Art coordinator for Portland International Airport, artist and wilderness guide… Learn more about our Wendy Given, her unique job and love for the great outdoors.
How would you describe your job to a first grader?
In a nutshell, my job is to coordinate exciting art exhibitions for the enjoyment of travelers at PDX. I have the fun and unique role of identifying highly crafted, quality artworks and films produced by professional regional artists and filmmakers to showcase within the airport’s rotating art program. I also maintain the Port of Portland’s permanent art collection. I coordinate all the artwork movement, installation and removal at the airport. It is a dream job and so rewarding!
What’s the coolest part of your job?
The coolest part of my job is conducting studio visits with numerous regional artists yearly. It is such an honor to work directly with so many amazingly talented artists toward the goal of exhibiting their work for millions of eyes in such a vibrant public venue.
What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?
I am also a professional practicing visual artist and a wilderness guide. My artwork is influenced greatly by nature, animals, folklore, myth, and magic.
My work as a certified wilderness guide is with a local artist residency called Signal Fire, which builds the cultural value of the natural world by connecting artists to our remaining wild places. We believe in artists as agents of change and our projects foster resilience, creative energy, and interdisciplinary collaboration. We advocate for land justice and the protection of threatened land and water.
Please view my personal work at www.wendygiven.com.
What should everyone know about PDX art?
An airport setting differs from art galleries and museums by the fact that an airport has an extremely large and diverse captive audience that may not be aware of (and can be pleasantly surprised by) the exhibitions and artworks on display. The public airport setting serves a broader audience than most museum and gallery settings.
Our art program has an open call to regional artists for nine rotating art exhibition spaces and filmmakers through the Hollywood Theatre microcinema at PDX.
The art program has a wonderful blog that I maintain. I encourage everyone to subscribe to learn about our most current exhibitions and happenings at http://pdxart.portofportland.online/
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be an artist when I was growing up because my late Uncle Pieter was a very talented artist and filmmaker when he was a young man and made a very positive impact on my young life. Unfortunately, he lost his life to cancer when he was only 30 years old.