Visual Arts

Visual Arts at First Presbyterian Church

Our Visual Arts Committee maintains a full calendar of curated art installations from local and regional artists across the Pacific Northwest. The installations are located in the church’s Chapel Gallery. Visitor hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, and Sundays from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Please head to the church office on 13th Street for entrance into the gallery.


December 3 – January 28

Paying Attention

Charcoal Portraits & Oil Paintings

By Nathan Seay


These portrait drawings are from a body of work created at High and Low Gallery as part of an impromptu project started by the sculptor Jim Gion. Many of you might remember Jim- he would wheel around his homemade mobile studio- a cart with bicycle wheels that enabled him to sculpt portraits in clay out in the field. His subjects included anyone he could coerce into posing for him, usually near the Stumptown coffee on 34th and Belmont. We quickly became good friends, united in our interest in people and obsession with portraiture. Jim had the idea to pay local homeless people to sit for portraits- $30 for an hour or so of their time. He worked in his preferred medium of clay, and I worked in charcoal. Neither Jim nor I would have described the project as a humanitarian endeavor- we wanted to do portraits, the sitters wanted to get paid, and it was a win-win. Many of the sitters were very enthusiastic about the portraits being made and would chat with us throughout the session. Some were uninterested in conversation and patiently waited for the cash promised to them at the end of the session. I’ve never really known what to do with these portraits. Waving the banner of humanitarianism, and designating these portraits as a part of a grand mission has never fit. For Jim and I, we just really enjoyed the process and felt that it was worth doing. If I were to describe the creation of these artworks through the lens of romanticism, however, I would say that the act of paying attention closely is an act of love. Many of the sitters were used to being ignored, and I was often surprised by how easily they opened up during the sessions. This exhibition is a tribute to my late friend Jim Gion, and all the sitters who participated.


Opening Exhibition & Reception

Sunday, December 3

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Refreshments will be served


Chapel Gallery Hours:

Tuesday – Thursday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm & Sundays 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Join Us for Worship Service

Every Sunday at 10:30 am

First Presbyterian Church
1200 SW Alder Street
Portland, Oregon 97205

Tel: (503) 228-7331