If you throw a rock in Portland, you’ll hit a designer. Then, that designer will make the rock into an ad for Wieden + Kennedy. From our best-known ad firm; to our many other, quietly successful, design outfits; to our countless free lances, making stuff look good has become not only a local cultural asset, but one of Portland’s most promising economic drivers

Design Week Portland, which takes place all over town October 9–13, celebrates the art and business of design in Portland through open houses, film screenings, lectures, and much more. Though this is the event’s inaugural year, organizers Eric Hillerns (of local design firm Pinch) and Tsilli Pines (a local independent designer) have already secured buy-in from an impressive array of Portland cultural institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Craft, digital creative agency Instrument, and PSU’s art department.    

There’ll be lots of pretty things to look at and creative people to listen to over the course of the week. Here are some of our picks:

  • The kick-off party, an evening of food, drink, and schmoozing hosted by Creative Cares, an organization that pairs nonprofits with creative volunteers so good causes can be better communicated. The party goes down at the Ace Hotel’s Cleaners space Tuesday at 7:30 pm.
  • "The Straight Six," a freewheeling panel discussion among half a dozen design practitioners, from Instrument’s JD Hooge to Alma Chocolate’s Sarah Hart. The (loose) theme of the conversation, which takes place at Instrument on Saturday at 7 pm, is “Forge.”
  • Design Crush, an exhibition where art directors from a variety of local publications—including Portland Monthly—show their work alongside the work that inspires them. It’s up at the Museum of Contemporary Craft Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 am to 6 pm.

For more about Portland arts, visit PoMo's Arts & Entertainment Calendar, stream content with an RSS feed, sign up for our weekly On The Town Newsletter, or follow us on Twitter @PoMoArt. Blog content reflects the views of the individual author and not necessarily SagaCity Media, Inc.