News Archive

Precipice Fund Grants For PNCA Alumni and Faculty

Congratulations to all of the grant recipients of the new Precipice Fund, announced last night at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA). Projects by PNCA faculty and alumni were included in the list of grantees from this new fund seeded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Portland’s Calligram Foundation. Among the recipients were faculty member Carl Diehl for Weird Shift Storefront; alumna Rebecca Peel ‘13 and current student Jonah Porter ‘15 for Amur Initiatives; Anna Gray ‘08 and Ryan Wilson Paulsen ‘08 for Not Too Distant Futures; and C.O.P.S., a free conceptual performance school co-founded by Sean Carney MFA ‘09 and faculty member, Michael Reinsch MFA ‘09.

Posted on 12/11 at 09:48 AM

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Collaboration Between Science and the Arts

In a collaboration between science and the arts, PNCA Animated Arts students Beryl Allee and John Summerson worked with scientists and publicists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to produce an animated short on the importance of shoreline habitat for salmon. You can read more about the the animated video, which was just released, in this Untitled article.


Posted on 12/06 at 03:57 PM

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PNCA at Portland Biennial

A number of PNCA faculty and alumni have been selected by guest curator Amanda Hunt of LAXART (LA) to participate in Portland2014 Biennial at Disjecta. Congratulations are in order for faculty members Modou Dieng, Ellen Lesperance, and Abra Ancliffe (Personal Libraries Library) as well as Alex Dolan ‘12, Devon Van Houten Maldonado ‘13, and Antonia Pinter (Publication Studio).



Posted on 11/18 at 11:22 AM

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City Supports 511 Project

A historic partnership between Portland Development Commission and PNCA became a reality as the PDC commissioners enthusiastically supported a $20.3 million loan package for the renovation of the 511 building, the College’s future home. The public financing is one of PDC’s largest loan packages ever and is seen as key element in not only PNCA’s vision for a campus centered on the North Park Blocks but also as a key element in the revitalization of the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood.

“If you’re looking for a catalytic project to kick things off in that part of Old Town, I mean I think this is as good as any and could be the first of many big projects that happen in that four or five square block area,”  stated PDC executive director Patrick Quinton.

The financing is part of a $32 million renovation budget which includes a $15 million capital campaign—Creativity Works Here—which is now well over the $11 million mark.

Renovation of the building, known as the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, begins before the end of the year and PNCA will move into its new campus in January 2015.


Posted on 11/13 at 04:56 PM

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PNCA moves one step closer to a North Park campus

PNCA moves one step closer to a North Park campus with the sale of the Main Campus Building to Seattle-based Security Properties.  The College will continue to lease back the NW Johnson campus building until relocating to the new campus in January 2015. The net equity PNCA will realize from the $11.75 million sale is part of the financing structure for the $32 million construction project, which will transform the current federal building into the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. Work on the project is scheduled to begin this fall.  Interest over PNCA’s transformative move is growing and the College’s capital campaign—Creativity Works Here—is well on its way of meeting the $15 million goal with recent gifts pushing the total over $11.2 million.

Posted on 10/03 at 01:44 PM

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Launch of RVW on UNTITLED

PNCA’s online magazine, UNTITLED, launches a series of exhibition reviews by students and alumni. RVW is an occasional series of reviews of Portland-based exhibitions. This week, Melody Rowell, MFA CD ’15, considers the recent Museum of Contemporary Craft Exhibition, Object Focus: The Bowl.

Posted on 09/30 at 09:30 AM

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ArtHouse Opens and Portland Notices

The academic year kicked off with the opening of PNCA’s first-ever student residence hall—ArtHouse. The striking aluminum-clad building marks the next step in the College’s North Park Blocks campus expansion and the media took notice including the Portland Tribune in the article Arts Campus Rises from Creative Thinking.

Along with the Portland Tribune article, the opening of ArtHouse garnered over 20 articles as well as broadcast coverage.

Posted on 09/05 at 04:09 PM

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PNCA Announces Winners of the 2013 Hannah Arendt Prize

Pacific Northwest College of Art’s (PNCA) MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research Program is pleased to announce that Stéphanie Bertrand of Thessaloniki, Greece, and Nate Harrison of Brooklyn, New York, have been awarded first place in the 2013 Hannah Arendt Prize for original writing on Critical Theory and Creative Research for their essays “Dropouts” and “Immanence of Intervention, Revival of Critique,” respectively. The quality of their ideas and the level of writing were so high that the judges could not decide between them, and, thus, the two will share the prize and the $5,000 cash award. The competition elicited submissions from applicants hailing from 34 countries around the globe, and was determined by a distinguished roster of judges. This year’s theme was On Art and Disobedience; Or, What Is an Intervention?

You can read the full announcement and the winning essays on UNTITLED.

Along with Anne-Marie Oliver and Barry Sanders, Founding Co-chairs of the MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research at PNCA, the judges for 2013 included: Claire Bishop, Professor of Contemporary Art, Theory and Exhibition History, Graduate Center, The City University of New York; Judith Butler, Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, The University of California, Berkeley, and Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy, Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien/EGS; Barbara Duden, Professor Emerita, Leibniz Universität Hannover; Julia Kristeva, Professor Emerita and Head of the École doctorale Langues, Littératures, Images, Université Paris Diderot, Paris 7, and recipient of the Hannah Arendt Award for Political Thought; Heike Kühn, Film Critic; and Martha Rosler, Artist and contributor to the Hannah Arendt Denkraum (on the occasion of Hannah Arendt’s 100th birthday).

The Hannah Arendt Prize in Critical Theory and Creative Research is an annual prize competition for those interested in the juncture of art and creative research and in the principles at the heart of the arts and humanities, including sense-based intelligence; the reality of singular, nonrepeatable phenomena; ethical vision; and consilience between inner and outer, nature and reason, thought and experience, subject and object, self and world.

Posted on 09/03 at 04:44 PM

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Taking a look back at the 2012-13 Academic Year

As PNCA prepares for the upcoming academic year, we also take a moment to look back at the photo highlights from last year.

Posted on 08/02 at 03:45 PM

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Pre-College Summer Program

High school students from around the country have come to PNCA to spend 3 weeks working on developing new skills and building portfolios. Students study foundation skills and work in either Design and Illustration or Painting. Check out the photo blog

Posted on 08/02 at 03:38 PM

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Lesperance in Vitamin D

Assistant Professor Ellen Lesperance has been selected for inclusion in Phaidon’s new edition of Vitamin D, a global survey on contemporary drawing. The book was released last week. Lesperance’s Los Angeles dealer Ambach and Rice has posted an image of her work in the book.

In 2012, Leperance had a solo booth at Frieze with Ambach and Rice where she showed Dear Pippa Bacca and earlier this year her work was on view at Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland as part of the exhibition of work by Ford Fellows entitled We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live.


Posted on 06/04 at 10:22 AM

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PNCA Gala Raises Record Amount for Scholarships

On Saturday, June 1, Pacific Northwest College of Art held its 2013 Gala at Vigor Industrial’s shipyard on Swan Island. The sold-out event, with a record attendance of more than 500 people, raised more than $511,450, surpassing its $500,000 goal. Together with the PNCA Benefit Art Auction, the College raised more than $580,450 through special events this year to benefit its students, faculty, and programs.

Read more about the success of the event on the PNCA Press page:

It was an exuberant coming together of PNCA’s community of supporters at an exciting time for the College, as it is poised to expand its campus to Portland’s North Park Blocks. On Swan Island, attendees celebrated surrounded by the Graduate Thesis Exhibition for two of PNCA’s five graduate programs in the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies, the MFA in Visual Studies and MFA in Collaborative Design.

Along with the support that was raised for the College’s Annual Fund, President Tom Manley announced a major gift in support of campus expansion. President Manley announced a $1 million gift from Dorothy Lemelson, part of PNCA’s $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 anchor the PNCA campus on Portland’s North Park Blocks. Board chair Ann Edlen announced that the $15 million effort, launched in 2012 with a gift from alumna Arlene Schnitzer to name the future Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, has surpassed the $10 million mark.

Read the complete press release here.


Posted on 06/03 at 11:45 AM

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2013 Commencement Awards

BFA Thesis Awards
William H. Givler Thesis Award-Fine Arts: Adam Johnson
William H. Givler Thesis Award-Design Arts: Erica Larson
Thesis Writing Award: Lia Griesser
Abraham and Anna C. Helman Award for best in show: William Matheson

BFA Departmental Awards
Animated Arts Departmental Award: Amanda Hall, Kelly Raine
Illustration Department Award: Seanavin Egdamin
Intermedia Department Award: Anthony Hudson     
Liberal Arts Department Award: Anthony Hudson, Mika Nakazawa
C.S. Price Painting Award: William Matheson
The Photography Departmental Award: Adam Johnson
Printmaking Departmental Award: Molly Kaplan
Ed & Sandy Martin Merit Sculpture Award: Rachel Reid
General Fine Arts Major Award: Rebecca Peel

MFA in Visual Studies
Department Award: Timothy Janchar
Department Award: Terri Bradley
Chair’s Award: Daniel Long
Thesis Exhibition Award: Christina Bailey
Thesis Writing Award: Linden How
Student Speaker: Linden How

MFA in Applied Craft and Design
Program Award: Kyla Mucci
Practicum Award: Kyla Mucci
MFA in Applied Craft & Design Fellowship: Dan Jamieson

MFA in Collaborative Design
Department Award: Chelsea Stephen
Student Speaker: Emma Conley

MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research
Program Award: Brooke Wendt
Thesis Award: Lauren Heagarty
Master Questioner: Val Hardy
Student Speaker: Carmen Denison

Posted on 05/30 at 12:04 PM

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Congratulations to the Class of 2013

Congratulations to the talented graduates of the class of 2013 from the faculty, staff, and administration of PNCA.

This year, PNCA graduated 154 talented men and women in nine undergraduate programs and four graduate programs. These dedicated artists are painters, innovators, sculptors, filmmakers, illustrators, animators, writers, designers, and question-askers. They are curious. They think creatively. They hold up a lens to the world and show us what works, what’s broken, and how we can make it better.

Since PNCA was founded in 1909, PNCA has graduated 3379 artist and creative thinkers. These graduates have left their mark on the world in ways both large and small. And now the Class of 2013 joins this alumni family.

Have a safe, happy, and productive summer.

Posted on 05/28 at 11:20 AM

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Alex Dolan Awarded Park Avenue Armory Residency

Alex Dolan ‘12 is the first visual artist to be awarded a residency at New York’s . Dolan was selected for the residency in partnership with 89plus, a collaborative project between Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets focusing on artists born in 1989 or later — Dolan was born in 1990. He’ll be making sculptures in response to the space as part of this three-year-old program of residencies.

Posted on 05/16 at 12:03 PM

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Heidi Schwegler Chosen as Associate Chair of the MFA in Applied Craft + Design Program

Congratulations to Heidi Schwegler, who has been named the Associate Chair of the Master in Fine Art in Applied Craft + Design Program, a partnership program of Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) and Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).  A unique, joint MFA program, the Applied Craft + Design program is grounded in hands-on making, entrepreneurial strategies, and social and environmental engagement. 

Heidi has been an Associate Professor of Metals and General Studies with OCAC since 1998. She has led the first year graduate critique seminar for the Applied Craft + Design Program since 2011.

As an accomplished metalsmith, Heidi has progressively explored a wide range of media in her studio practice, and has received numerous awards, fellowships and grants, including a Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) Project Grant (2010, 2007); Oregon Arts Commission (OAC) Career Development Grant (2010, 2008); a Hallie Ford Fellowship (2010), and the MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2010). She was also a finalist for a 2012 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, Portland Art Museum.  Her art residency resume includes the Anderson Ranch Art Center (June 2013), 18th St. Arts Center, Los Angeles (2011); Nes Residency, Iceland (2010), and the Beijing International Artist Platform (2010).  She is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where she earned an MFA in metals. She received BFA degrees in metals and art history from the University of Kansas.

Posted on 05/07 at 09:16 AM

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PNCA Announces 2013 The Hannah Arendt Prize

Original Writing on Critical Theory and Creative Research
Award presented by the MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research Program
Entry submission: essay of 1,500 words or less

Application deadline: Friday, May 31, 2013

Theme: On Art and Disobedience; Or, What Is an Intervention?
Cash award: 5,000 USD

Winner announced by Saturday, August 31, 2013

Please note that essays over the limit will be disqualified.

The Hannah Arendt Prize in Critical Theory and Creative Research is an annual competition for those interested in the juncture of art and creative research and in the principles at the heart of the arts and humanities, including sense-based intelligence; the reality of singular, nonrepeatable phenomena; ethical vision; and consilience between inner and outer, nature and reason, thought and experience, subject and object, self and world.

Application for the prize is open to the general public. Download the PDF application and email the completed application and the essay (in a .doc or .pdf format) to

Explication of theme:
“To disobey in order to take action is the byword of all creative spirits. The history of human progress amounts to a series of Promethean acts. But autonomy is also attained in the daily workings of individual lives by means of many small Promethean disobediences, at once clever, well thought out, and patiently pursued, so subtle at times as to avoid punishment entirely. All that remains in such a case is an equivocal, diluted form of guilt. I would say that there is good reason to study the dynamics of disobedience, the spark behind all knowledge.”
                                                  —Gaston Bachelard, Fragments of a Poetics of Fire

Intervention is an omnipresent if not ubiquitous word in contemporary discourse, but what forms does it take in the age of genetic engineering and real-time media?  Is the concept a decoy or distraction in the face of futility? A cover or compensation for hopeless battles and set-ups? Is it simply working to slow down the Inevitable, a notion that in and of itself works as a major obstacle to critical thought and action? Or is it something more serious, more durable, and more dangerous? What is the relation of critique and intervention, theory and practice? And what role does art play in what Bachelard called “creative disobedience,” acts of Prometheanism “so subtle at times as to avoid punishment entirely”? Might art now comprise one of the last forms of political stealth, working in increasingly sophisticated time-based ways? What kinds of thought and action are powerful and compelling interventions today, whether one-off spectacles, sabots, monkey wrenches, sleepers, gummy bears, or Trojan Horses?

Along with Anne-Marie Oliver and Barry Sanders, Founding Co-Chairs, MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, Pacific Northwest College of Art, the judges for 2013 include
Claire Bishop, Professor of Contemporary Art, Theory and Exhibition History, Graduate Center, The City University of New York

Judith Butler, Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, The University of California, Berkeley, and Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy, Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien/EGS
Barbara Duden, Professor Emerita, Leibniz Universität Hannover
Julia Kristeva, Professor Emerita and Head of the École doctorale Langues, Littératures, Images, Université Paris Diderot, Paris 7, and recipient of the Hannah Arendt Award for Political Thought

Heike Kühn, Film Critic

Martha Rosler, Artist and contributor to the Hannah Arendt Denkraum (on the occasion of Hannah Arendt’s 100th birthday)

For information about last year’s competition, please see

Posted on 05/03 at 08:53 AM

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Write Now: Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Spanbauer and Lidia Yuknavitch

PNCA marks the official launch of the new BFA in Writing at PNCA by welcoming three Pacific Northwest writers, Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Spanbauer, and Lidia Yuknavitch for an evening of reading and conversation in Swigert Commons on April 22 at 7:30pm. This event celebrates this new writing program chaired by associate professor and award-winning novelist Monica Drake, author of the just-published Stud Book, and Clown Girl, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards.

Tom Spanbauer, founder of the Dangerous Writers workshop and author of The Man Who Fell in Love With The Moon and other novels will read from his works as will Lidia Yuknavitch, editor of Chiasmus Press and author of Dora: A Head Case and The Chronology of Water: a memoir. Chuck Palahniuk, best known for his breakout novel, Fight Club will lead a discussion of what it means to be a writer now, to pursue the writing life, to try to make a living, and to always make art with words.
“Writing is an art, a method, and a way of life,” says Monica Drake, Writing Department Chair.  “To study writing is to bring shape and rigor to the very act of thinking and self expression. As we wrestle with words, we learn to tell our stories, and find enriched meaning in the world.”
Please note that the authors will not be available for book signing at this event.
About the BFA in Writing at PNCA
The author Margaret Atwood writes, “A word after a word/after a word is power.” PNCA believes there is a power in learning to craft self expression through considered use of language. To study writing is to study the very act of thinking and articulating ideas and feelings. Writing can find form in novels, poems and scholarly work, as well as in scripts, graphic novels, performance, reviews, the digital realm and other mediums. The BFA in Writing is designed to help student writers find their voice reach their potential, while offering a strong visual arts component alongside writing classes. Solving creative problems in parallel mediums develops an incisive relationship to audience, and an expansive, informed point of entry into the ongoing creative conversations.
In the BFA in Writing program, writing is taught through a variety of classes: workshops, literature seminars, writing studio courses, interdisciplinary studios like the graphic novel, and others, which grant students one-on-one time with faculty as well as exchanges within communities inside and outside the school. The program begins broadly, encouraging the study of short and long forms, poetry, prose, fiction, and nonfiction, and both narrative and associative work. This allows room for the developing writer to find his or her focus, which may be in a genre, or across genres, blending forms. As the student gains footing, there is increased room for the student to direct his or her own content under the guidance of faculty.
Applications are currently being accepted. For more information, please visit

Posted on 04/05 at 02:03 PM

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The New York Times Features The Museum of Contemporary Craft

In a glowing article, Finally, the Bowl Gets Its Due, New York Times writer Julie Lasky delves into the exhibition Object Focus: The Bowl and its the connections between tradition, craft, and design it investigates.

Read the New York Times article here.

In addition to highlighting MoCC Director and Chief Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers efforts to point to the bowl as an instrument of craft and as a successful design object, Lasky also notes PNCA faculty member Daniel Duford’s essay on the Object Focus: The Bowl Tumblr.

Lasky writes “Daniel Duford, a potter and printmaker, wrote more personally about a ceramic bread bowl of unknown origin that had been inherited from his wife’s great-grandmother in Puyallup, Wash.” Lasky also discusses PNCA’s BFA in Illustration program as the first people to participate in the drawing station installed in the exhibition.

The article begins by discussing a recent Northern Song dynasty bowl that went for more than $2.2 million at auction in Sotheby’s.

But the bowl, Lasky notes, is easily overlooked. In a phone conversation with Lasky, Wiggers said “we don’t talk about the bowl because it’s completely this everyday thing. We take it for granted. We know it too well.”

And thus the impetus behind Object Focus: The Bowl: to draw attention to and unpack an everyday object that is filled to the brim with thousands of years of craft and design.

Wiggers said, “When I talk to people about the bowl, it is always about something else. It’s a metaphorical conversation about ritual, like in the tea ceremony, or about the fabrication process. It’s very hard to just talk about the bowl itself. We talk around the bowl.”

Lasky discusses the Tumblr page as well, pointing out the inclusion of writers such as Mara Holt Skov and Daniel Duford.  She writes, “Ms. Wiggers has capitalized on the narrative richness of bowls by inviting scholars, writers and artisans to select an example from the show and write a brief essay about it.”

Read written accounts and essay on the Object Focus The Bowl Tumblr here.

Posted on 03/28 at 01:14 PM

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Spring Break Hours


Please note the following change in building hours for the week of March 25-March 29.
Monday-Saturday 8am-10pm
The Stevens Studios and MFA studios will remain open 24/7 over the break. 
The building will go back to extended hours and 7am opening times on Monday April 1.

March 23-24 (Sat and Sun) CLOSED
March 25-29 (Mon-Fri) 9am-5:30pm
March 30-31 (Sat and Sun) CLOSED

Digital Production Center
The DPC (Digital Production Center) will be open over Spring Break for the normal hours.
However, the DPC manager will not be on the scene until Thursday and Friday.

If you are authorized to print on your own, help yourself to the EPSONS.

Digital Print Studio
The Digital Print Studio will be staffed for printing at the following times/days over Spring Break:

Sunday March 24:         12:30 – 5pm
Monday March 25:        11am – 4pm
Thursday March 28:      11am – 4pm
Friday March 29:           11am – 4pm
Sunday March 31:         12:30 – 5pm

All other times are by after hours access only.

3D Shop
There will be supervised access hours for the shops in 3D over Spring Break.
The schedule is
Monday-Thursday 10-6 
(Angie in the metal shop and Tyler in the wood shop)
Check with Liam in the Ceramic studio for the firing schedule.

Metal Shop
Sunday March 24 Closed                                                   
Monday March 25 10-6                                    
Tuesday March 26          10-6                                         
Wednesday March 27    10-6                                           
Thursday March 28        10-6                                      
Friday March 29            Closed                                       
Saturday March 30        Closed                                     
Sunday March 31          Closed

Media Resource Center
The MRC will be closed during the week of spring break.
Any equipment checked out on Friday, March 22, 2013 will be due on Monday, April 1, 2013.


Posted on 03/22 at 04:12 PM

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