Business Profile: Phoenix Rising Art Gallery promotes local artists

Gallery in downtown Vancouver opened in August

Malee Octavia called it a leap of faith when she moved to Vancouver seven years ago.

Other than her cousin, who suggested Clark County was the place for her, she didn’t know anyone and knew very little about the area.

Malee Octavia opened Phoenix Rising Art Gallery last summer with the goal to highlight local artists. Photo by Paul Valencia
Malee Octavia opened Phoenix Rising Art Gallery last summer with the goal to highlight local artists. Photo by Paul Valencia

She quickly learned it is full of creative people like her, who want to share art with the world.

“I like the vibes I get in this area,” she said.

In an effort to showcase those vibes, and the works of local artists, Octavia opened Phoenix Rising Art Gallery in August. It is located on the second floor at 1001 Main Street in Vancouver, above the Rosemary Cafe, on the intersection of Main and Evergreen Blvd. 

“It’s a gallery, but I call it a grassroots movement. I’m an artist representing other artists,” Octavia said. 

Her work is on display, but so, too, is the work of 16 others.

“I’m holding this space for local creatives,” Octavia said. “I only accept artists from the Pacific Northwest. I always support local, and I want to encourage people to support local.”

She said she believes there is plenty of support for science and technology, for example, but not as much for the arts.

“Without the arts, we wouldn’t have our culture, our history,” she said. “That’s what I want to keep holding a space for creative people.”

Phoenix Rising opened on Aug. 29, 2020.

“I still feel like I’m still just getting started because I don’t think that many people know about me,” Octavia said.

She came up with the name, in part, because she was opening the gallery during a pandemic, in a time of uncertainty. 

But there are some certainties: Life, and art, will go on.

“The legendary, mythical bird rises from its own ashes,” Octavia said. “That’s very symbolic of the creative process and where humanity is in our history. With everything going on, I feel like there’s a death and rebirth. I just felt it was powerful.”

Walk-ins are welcome at Phoenix Rising, but Octavia said making an appointment to view the gallery is encouraged. The phone number is: (360) 409-3817. 

The gallery can also be viewed online at: phoenixrisingartgallery.com.

Octavia described her own work as: “Bold and vibrant and unique and constantly evolving.”

And she appreciates all the other artists who have work in her gallery.

“They are just mind-blowing. I don’t think people fully realize how many creative people surround them,” she said.

“When I am in the gallery and working with other artists, I feel hope in the world,” Octavia said. “I have seen with my own eyes how the arts bring people together and cultivate culture and community.”

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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