In Person

Periodically in Photo Happenings I post a conversation
with a personality in the photography world in Portland.


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A conversation with Kerri Rosenstein

I first met Kerri while I was volunteering at the Photolucida Meeting Place in 2007.   She was a reviewer, representing Gallery Saintonge where she was the Gallery Director.

"Janet and I were in Missoula,” remembers Christopher Rauschenberg, “visiting Lucy Capehart,” (whose recent show opened atBlue Sky last month). “We invited Kerri to review to offer people shows in her gallery.”

Kerri has come and gone since then while teaching for Caldera’s youth arts program and recently moved full-time to Portland.  We met for tea on Alberta near her home to talk about what's gone on and what's goin' on for this next phase of her journey.

I asked her when she decided to be an artist.  Thinking for a moment, Kerri said, “I don't think it was something I decided.”  She then shared about how in high school she stopped taking lunch periods to spend time in her art studio in the back corner of the art classroom.

After graduating in psychology from Gettysburg College, Kerri spent a summer backpacking around the Western US, and then lived in a trailer in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest while working as a ropes course facilitator at an outdoor learning center near Mt. Rainier.   A couple of years later she moved to Missoula, where she earned an MFA in painting and drawing from The University of Montana.

During grad school, “I started organizing art shows at a hot spot café, as well as exhibiting my own work in galleries.”   Wes Mills moved to town the same year Kerri did and they have worked on projects together ever since.   Namely, they ran a gallery called Farm Artspace where they did shows including well-known artists such as: Pentti Sammallahti, Agnes Martin, and Richard Tuttle, as well as locals such as Roger Walker and many others.   After a successful run, they closed the gallery to pursue other opportunities.   Kerri went on to work at an organic farm in the Bitterroot Mountains while focusing on her artwork and teaching. (Wes recently had a show of new drawings at PDX Contemporary Art in Portland).

Neil and Jeanne Chaput, the owners of the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, used to come to see their exhibits.   They also owned Gallery Saintonge and soon after Farm Artspace closed they approached Kerri to run their space.

“I ran Gallery Saintonge for about 5 years, featuring photography-based traditional, contemporary, and alternative works by regional, national, and international artists, as well as from private collections.”  

It was while at Saintonge that Kerri first came to Portland as a reviewer at Photolucida.   About the experience she said, “I reveled in one meaningful conversation after another, acknowledging the impact we have in every interaction.”    Upon her return to Missoula, she created, led, and taught an event/course called “Portfolio in Progress” for RMSP for the next few years.  “I wanted to support the students continuing to personally and professionally move forward doing what was authentic to them.”

In 2008 she did an artist residency at Caldera in Sisters, Oregon. “After an intensely focused and solitary time there I came home and two days later my father died suddenly.”   She dedicated herself wholeheartedly to a project in his honor titled “father.”

On daily walks she collected 23,024 stones and painted them rose color.    ROSENSTEIN means “rose” “stone” and the number signified the days of his life.

In the summer of 2009, “father” was exhibited at the Missoula Art Museum. It was later shown at Miami Art Basel, in the Houston museum district, and at the Inner Harbor Baltimore.  Visitors were invited to take stones to redistribute it back into the environment.  

Kerri mailed one to me that I placed overlooking the Metolius River in Central Oregon.  
You can

For the next 4 years she traveled extensively, both nationally and internationally, and continued to find that “if you make yourself vulnerable, the world opens up.” “Every world is everywhere” she realizes.

Throughout those years she intermixed month-long residencies, cycling tours, intensive studies in health, yoga, and meditation, as well as teaching, curating, writing articles, and freelance jobs and other odd experiences.





Upon returning from 6 months in Asia in 2012, Kerri was hired as an artist  assistant for Jim Denevan in Santa Cruz until returning to Oregon to teach for Caldera’s summer program and backpack with Signal Fire.



A friend had introduced her to Signal Fire years prior. “It is an outstanding organization that brings together many components of my life – my loves of art, wilderness, teaching, adventure, solitude, and community.”


After doing an artist residency with them in Eastern Oregon and being a visiting artist on several trips, she is now an instructor/guide for Signal Fire.   This summer, Kerri and Ryan Pierce (Signal Fire’s co-founder) will lead a Wide Open Studios four week trip Crossing Cascadia.   Accredited through Oregon College of Art and Craft, the course will focus on discussions and projects pertaining to art and environment.

Additionally, Kerri was recently invited to be the Art Editor for High Desert Journal, a literary and arts publication started in Bend. 

Kerri also has started a website, Relevant Honey, that is taking shape with a focus on “holistic health mentoring and other significant sweetness".

After years of “encouraging students to do what they love and to be willing to take all the chances in the world to make that happen,” this is what Kerri appears to be doing.

She talked with me about a group of drawings she made after traveling in Tibet in 2006 called “diamond drawings,” explaining that diamonds represent the multi-faceted nature of all things and the indestructible wisdom within each of us.   I commented that it sounds like "The facets of your life are coming together.”

Her bio reads that “she integrates her artwork with all aspects of her life, curating, teaching, and mentoring for various organizations and arts venues. In addition to degrees in Psychology and Visual Arts, she holds certifications in facilitation-based work, as well as holistic health and nutrition.

Kerri contributes extensively to arts and outdoors youth programs, has worked as a wilderness guide and challenge course/team-building facilitator, and has been published in arts and adventure publications (including Versal, High Desert Journal, and Adventure Cyclist).”

She can be reached at

Her website is