Wise Up: Get Artsy

6 Places in Portland to Embrace Your Inner Artist

Darkroom photography to improv comedy, here are the city’s best spots to get artsy.

By Ko Ricker November 14, 2016 Published in the December 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

Pomo 1216 adult ed art class ppdxsk

Darkroom I

Newspace Center for Photography

Sure, you could take one of Newspace’s iPhone classes to better milk your Hipstamatic app—but who needs the Supergrain effect when you can produce the real deal from scratch? This introduction to creating black-and-white prints from actual film grants you 10 hours of access to New-space’s community darkroom—plus infinite old-school cred. Once weekly for four weeks or a weekend intensive, $225


Oregon College of Art and Craft

Learn to craft your own pots and vases at one of OCAC’s functional throwing classes (pictured) and never buy another fruit bowl or spheroid conversation piece again. Once weekly for six–10 weeks, $335–415


Northwest Dance Project

Northwest Dance Project doesn’t just put on some of the best dance shows our humble corner of the nation has to offer, but also opens up its 1,500-square-foot studio for “absolute beginner” adult ballet classes, which focus on posture and alignment at the barre before progressing to center exercises and combinations. “We welcome anybody that comes through the door,” says instructor Tracy Julias. 90-minute drop-in classes weekly, $16–17 per class or $130–150 for 10

Introduction to Drawing

Radius Studio

This industrial Southeast studio encourages free exploration rather than paint-by-numbers severity, allowing students—typically five to 10 per class—to develop their own drawing styles while experimenting with pencil, charcoal, and Conté crayons (of which Picasso was a fan). Once weekly for six weeks, $190

Level 1: Improv Fundamentals

Curious Comedy Theaters

Proof that this game-filled intro class banishes stage fright? Instructor Katie Behrens says students rarely skip out on the final showcase. “After seven weeks, they’re ready to jump up onstage,” says Behrens, who took classes at Curious and has performed with several groups around town. “Everybody has the ability to find success in improv and comedy. We’re just there to nurture and support the students until they can get there.” Once weekly for seven weeks, $225

iFilmmaking Series 

NW Film Center

You don’t need expensive equipment to make your auteur dreams come true. These one-day workshops unlock the secrets to professional techniques for shooting and editing with only iMovie and your preferred iDevice, ensuring your cat videos are both adorable and masterful. One-day workshops, $35–45

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