2018: A Year of Change

by Kelsey Halliday Johnson, Executive Director


We’re proud and thrilled to sharing our dynamic new rebrand today. SPACE has been so lucky to work with the designer Matt Poor on this crucial shift. Now Portland-based, Poor’s extensive experience in branding and design started with 17 years working in New York including projects with cultural institutions like Jazz at Lincoln Center and the New York Public Library. We’re honored by his diligent and inventive work for SPACE, the final product of which nods ever so slightly to our past while paving considerable inroads for new responsive design opportunities for our future. [Pop down to the end of this blogpost for info about our RFQ or download the RFQ PDF as move towards a new website design as well.] 

The negative space carved out by the A in our name is very much how we see ourselves, a vessel for imagination and content. As we continue to implement the many iterations Poor envisioned for this design, you’ll see us play with the natural angle carved by the A in spectrum swatches of diagonal lines as well as other letters in the alphabet that act as a framing device for photographs, images, colors, and patterns. 

Join us tonight for the First Friday Art Walk in February to celebrate the rebranding, check out our new merch screen printed by 536 Congress Street's own Little Chair Printing (members will get special $10 t-shirts for tonight only), and most importantly see the amazing new shows our staff is so excited to be opening. Dave Eassa’s bright, beautiful, silly, and joyous Stop and Smell the Roses Sometimes, Julie Gray’s tender and wondrous window installation reflecting on her grandmothers, and Spencer Keeton Cunningham’s dramatic graphic takeover of the main space.

As the shows have turned over in the past few weeks we've been thrilled to see how many people are walking through our galleries and walking down Congress Street smiling. With each of their bright pop of color, these exhibitions are making February in Portland so much more vibrant. I've been treasuring the play between exhibitions with the range of material exploration on view, from the flat graphic application of paint that Spencer Keeton Cunngingham likens to drawing on the wall, to the sumptuous overflowing oil paint application of Dave Eassa, the dynamic trio of Baltimore-based painters in Past Tense (we're so honored to have the beautiful work of Nicole Dyer, Jerrell Gibbs, and Rachel Hayden), and the joyous treasure of Julie Gray's world constructed out of paper.

While each brings me deep aesthetic pleasure, I'm inspired by their bravery in tackling tremendous personal stories in their subject matter. Gray's probing of the liminal space of a waiting room through the lens of her aging grandmothers, Cunningham's activist reclamation of symbolism tied to his Colville Tribe heritage and the Native American experience since the era of colonization, and the vulnerable candid explorations of personal identity in the paintings of Jerrell Gibbs featured in Past Tense

Between the exhibitions, a February full of diverse and dynamic programming, and our new brand, it has been a wonderful way to start the new year here at SPACE. As we move forward, SPACE is looking to to launch a new website this year. Please share our RFQ (PDF link here) for web designers in your networks. Or, if you're a SPACE supporter please consider pointing us to collaborators with known experience building dynamic websites that could host the over 200+ events, 15 exhibitions, institutional archives, and growing blog content we want to share as effectively as possible with you. Design tips and feedback can always be can be sent info@space538.org.





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