The Photographic Image Gallery

In 1985 the stretch aong First Avenue in Old Town was home to an active group of galleries.  It was where William Jamison opened his first gallery.

It was also in the middle of the new Light Rail construction zone. 


This photograph appeared in the newspaper hearlding "Jazz on the Rocks". 

June, 1985---Right to left back row: William Jamison, Jamison/Thomas Gallery; Diana Faville, Attic Gallery, Jeffery Thomas, Jamison/Thomas Gallery; Hamid Maghbouleh, ICC Oriental Rug Gallery; Guy Swanson, Photographic Image Gallery.  Front row: Boyd Smith, McCormick and Schmick's; Kelly Howard, Apple Music;  Debbie Teschke, Poster Gallery; Scott Boyd; Apple Music; Ailene Forsch, Seconds on First.

Portland's Art Scene Emerges

In the early 80's Old Town Portland was ripe for the beginnings of the Portland Gallery Scene. Up until then there had been only been two or three galleries in Portland, but in 1984, the total grew to thirteen. The hightest concentration was along First Avenue between Pine and Oak streets. The Folkcraft Gallery (later became) Jamison Thomas Gallery, Poster Gallery, (Gango) Editions Gallery, Photographic Image Gallery and Attic Gallery began staging events to bring people to Old Town.

William Jamison and Jeffry Thomas on First Avenue. After relocating, the William Jamison Gallery became a landmark in the new Pearl. District. Jamison Square was named in honor of him.

Art Galleries are usually the first pioneers of gentrification, and in Old Town that coincided with the beginning of First Thursday. Soon there were lines waiting to get into all the galleries in Old Town on the First Thursday of every month.



But First Avenue became a consrstruction zone as Light Rail came through. "Lets put a grand piano on that pile of rocks and have a concert." somebody said. It was called Jazz on the Rocks, with Tom Grant, Shirly Nannetta and Ron Steen, and brought hundreds of people down to the street with blankets and picnic baskets. It ws something that the media couldn't pass up, showing up on the evening news.

Crowds gather for Jazz on the Rocks, featuring Tom Grant, Shirly Nannetta and Ron Steen.


For the following few months, barricades lined both sides of the street. With permission from Tri-Met, Art on the Rocks brought many well known artists down to an evening of painting on the construction barricades that lined the street. Well known artsit Will Martin, the architect of Pioneer Square, made his last painting that evening, just prior to his unfortunate plane crash in the Grand Canyon.

Two unnamed painters work their magic to the barricades
during Art on the Rocks


Will Martin, architect of Pioneer Square,

lays a base coat for his painting at the

barricades for Art on the Rocks.

Beginning in the late 1980's Some of the galleries moved to the new Pearl District, and from there the scene expanded to Alberta Street and the East Side. .......and the beat goes on.


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