Art From the Heart

Art From the Heart
3505 N.E. Broadway Ave.
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Art From the Heart is a state-sponsored art school and gallery whose mission is to provide holistic employment for developmentally disabled adults. Four staff members and a few volunteers accomplish this goal by providing daily arts and crafts workshops and studio space for developmentally disabled artists. In existence since 1994, the program moved to its current location five years ago and has blossomed ever since. Work from this studio has been shown in various spots around town including Equinox, Violet’s Cafe, and the Alberta Co-op.

I know what you’re thinking, you art snob you: that this isn’t real art I’m talking about. It’s art from the heart – the quaint kind. Think again. I’m letting you in on my little secret: the art here does not belong in a museum. Yes, it’s that good. The artists make vibrant, creative, passionate, quality works of art that deserve more than a place on the wall: they deserve loving homes.

Even though their winter show, "Height, Width and Depth: A Winter Show in 3 Dimensions," has passed, a visit to the studio provides worthwhile viewing. On display is work from a pool of around 25 artists, most of it available for sale. The curriculum changes quarterly and the artists-in-residence create a wide array of artwork in multimedia including printmaking, painting, sculpting, weaving, bookmaking, woodworking and mixed media. Art From the Heart has extended the reach of art to include theater, puppetry and even doll-making.

Their semi-annual shows fully exhibit the wide range of creations, but in-between shows their studio is open to the public. Currently on display are works in a variety of media, including abstract paintings by David Marquoit, Terry Holt and Dolly Render.

David Marquoit has been creating art there since 1998, but began to focus on painting in 2001. His ability to capture movement on canvas is stunning. He creates the majority of his paintings on square canvases, consistently framing the way he sees and creates his work. Two of his paintings currently on display, "Walking in the Garden" and "People Walking in the Forest," evoke a damp, earthy darkness infused with botanical warmth of reds, pinks and greens while the large, forceful brushstrokes move you along the walk. "Giraffe in the Zoo" utilizes vibrant turquoise and orange colors that seem to have become signature of his giraffe-themed work.

Terry Holt often works with themes of circles, numbers and bicycles – how much more Portland can you get? Holt has been an artist at the studio for over 10 years, and his seniority shows in his work. The paintings on display show a confidence in their placement of shapes and brushstrokes. Holt is one of the most accomplished artists on display. "Circles Between Brown" beautifully combines his thematic circles and numbers in a display of art equivalent to math rock on canvas.

Dolly Render’s "Wing" and "Orange Shoes" are two of the loveliest abstract pieces currently in the studio. The fluttering brushstrokes that create "Wing" are somehow not redundant or cliche, but instead apt and almost exciting. The sensational strokes and colors that make up "Orange Shoes" continue the feeling of excitement that her work stirs in the viewer.

Stop by Art From the Heart Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to view these works and more. Buy some art for everyone on your holiday gift list. That’s right: here you can afford to buy art for yourself, and you can also give it away at these prices! Most paintings throughout the studio are priced between $30 and $70. Also available at the gallery are prints by Marquoit and many others, including the minimalist "Caged" by Brenda Thomas. Prints cost between $10 and $20, or a bit more if framed. Other pieces vary from handmade cards and blank books to collaboratively created large mosaic tables and mixed-media pieces. Some of the more elaborate works cost up to $300, but prices start at $2, so there is something available for almost any budget.