Friday February 22, 2019 | by Andrew Page

Citing legal costs and capital investments to meet new environmental regulations, Bullseye to close flagship Portland gallery in city's Pearl district

In January 2019, when the Bullseye Glass Company settled a class-action lawsuit spurred by the public outcry over possible heavy-metal emissions from the colored art glass factory's Portland facility, the company looked forward to moving on after doling out a total of $6.5 million and without admitting any blame for exposing the public to dangerous toxins, as was alleged by the community members who brought the lawsuit. Now, the 45-year-old company cites the economic impact of meeting new environmental regulations and the extensive negative publicity it endured as the factors that are forcing it to shutter its two-decade-old flagship gallery in Portland's Pearl district, where it showcased some of the top artists working with the company's glass products.

"Financial losses related to State demands and strategically orchestrated negative publicity, paired with the resultant billion-dollar class action lawsuit, cut deep into income that had previously supported Bullseye’s robust arts program," read the offical release issued by Bullseye yesterday.

“For twenty years our space in the Pearl District showcased remarkable works in kilnformed glass created by artists from around the world who use the glass handmade in our southeast Portland factory,” said Bullseye co-owner and director of the exhibition and activities space known as Bullseye Projects Lani McGregor in a prepared statement. “Our team mounted critically lauded exhibitions, steered our national residency programs, and incubated family and children’s programming. Additionally, Bullseye Projects has co-hosted an international conference since 2001 that every two years has brought approximately 300 visitors to Portland from around the world. Finally, our international competition for emerging artists, after opening in Portland, has gone on to tour the US, in museums and other arts organizations. In our current financial position operating these programs in the Pearl District is untenable.”

Bullseye Projects is scheduled to close its doors on June 1st, though some of its activities organizing touring exhibits and doing educational programming will continue as will key staff members who will be transferred to the Bullseye facility in southeast Portland. More details about the changes in operations at Bullseye Projects will be announced in the weeks ahead.

GLASS: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for 35 years.