Art for democracy in downtown Portland

That familiar inertia and reluctance is still with us and it’s the dominant trend. Statistically, someone under thirty is very aware of every political nuance but still not registered to vote.

You could mix your fun and civic duty by checking out an event called Art for Democracy at Gallery 500 in the Bullier Building, 420 S.W. Washington St., suite 500. On Friday Oct. 8 at 8 p.m., Gallery 500 is collaborating with MoveOn and the Young Voter Project to give you a night of music, art and a chance to participate in democracy.

Their aim is simple: to lure people in with hot paintings and cool bands and then corner them at the front door: Are you registered to vote? No? Then no entry, unless of course you want to sign up right here. Sort of like the velvet rope, reinterpreted.

This “velvet rope” is a table manned by MoveOn and the Bus Project, groups designed to agitate regular community members into participation. MoveOn realized some time ago that although the power is rarely with community members – people like you and me – we can still make a difference. MoveOn mobilizes the vote by reaching out to various factions in the potential voter well.

Most of the Bullier Building will have its doors open on this night, starting out with Kelly’s Olympian on the ground floor. From Kelly’s Olympian, you can move up to Revolver Studio on the second floor for some live music. Proceed from there to Gallery 500 on the fifth floor for ambient sounds and an exhibition filled with art superstars. And if you feel like being discreet and laid back, the Bullier Cigar Club on the sixth floor with give you a place to chill while watching the presidential debate at the same time.

And it’s all free! Full or partial proceeds from all art sales will be donated to MoveOn.

The artists who have agreed to be a part of this special exhibition are some of the who’s who in the Portland art world: Tom Cramer, Paul Green and Eric Stotik. But it’s not a Gallery 500 show without the new and the fresh, so you can also check out artists like Paul Fujita (a PSU graduate) and Eugenia Pardue. Horia Boboia, an assistant professor in painting here at PSU, will also exhibit at this show.

For most of this month Gallery 500 will be closed for renovation, but it will be open for this special event.