In Tualatin, a Cedar Hills woman is continuing her once-Portland-based, award-winning art gallery — the mission of which is to support artists in various stages of mental health.
Jennifer Pepin recently opened her J. Pepin Art Gallery in Bridgeport Village shopping complex. Pepin, who lives with bipolar disorder, previously ran her art gallery in Portland's Pearl District for almost eight years before deciding to head to the suburbs.
"To my knowledge, there aren't any other for-profit galleries with a 100 percent focus on mental health; particularly with the approach of being like any other high-end gallery and each artist sharing their statement around mental health alongside their work," she said.
Pepin said when she first opened in Portland, her main focus was featuring artists diagnosed with mental health issues. Artists would talk about their mental health creativity and how that creativity really keeps those mental health challenges at bay.
Now, she also shows artists who don't have a formal mental health diagnosis.Â
"That conversation has evolved over the last eight years and the focus now is 'we all have a mental health, just as we do a physical health,'" she said.Â "I certainly think the pandemic has accentuated this, and the hope is that regardless of whether you are diagnosed or not, this gallery makes it okay to talk about one's mental health."
An artist herself, Pepin started painting more than 15 years ago when a friend gave her an arts and crafts set and it "just kind of blossomed from there."
Pepin said the Pearl District has changed significantly over the years, which in part precipitated her move.
"I was looking to relocate but I hadn't really thought of specifically where and I have a friend who's project manager for CenterCal, and so she said, 'Have you ever thought of Bridgeport?'" Pepin recalled.
CenterCal Properties is the commercial real estate company that owns Bridgeport Village. It also owns the Nyberg Rivers and Nyberg Woods shopping centers in Tualatin.
So how does Pepin like Bridgeport Village and the fact she's opened one of the few fine-art galleries in the area?
"I love it," she said. "It's like a little village. Dogs are allowed."
Pepin said her art gallery is set up like a cozy living room complete with a coffee table, plants and blue "chat chairs."
"I just want it to feel like a home," she explained, "so people can really picture the artwork in an environment they'd like to have it in."
Pepin's gallery currently features a group show, which contains works of all of the artists she represents.
Pepin's plans are to change the artist lineup every six weeks.
Pepin moved from Northeast Portland to Cedar Hills two years ago. She loves walking her dogs around Commonwealth Lake in her spare time, she said.
Of sandwiches, presidents and 'The Wire'
Those looking for an off-beat place to grab a sandwich will only have to wait a few months longer.
Bunk Sandwiches, Beer Hall & Arcade is expected to open in Bridgeport Village this winter.
The restaurant takes its name from Detective William "Bunk" Moreland, a fictional character from the popular crime drama "The Wire," which ran on HBO from 2002 to 2008. Former President Barack Obama once named the series as one of his favorites.
Signature sandwiches at the restaurant will include the Pork Belly Cubano, the Meatball Parmiagano Hero, and the Italian Cured Meats.
— Ray Pitz
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