Monday, July 31, 2017

RIP Newspace

Portland's Newspace Center for Photography abruptly closed as of July 7, citing financial distress.


When Blue Sky opened in Portland it was a counterculture answer to the Cameraworks gallery -- founded by Minor White students and firmly dedicated to that genre of photography.  (Cameraworks recently hired a new curator and has become quite a bit more eclectic.)

Newspace, 15 year-old NFP was, in my opinion, a counterculture answer to Blue Sky's emphasis on cutting edge and experimental work.  But it was also a lot like Photographic Center NW (PCNW) in Seattle was in its earlier days.  They had a rental darkroom, rental studio, and offered classes and workshops staffed by local photographers in addition to having a gallery space.  They were in a low-rent light industrial building in NE Portland -- a bit off of the beaten path but only a few blocks from the streetcar line.

My immediate mental image was that of their landlord wandering in and announcing a 150% rent increase to cash in on the gentrification of the neighborhood.  

Well, I don't know if it was 150% but Blue Sky's newsletter had an item bemoaning the demise of Newspace and it emphasized how lucky Blue Sky was to own their space.   Hmmmmmm.  

It's wonderful that PCNW and Blue Sky each had a sugar daddy (or mommy) to help bankroll buying their space but it's too bad that Newspace didn't have one too.   

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