The Blackfish history can be traced to 1978, when it was born as a concept among a loose affiliation of artists who were interested in supporting each other professionally and in exhibiting their work without the usual constraints of a commercial art gallery. They rented an empty storefront and, with their own labor and skills, created an art gallery that opened in May 1979. The gallery has moved twice since that time, residing in its current space for over 20 years. By the gallery’s 30th anniversary in 2009, over 150 Oregon and Washington artists had been represented as members.

Since its inception, Blackfish has hosted a wide variety of events, including talks by visiting artists, panel discussions, site-specific installations, theater performances, literary readings, and exchanges with artist collectives from other cities, both regionally, and across the nation. Blackfish is supported almost entirely through the sales of art work and the contribution of labor, expertise and funds by gallery artists.

also of interest:

  • 21 of the artists represented by Blackfish have have participated in Museum exhibitions
  • 9 of our artists have work in museum collections
  • 10 have exhibited nationally and/or internationally
  • among our ranks are some of the finest arts instructors in Portland, teaching in public schools, and community and private colleges, and through a variety of other arts organizations