Catching Up With our Neighbors at Guardino Gallery
In this series, Urban Nest sits down with local PDX business owners to talk shop about what makes their store or business fit so well with Portland. Learn about new neighborhoods, new businesses, PDX community and more!
Part Gift Shop, Part Art Gallery, 100% Portland Crafted
Guardino Gallery in North Portland is separated into two elements on either side of the space, the gallery and the gift shop. The gallery has featured a monthly rotation of the finest contemporary art in the northwest since its inception in 1997, while the gift shop can always be relied upon for colorful locally-made crafts. We talked with owner and curator Donna Guardino about what makes Portland the ideal city to operate her innovative and artistic space.
UN: How long have you been in business?
The Guardino Gallery has been open for almost 20 years. Next February will be our 20 year anniversary. Opening a gallery on Alberta wasn’t considered a smart move in 1997. People thought we were crazy when we took the bars off the doors and especially when we opened a gallery. It proved to be a great decision. Now Alberta is known throughout the US.
I show Northwest contemporary art & craft. I do two changing shows a month and have two rooms of shop. Portland also has an incredible art scene and wonderful artists.
UN: How would you describe the community that surrounds your business?
The community has grown and changed. But I love it here. There is a creative and quirky spirit on this street. Many people worked very hard and put in long hours to make this community vital. Neighbors were welcoming from the very beginning.
UN: What do you think makes your shop a great fit for Portland? What does PDX do that gives your store a reason to exist here?
Portland is great place to live. I like the small neighborhoods, each with a different feel and personality. The Alberta neighborhood fits me.
UN: What is your favorite thing about Portland, and why?
Alberta Street is especially great because of its food choices. My block alone has Middle Eastern, Thai, Mexican, Southern Soul food, and pizza. Another thing I like about Portland is its small businesses. Walkability factors into my choice to live here: grocery stores, drug stores, eateries, shoe stores, small shops. I also the access to public transportation and the number of bicycles I see. I feel this is a very livable city.