Last week, the weather made First Thursday very difficult to navigate.

[one-third]The glow from galleries in Northwest Portland is usually warm and inviting. This time around, the environment was characterized by a downpour of sadness, confused pedestrians and unfortunately, a lack of art. Luckily, First Thursday was saved by one building that made art wandering convenient on a night with terrible weather and awful street etiquette. Everett Station Lofts was filled with a wrap-around of gallery spaces. In 1989, a developer renovated the building located off of NW Everett and Broadway to create these loft spaces. Sixteen of them are reserved specifically for artists desiring gallery space. Those spaces open up for various First Thursdays every year.[/one-third]

[two-thirds]My introduction into the Everett Street Loft gallery spaces was a punk band. The space hosting the music was bright and minimal, a significant contrast to the musicians occupying it. Next door, the occupants turned their space into an arcade full of free play pinball machines. The last and longest stop was in Mari Navarro’s space. It’s easy to notice why many could be drawn into this specific gallery. At first, the clean and minimal aesthetic cleans any palate ruined by previous experiences. Navarro has established herself as a painter and designer with a clear voice through her medium. The portraits, as unconventional as they are, convey mood in a way that leaves the observer feeling a sense of understanding. Navarro has listed influences such as the Graffiti movement, the roaring 20’s, queer history, and her hometown of Chicago, IL.


I left Navarro’s space seeking more but realized that was what we wanted to see all along. Next door, the artist/occupant played the keyboard along to strangers staring down his elaborate collages. Pacing back and forth, I decided to leave things at their best. We took one last look at Navarro’s delicately placed, feminine paintings and ran out into the rain.[/two-thirds]

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Story and photos: Colette Pomerleau

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