MEMO BLOG Memo Calendar Memo Pad Business Memos Loaves & Fishes Letters Home
Area athletes achieve distinction
America’s largest Christmas choral festival
City, neighborhood leaders celebrate 102nd Avenue Project completion
Elmer’s exit ends era on 82nd Avenue
Council holds rare session in Mid-County
Parkrose Colts go 8-0
Fine Arts Guild decks the walls of neighborhood spaces

About the MEMO
MEMO Archives
MEMO Advertising
MEMO Country (Map)
MEMO Web Neighbors
MEMO Staff

© 2008 Mid-county MEMO
Terms & Conditions
Fine Arts Guild decks the walls of neighborhood spaces


Guild member Shirley Zuleger works on a sketching exercise – a portrait of early Oregonian editor Harvey Scott – during a Portland Fine Arts Guild weekly class. The PFAG invites students of all skill levels to benefit from the lessons offered by professional teachers who rotate monthly. For more information visit

Students gather at Russellville Grange Hall to learn trade tips and techniques from Oregon Society of Artists teacher Steve Kleier. On hiatus in December, the Portland Fine Arts Guild resumes its regular schedule of classes in 2009.
On May 1, 1969, Virginia Koch Swanson welcomed 21 fellow art enthusiasts into her home on Northeast 114th Avenue. This inaugurated the Portland Fine Arts Guild; a society founded by local artists to support and encourage the organizing of art workshops, sales and exhibits in order to increase art exposure in the Northeast Portland community. The Guild, classified since 1973 as an Educational Organization to Promote the Arts, currently draws artists from across the Portland metro area to the Russellville Grange Hall on 12105 N.E. Prescott where, in addition to holding their monthly evening meetings, the Guild offers weekly art classes to both members and the public.

The first three Mondays of the month, students of all skill levels – many of them Guild members and art teachers themselves – arrive at the Grange at 10 a.m., supplies in tow, to learn and practice in the classroom setting. Each teacher contributes a different perspective to even veteran artists through lectures, recommendations and technique demonstrations in the medium of the student’s choosing. Classes range from 15 to 20 students or more depending on the popularity of the teachers, who rotate monthly. The teachers – some Guild members who are also teachers elsewhere, published artists, college-level professors or who are part of the Oregon Society of Artists – teach in a range of media that includes watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, colored pencil and more, though according to Guild Secretary Shirley Zuleger, “watercolor predominates.” Zuleger arrives early to prepare the classroom, meet the artists, brew coffee and collect the class fees, which are $10 for members and $12 for the public. While students must provide their own inspiration, art supplies and sack lunch, the teachers sometimes share colors, bring props or examples and their own expertise to the four-hour session. Afterwards, students leave either with a completed piece or one to finish at home. All teachers accommodate the skill level and chosen medium of students, though the classes are designed to expand an artist’s perspective. “I even take the classes I’m not too interested in,” Zuleger said. “Acrylic is not my thing, but I take the acrylic classes because I benefit from them. I always learn something from new artists.”

As well as a venue to honing technique, the classes also act as a gateway into the Guild. “The majority of students join up,” Zuleger said. Many opt for associate membership, which in addition to the reduced class fee invites prospective members to attend meetings and take part in most Guild activities. Artists applying for full membership must first attend three meetings as an associate member before submitting three original pieces completed over the last year, matted and framed, to the scrutiny of three judges who approve that the caliber of their work qualifies them for active membership. This approval earns the artist entry into the Guild’s special exhibits like their spring and fall art shows, and the Hollywood Booster show held throughout December at the 42nd Street Station, 2000 N.E. 42nd Ave., where a portion of art sale proceeds benefit the Boosters. The Guild also exhibits biannually outside Multnomah Falls, taking advantage of the scenery to display and sell their works on the mall to visitors one weekend each in May and September.

Mid-county residents can view Guild works year-round and closer to home. Both active and associate members submit to revolving exhibits in local businesses and civic spaces. Patrons can view works from Guild artists inside Sportscare at Halsey Center, the Bank of the West on Southeast 82nd Avenue and Division Street, and Teamster’s Dental Center on Northeast 162nd Avenue. The public can observe new samples from different artists every three months. Other display spaces include the Frontier Bank on Northeast 24th Avenue and Fremont Street and the Hollywood Senior Center.

Internally, the Guild challenges all members by holding a series of competitions throughout the year, most currently the December Christmas card contest held at their annual Christmas party. In February, the Guild holds its works of art under glass competition (generally watercolors or pastels on paper) followed by an oil and acrylic on canvas or board competition in March. After review by outside judges, the results of both contests are announced in the categories of beginner, intermediate and advanced at the April awards banquet. Works in miniature (roughly the size of an index card) will be the featured contest of the June meeting. Other Guild events include a summer picnic and art sales held in the spring and fall.

Whether you view art as a hobby, decoration or a metaphysical experience, the Portland Fine Arts Guild seeks to improve its accessibility to both the practitioner and the public. Through classes, exhibits and shows, they draw these populations together in appreciation of aesthetics. Though the examples thereof take practice, discipline and skill to create, art requires only an open mind to appreciate it.

For more information on the Portland Fine Arts Guild, art classes and to view members’ works, see, call Shirley Zuleger at 503-257-5708 or e-mail

Memo Calendar | Memo Pad | Business Memos | Loaves & Fishes | Letters | About the MEMO
MEMO Advertising | MEMO Archives | MEMO Web Neighbors | MEMO Staff | Home