (July 10) in downtown Portland.

Expect carpet designs made of marijuana leaves and footprints, a PDX–inspired urn and a carpet–coffin, open and expecting. Visitors are welcomed to fill it with written goodbyes and memories. And as testimony to the appeal of the exhibition’s subject matter, One Grand has been receiving many carpet-related stories via email, some including long-distance love stories and hopeful requests for carpet squares.

“This doesn’t happen anywhere else,” gallery manager Sean Chamberlain says. “It took on a life of its own. It’s carpet. But people care.” So does One Grand Gallery, it turns out, with some of the proceeds from the show (and from the sale of PDX Project merchandise) going to various non-profits. For example, One Grand is planning a “Yappy Hour” where the money from beer sales will head to the Humane Society along with money made from sales of patterned leashes and collars.

This isn’t the first time One Grand, which opened in 2012, has said farewell to a Portland icon: last New Year’s, they held a raucous group show honoring beloved local strip club Magic Garden as it closed its doors. This time, the space is planning beer pong tournaments, trivia nights, and live music while the PDX carpet show is up. The goal is to invite Portlanders to say goodbye—and maybe take an obligatory feet-selfie, since the gallery itself will be carpeted in bona-fide PDX nostalgia for the event.

Carpet brevis, ars longa.

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