Hey, social reject! Get some culture

It’s back to school time, and what better way to initiate the season than taking a stroll around campus to appreciate the natural art everywhere? The turning leaves aren’t the only beautiful colors you’ll see around campus this fall. You don’t have to go far to enjoy the artistic talents of local Portland State University students. PSU has some unique art exhibits coming to two art galleries on campus. Of course, if chancing the weather is not exactly what you had in mind to appreciate the season, a number of local art galleries offer a more reliable solution.

If you’ve ever wandered around campus looking for a quiet place to study, chances are that you have walked right past the White Gallery located in the Smith Center hallway, Room 258. It consists of two white walls, which provide the backdrop for many different mediums of art, including sketches, paintings and photography. It is currently under construction, getting some much-needed improvements, but will be ready to showcase Portland’s local talent come the beginning of October. The White Gallery’s grand opening is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 9, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The featured artist will be Ahren Lutz. His paintings provide a different perspective on topics such as morality and capital punishment. Lutz’s paintings are inspired by the last meals of death row inmates. Viewing is free, and light refreshments will be provided.The Littman Gallery is also located in the Smith Center, Room 250. Like the White Gallery, the Littman Gallery has also just recently gone through construction to revamp the space. The construction on this gallery, however, will continue through fall during the hours the gallery is closed. The Littman Gallery will be opening Oct. 9 and will be featuring artwork by Damon Ayers and Tyler Kline. According to Lisa Sorrentino, one of the assistant directors of the gallery, the best way to describe the artwork is “soft sculpture.”

Artists Ayers and Kline have described their artwork in so many words, saying, “We sharpen Ockham’s Razor with counter clockwise strokes, chiseling out a collective identity by exploring our own individual id/egos in the form of two rather different, often warring, factions.” Needless to say, the collection of sculptures will be truly unique and creative, a perfect way to experience the art culture of Portland. If you’d like more information on either the White Gallery or the Littman Gallery openings, please call Lisa or Cristina Caravaca at 503-725-5656, or log on to fpa.pdx.edu and check out the student calendar.

If you just can’t get enough of art on campus, check out the Autzen Gallery, located on the second floor of Neuberger Hall.

While you have your walking shoes on, and if you want to see a more global artistic perspective, you might as well take a jot down the Park Blocks to the Portland Art Museum. The fall exhibition for 2003 is “The Triumph of French Painting, 17th Century Masterpieces from the Museums of France.” The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday until 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. General admission is $10, but for students and seniors it is $9. For more information on the Portland Art Museum, you can visit its Web site at portlandartmuseum.org or call 503-226-2811.

Once you’ve experienced the Portland Art Museum, take a walk to 1224 S.W. Broadway to a charming building that houses the Belinki & DuPrey Art Gallery. This gallery has recently undergone a “changing of the guard,” so to speak. Erin Greeson is the new art director and has many fascinating plans to ring in the fall. One thing you should be sure not to miss is The Second Annual Celebration de Colores, which is going on now through Sept. 30. While you’re looking around the gallery, be sure to take advantage of the coffee it also serves daily. There is nothing better than art to enrich your mind and a hot cup of coffee to warm your hands. To check out more of what Belinki & DuPrey has to offer, go to its Web site at belinkiandduprey.com or call 503-227-1242.

The Pearl District in Northwest Portland has become a hot spot for up-and-coming artists. A monthly event that takes place there is called First Thursday. On the first Thursday of every month, galleries show new exhibits, often hosting (free) receptions where you can meet the artist and munch on (free) refreshments. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with local artists and explore the city’s trendiest area. You can take the Portland Streetcar right to the Pearl and explore all that the area has to offer. There are so many art galleries around Portland that it would be crazy to mention them all (though many galleries stock pamphlets mapping numerous galleries and their locations). Here are a few that are only a five- to 10-minute bus/streetcar ride from PSU, and are definitely worth checking out:

Froelick Gallery
817 S.W. 2nd Ave.

Fireborne Creations in Glass
515 S.W. Broadway

Margo Jacobsen Gallery
1039 N.W. Glisan

Elizabeth Leach Gallery
207 S.W. Pine St.