Historical Timeline


PNCA concludes a nationwide search for its next president and welcomes new president Donald Tuski, Ph.D. who had previously been at Maine College of Art.

PNCA launches the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture a platform for cultural production including exhibition, lecture, performance, and publication.


PNCA moves into its new main building in a renovated historic building on Portland's North Park Blocks in January. The college successfully concludes its $15 million capital campaign, Creativity Works Here, in support of the new campus.


Construction begins on PNCA’s new home, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, designed by Allied Works Architecture. The flagship for PNCA’s new campus on Portland’s North Park Blocks, located in the former federal building at 511 NW Broadway.

The College launches the MFA in Print Media program.


ArtHouse, PNCA’s new student housing facility, opens on Portland’s North Park Blocks within walking distance of PNCA’s Museum of Contemporary Craft and the future Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. Developed in collaboration with the Powell Family, ArtHouse welcomes students in Fall 2013.

Portland Development Commission (PDC) commissioners support a $20.3 million loan package to PNCA for the renovation of the 511 building.

PNCA’s current Main Campus Building is sold to Seattle-based Security Properties. The net equity PNCA will realize from the $11.75 million sale is part of the financing structure for the $32 million new campus construction project. The College continues to lease back the NW Johnson campus building until it relocates to the new campus in January 2015.


2012 ushers in the opening of two new graduate programs: a Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies and an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research (CT+CR). Modeled after the successful MFA in Visual Studies Program, the Low-Residency MFA is ideal for motivated students who can work independently, who desire a flexible structure and who enjoy the challenge and community of an immersive program. The MA CT+CR program combines the study of critical theory as a mode of socio-political critique and creative research as a process-driven form of inquiry, pushing both theory and research in new directions within the context of a 21st-century art school.

In June PNCA launches $15 million philanthropic campaign, Creativity Works Here, in support of the College’s strategic move to renovate the historic former federal post office at 511 NW Broadway and to anchor the PNCA campus on the North Park Blocks in downtown Portland. The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation makes $5 million lead gift to PNCA to name the 511 NW Broadway building the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. Early gifts include $500,000 from the late Ernie Swigert in honor of former PNCA president Sally Lawrence and $100,000 from the late Ed Cauduro, who established the Ed Cauduro Scholars at PNCA in 2008 with a gift of $1,000,000 through the Oregon Community Foundation.


In 2011, PNCA launches its third graduate degree program, the MFA in Collaborative Design. Using design thinking and methodologies, students cultivate an entrepreneurial and critical approach to meaningfully address the emerging challenges of the 21st century.


The College enters its Centennial year with an unprecedented 48% growth in enrollment, making Pacific Northwest College of Art the fastest-growing independent art school in the nation. In Fall 2009, PNCA launches its second graduate program, the MFA in Applied Craft and Design, in collaboration with Oregon College of Art and Craft. The MFA boasts a curriculum focused on the development of a strong artistic voice, the realization of work for a specific community or client, and the entrepreneurism that connects making a living with making a difference. It is the only joint degree of its kind in the nation.

The College continues discussions started in November 2008 with the Museum of Contemporary Craft on integration. A joint task force of Museum and College officials meets to further explore the integration. Together, the College and the Museum hold a series of Community Conversations, as the two institutions move forward with plans to integrate the Museum into PNCA.


The College is set to acquire the 1916-era former U.S. Post Office building at 511 NW Broadway from the federal government.

Pacific Northwest College of Art announces the creation of a joint degree with Oregon College of Art and Craft. The joint MFA in Applied Craft and Design is the second MFA program at the College and is accepting 15 students for Fall 2009.


Hallie Ford, a long-time arts supporter and co-founder of the Ford Family Foundation, donates $15 million to PNCA; the largest gift to an arts organization in Oregon’s history. The gift helps the College establish The Ford Institute for Visual Education (FIVE), which extends PNCA’s intellectual and resource platform through the PNCA+FIVE Idea Studios series, exhibitions, symposia, and the development of a series of graduate programs, internationally renowned artists in residence, and other programs, all of which enrich the environment for original thinking and creative enterprise.

In fall, the MFA in Visual Studies is launched. It is the first MFA in the College’s history.


After 22 years at the helm, College president Sally Lawrence retires. Through a year-long national search, Dr. Thomas Manley is appointed President.


The College moves into a 92,000-square-foot former warehouse located at 1241 NW Johnson Street. Redesigned by Holst Architecture, the building wins the Unbuilt Citation Award for Excellence in Design from the American Institute of Architects, and the Governor’s Livability Award.

In 1981, the school changes its name to Pacific Northwest College of Art in order to reflect its independence from the museum.


Founded as the Museum Art School as part of the Portland Art Museum with Anna Belle Crocker serving as the head of the school.