Load Up on Local Art at the Portland Saturday Market

 In Art and Media, Events, Oregon

Every time Mike and I hit the road and explore someplace new we end up buying artwork. Our road trip around Oregon was no different. Somehow a few new pieces ended up in our trunk after a trip to the Portland Saturday Market.

This weekly artists hot spot takes over several blocks along the river, rain or shine. When we first started planning our Oregon road trip the market was number one on my list.

I love exploring local shops during our travels, but outdoor markets are where we meet the most people and have the most fun. Take out the walls and the experience is just transformed. No more stuffy establishment, just real people talking to you and showing you what they love.

Our art buying tradition started long before the kids came along when we took our belated honeymoon in Rome. It could be a painting, ink drawing or screen-printed cloth; we don’t care. If it catches our eye then it is going home with us.

As long as it doesn’t cost too much.

Coming from an art school background I think Mike and I are both drawn to local artists, especially the ones selling their work outside of a gallery setting. They tend to be young, unestablished and just looking to make a little money doing what they are passionate about.

We are happy to support them in their efforts.

On this particular trip Mike and I found two separate artists we liked. I fell in love with a photograph, while Mike started pining over a surrealist painting very reminiscent of something from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. Each sold pieces in a variety of sizes and price points, so we knew we could afford something we both loved.

We lingered the longest at self-taught painter J. Slattum’s booth. We had so much trouble deciding which painting to buy that we let Dek get in on the shopping experience. I help up 3 paintings and he pointed at the one he liked most. It came home with us that day.

If photography and surrealist paintings aren’t up your alley there was also plenty of jewelry (a weakness of mine), ceramics, sculptures, masks, home décor and even a few things to mellow out your cat.

Yes, in some ways it was your typical crafts fair, but for us, it was a treasure trove of new art we could absurd and decorate our house with; if we supported the local artist community all the better.

As I look forward to our trip to Europe this fall I am beginning to wonder where we will put any new purchases we pick up. I’m starting to run out of wall space. It might be time to branch out our tastes and find a new way to support the local arts community.

How do you support the local economy when you travel? 

Know Before You Go

  • Portland Saturday Market, 28 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204
  • Opens after 11am on weekends, March through December 24th
  • Easy walking distance from most downtown locations
  • Bring cash. Not all vendors will accept credit card.


  • Give yourself plenty of time to relax, check out the artists, grab a bite and let the kids run along the river.
  • Keep an eye on roaming toddlers. Summer crowds can make it very easy to lose little ones.
  • Stroller? Yes, although the crowds might hold you up, especially in the summer. A baby carrier could make it easier to maneuver. Or you could just use your stroller to mow people down. Either will work just fine.

Keryn Means
Keryn is the founder and editor-in-chief of Walking on Travels, an award-winning site that gives hope to today’s active parents who don’t want to stop their lives; they simply bring their kids along for the ride. Keryn utilizes her project management background, along with a masters degree in journalism and an undergrad degree in photography to the team to create dynamic content and a vision that keeps up with the latest technology and trends. You can find Keryn dragging her 2 boys around the DC area most days and across the globe several times a year. Follow along on their adventures on Instagram and Pinterest.
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Showing 3 comments
  • Lisa Wood

    We love Markets! But have to be careful not to buy too much because there is no room to put it!
    But we do buy the local homemade Biscuits/Breads and/or Lemonade. That is the way we like to support the local community whereever we are.
    Maybe you will have to take photos of your art that you have, and store it for more room! Or even Auction it off so that you have space for the New Pictures to hang up!
    Love the Tin Man Photo.

  • Julian

    Does anyone know the name of the artist and a way to contact him who makes those clay looking heads that sort of look like aliens. Theres a picture of his artwork in the above content but theres no contact information for the artist.

  • Julian

    Does anyone know the name of the artist and a way to contact him who makes those clay looking heads that sort of look like aliens. Theres a picture of his artwork in the above content but theres no contact information for the artist.

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