Broaden Your Horizons: Art Offerings Outside the City Limits

City saturated? These six arts organizations and venues outside the Portland area will have you thinking twice about staying put all winter.

By Brandon Staley November 19, 2015

There’s no mistaking it: Portland is a cultural hub. With our eclectic theater scene, art galleries aplenty—of the pop-up and brick-and-mortar variety—a New York Times acclaimed symphony, comics galore, nationally recognized dance troops, a slew of music venues, and a burgeoning games scene: we are a city defined by art. But it’s not like Portlanders to get complacent. There are plenty of art spaces outside city limits that deserve our attention. Here are just a few we plucked from the great, green hinterlands that you should really check out.

Bag & Baggage

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Jeremy Sloan as Gilroy Gildersleeve in Bag&Baggage's A KBNB Kirstmas Karol.

Born out of the desire to rekindle the practice of the Elizabethan traveling theater troupe, Bag & Baggage’s dream was only hindered by its own success and critical acclaim. The troupe set down roots in Hillsboro’s Venetian theater for its 2008/09 season, where it has spent the first half of its seasons ever since.

Coming up: This holiday season, the troupe will be running A KBNB Kristmas Karol, a fond reminiscence on the golden age of radio, based on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Nov 27—Dec 23).

Lakewood Center for the Arts

This Lake Oswego-based troupe has been hopping stages—from old churches to schoolhouses—since their founding in 1952. In 2003 they secured a $3 million fund to build their own stage house, which consistently sells out its 220 seats.

Currently showing: Present Laughter, which pits its protagonist against a mid-life crisis and an impending theater tour in Africa (Thru Dec 13).

 Marylhurst Art Gym

After thirty five years in the once-disused college gym of Marylhurst University, the Marylhurst Art Gym has the distinction of being one of the oldest and most creatively located galleries in Oregon. In the past the gallery has hosted everything from native art to exhibitions on humor, with a focus on Pacific Northwest art both significant and timely.

Currently showing: A retrospective of work by the late Kartz Ucci titled kartz ucci–an opera for one, celebrating work ranging from text to installation (Thru Dec 5).

 Vancouver Symphony

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Ko Iwasaki

Based out of Vancouver, Washington, this orchestra has grown to include over 75 musicians since its inception 43 years ago. The orchestra’s love for music doesn’t stop on the stage though: they’ve been organizing a Young Artists Competition—which rewards the first place winner with a scholarship and a chance to perform with the group—for 22 years.

Coming up: World-renowned Japanese cellist Ko Iwasaki (November 22).

Magenta Theater Company

This family-friendly nonprofit community theater based out of Vancouver, Washington has been taking to the stage since 2002. The new year will bring some of the theater’s largest changes since its founding when a move to a new Vancouver Arts District space will kick off its 2016 season.

Currently showing: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe runs alongside E.P. Dowdall’s Parfumerie, a comedic Christmas tale about lovers both confused and spurned (thru Dec 19).

Powell’s Books at Cedar Hill’s Crossing

How could our round-up of all good artsiness be complete without a nod to Powell’s Books at Cedar Hill’s Crossing, host to all manner of literary luminaries, which over the years have included David Mitchell, Jonathan Franzen, and recently actress and memoirist Drew Barrymore.

Coming up: A booksigning by Thing Explainer author Randall Munroe

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