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Last week I visited the North Coast Seed Building’s annual open house. Going on for 22 years now it is perhaps the most Portland event anyone can attend. The building’s occupants are fondly dubbed seedlings and there is profound sense of becoming in these spaces. Touring spaces like this is like experiencing an anatomy of the City of Portland. Yet spaces like this have been disappearing such as; Town Storage, Worksound and Recess, all of which are no more.

Yes there are other landlords who get it like Brian Wannamaker and Al Solheim but If I were to nominate anyone for the reinstated Oregon Governors’ art awards Ken Unkeles (owner of the NC Seed building and others) would be my top pick. June 30th is the deadline. Frankly I’d like to see these awards avoid the typical roll call of higher profile patronage names and also include those who have had a less heralded catalytic role in Portland’s very robust cultural ecosystem. Artists simply need spaces to work and show and Unkeles’ approach as you can see just from some of the artists below has had an impact… essentially creating the equivalent of a cultural coral reef.

North Coast See Building

Bonnie Croissant is doing interesting things with macrame


Nathaniel Thayer Moss is one of Portland’s best painters and has worked with the excellent Meow Wolf folks in Santa Fe

Chelsea Moss is doing interesting things with muppet-like early sci-fi sculpture
Emily Nachison often blends fantasy and glass

Eli Coplan is doing interesting hacks of somewhat recent technology to create some original abstract/specimens.

The award winning Cynthia Lahti

Rothko has a great presence here

Lauren Carrera’s The Nuclear Family: Ascent of Man… Installation at Museo Du Profundo Mundo… might be an overly long title but I enjoy a good museum diorama in a vitrine.

and the seedlings respond in good nature

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