After three years of tireless documentation, the time has come to lay Openwide to rest. It comes with great reluctance, but we decided now is the time. Despite Portland being hit hard by the recession, the Portland art scene has still evolved quickly over the last three years (perhaps in response to the recession), and the need for a site which simply photographs exhibitions seems as if it may no longer exist. Portland deserves more critical responses to the great artwork being created and exhibited in this city, and unfortunately, one thing a photograph can not deliver is a critical response. Also, the time commitment involved with producing Openwide has slowly began to conflict with some of our own studio practices, to the point where it has become problematic.
I started Openwide three years ago, relatively fresh from getting my BFA, and immediately Ashley Sloan joined my side to become “co-founder”, along with Chelsea Linehan and Nathanael Thayer Moss joining to contribute all the amazing photo and video documentation they have. Our goal was a simple one. Photograph all the best exhibitions, and archive them online for everyone to see. None of us had ever been photographers (which is either self-evident in our photos or not). We were just dedicated to the cause, and I would say our scrappy team of four far exceeded our own expectations on this goal. I can’t express my love and appreciation enough for my fellow Openwiders. Over this three years, I appreciated the hard work done by Ashley so much I recently got married to her. I may not have married Chelsea or Nate to show my appreciation, but I hope they truly understand how wonderful their contribution to Openwide has been. Chelsea and Nate have even been responsible for creating some of the only documentation for many of Portland’s great performance pieces.
Ashley is moving on to attain her MFA at Portland State this year. I will be focusing on my own studio work. Chelsea and Nate will be doing the same. We have discussed the possibility of publishing a book in the future, focusing on the last three years of Portland art, but there have been no final plans. If we move forward with the book, we will be sure to keep everyone updated.
Thank you for the years of rabid fanaticism. We couldn’t have kept up the motivation without you. This certainly won’t be the last of us, and you will still be seeing our faces out at shows and around town. However, we just might be looking at the artwork with our eyes and not the lens of a camera.
Thanks for everything and keep in touch,
Calvin (and Ashley, Chelsea, and Nate in absentia)