Portland Museum of Art’s Whitsell Auditorium reopens after nearly two years for weekend matinees

For the first time in nearly two years, films will be screened at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium.

The downtown institution announced this week that it is set to begin screening weekend matinees on February 26. The lineup will include works from this year’s Cinema Unbound Awards winners. This includes everything from the high-profile movie starring Will Smith King Richardwhich has also just been nominated for several Oscars, The hostel from nowhere—a mockumentary featuring a musician and Portlandia co-creator Carrie Brownstein.

“We are thrilled to throw the doors wide open and welcome film and art lovers, and anyone who is excited about cinematic stories in all their wild and wondrous forms,” said Amy Dotson, Director of NW Film Center, in a press release. “Like the incredible people we honor, we look forward to leaping into an untold future, free from past expectations of what can, has, or should be.”

The Portland Art Museum and the adjacent NW Film Center, like most public venues, have had a tough few years due to the pandemic. In 2020, the museum closed twice: First, during the initial spring lockdown, then again in November after COVID cases began to skyrocket and Governor Kate Brown ordered a facility freeze. indoor recreation.

The museum finally reopened in April 2021, but that did not include the Whitsell Auditorium due to ongoing concerns about the spread of the virus. Screenings have instead been moved online and even moved outside – the Cinema Unbound Drive-In at Zidell Yards has proven to be a popular pandemic attraction.

As the Film Center and museum continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, the 2022 Portland International Film Festival is postponed. The event, which usually takes place in March, will be revamped for 2023 to expand its cinematic reach.

In the meantime, the matinees will continue in March with the next Tilda-Whirl, a celebration of Tilda Swinton’s ever-evolving performances. And the Cinema Unbound Awards will take place, in person, at the Portland Art Museum on March 8.


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Reggie S. Williams