Artistic Portland - a local, cooperative retail store - opens in NE Portland
Portland, OR - Upon entering Artistic Portland, one is met with a swirling array of handcrafted goods. Shelves are piled high with organic lotion, teas, and candles. A felted neon-colored dragon sits atop a high shelf. Handbound journals, paintings, screenprinted t-shirts, ceramic art pieces, wooden furniture, repurposed doll part statues, hand-blown glass, and various types of jewelry are just some of many handcrafted items that greet visitors, at the NE Portland retail location of Artistic Portland. Every item on display is handmade by a local artisan, who is also a co-owner of the store.
"It is really nice to have a local place where you can tell someone to come look at your work, said Denise Krueger, co-op member and owner of D Krueger Botanic Art.
Just six months ago, Artistic Portland was nothing more than an idea. Formed by local Portland artisans who first met on the internet, online ideas quickly manifested into in-person gatherings of craftspeople. Their mission: to open a cooperatively run retail store that sells locally made and handcrafted goods; to share the financial burden and capital investment required to start a small business; and to share in all the responsibilities and rewards of a co-operative retail store.
On June 1, these goals were accomplished. Artistic Portland now occupies a well-lit space in NE Portland's Hollywood District. The shop features hundreds of handcrafted products. All items are locally produced, made by one of 35+ member/owners of Artistic Portland.
"The value of this place is that we are all so creative and we don't really have a great way to sell our stuff," said Krueger. "To have something really reliable and local is so valuable."
Member/owner Alia Paloma, of Uncostumed, appreciates the local aspect of running a small business, "I am so excited to help support and sustain our local economy by supporting the people in my community that create beautiful and functional works of art."
Artistic Portland is cooperatively owned and operated. All featured artisans are owner/operators of the business. Decisions are made collectively at monthly membership meetings and board meetings. Each month, through a jury process, new applicants have the opportunity to apply to become a member/owner.
"The cooperative model is infinitely democratic. It values the needs of every member, rather than simply the managers," said member/owner Gypsy Sauerwein, of Estuary Magicks. "It's an equal-opportunity idea. People are important pieces of the whole, instead of a cogs in the profit-machine. It places worth on the process and the values behind our work. Cooperatives, more than any other model I've worked with, value people."
Staffed by member/owners, the store features artists on location. All co-op members volunteer up to four days a month working in the shop. By pooling the labor of all members, Artistic Portland is open to the public more than 40 hours per week.
Says Sauerwein, "We offer soulful, quality work - an alternative to pre-made big-box buying. Since our work is produced locally, by hand, it lacks the environmental cost of factories, warehouses, and shipping. When you come into the store, and meet the artisans, your purchases turn from a business transaction into a relationship."
Artistic Portland, located at 4042 NE Sandy - in the Hollywood District - is open 7 days a week, from 11am-7pm.
Contact: To learn more about Artistic Portland, please visit the store or contact:
4042 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97212
Edited to fix links 1/15/14.