PNCA Press Center

PNCA Hosts Children’s Creativity: Why the Visual Arts Matter

Release date: 10/30/09

October 30, 2009

Rebecca Burrell, External Relations Specialist, Pacific Northwest College of Art 503 821 8959

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications, Pacific Northwest College of Art 503 821 8892

PNCA Hosts Children’s Creativity: Why the Visual Arts Matter, a Symposium and Exhibition Examining the Role of Creativity in Childhood Development
Symposium runs in conjunction with the exhibition “Imagine: 100 Years of Work From PNCA’s Children’s Art Archives”

Public Events:
November 11 – December 1

Exhibition | Imagine: 100 Years of Work From PNCA’s Children’s Art Archives

Thursday, November 12, 6:30pm
Lecture | “Art for Our Sake,” by Dr. Lois Hetland

Friday, November 13, 6:30pm
Keynote Address | “Reflections on Space and Childhood,” by Dr. Ellen Handler Spitz

Saturday, November 14, 12-12:45pm
Panel Discussion | Exhibition Curators Discuss the PNCA’s Children’s Archives

All public programs take place at the PNCA Main Campus Building, Swigert Commons, 1241 N.W. Johnson St., and are free and open to the public.

PORTLAND, OR – Wednesday, November 11 through Saturday, November 14, Pacific Northwest College of Art hosts Children’s Creativity: Why the Visual Arts Matter, a symposium focused on the role of visual arts education in childhood development. PNCA partners on this program with the Creative Advocacy Network (CAN), Oregon Psychoanalytic Center and the Oregon Art Association. Art therapists, clinicians, arts educators, youth counselors, art organization leaders, school administrators and more, are invited to participate in this three-day gathering focusing on the relevance of artistic processes of inquiry, reflection and expression to the cognitive, emotional and social development of children.

Workshops will allow participants and experts to discuss art and childhood development with individuals at the forefront of the academic movement to enrich childhood with art. Workshops include Arts-Based Mediation + Conflict Resolution, Studio Habits of the Mind and Children’s Books, and Children’s Imagination. In addition, there is a screening and discussion of the film Child and Parent: Learning from the Visual Arts.

Activities will report on and explore the growing body of evidence that the arts nurture and develop complex thinking and communication skills, which are all too often marginalized in a discipline-focused and test-driven educational system. A panel of leading policy makers will also examine positioning and supporting arts education as an essential component of state-wide educational reform.

In addition to a series of panels and workshops, the conference brings in two nationally recognized speakers. First, Dr. Lois Hetland, who is Associate Professor of Art Education at Massachusetts College of Art and a researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, delivers a lecture Thursday, November 12 at 6:30pm. Dr. Hetland will address the trends, opportunities and limitations in deploying the visual arts in therapeutic contexts. Friday, November 13 at 6:30pm, Dr. Ellen Handler Spitz, Professor at the Honors College of Visual Arts at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, delivers the keynote address, examining the purpose of teaching the arts to children within the school system.

The conference is planned in conjunction with Imagine: 100 Years of Work From PNCA’s Children’s Art Archives, to be shown in PNCA’s Commons November 11 – December 1. This retrospective of work is culled from a century of PNCA youth art programs that have fostered generations of artists and designers. The exhibition is curated by Sally Lawrence, PNCA President Emerita, Amy Williams, former PNCA Youth Art Program Director, with additional support from long-time Youth Program faculty Bonnie Allen and MaryEllen Hartman.

As a leading institution in creative education, and as part of PNCA’s centennial year, this symposium reflects the College’s long history of supporting creativity and visual literacy in the Pacific Northwest.

To read more, or to register, please visit

A product of the Ford Institute for Visual Education (FIVE), PNCA+FIVE Idea Studios are a series of conversations, lectures and performances on the inner workings of creative practice. The series features internationally acclaimed practitioners from a range of cultures in an effort to highlight the importance of creativity in fostering innovation and civic imagination. PNCA+FIVE Idea Studios explore the creative life and the importance of creativity in fostering civic imagination and collaboration.

Since its founding in 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has become a leader in innovative educational programs that connect students to a global perspective in the visual arts and design. In addition to its eight Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, PNCA offers graduate education with an MFA in Visual Studies as well as an MFA in Applied Craft and Design, developed in collaboration with the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

PNCA is actively involved in Portland’s cultural life through exhibitions and a vibrant public program of lectures and internationally recognized visiting artists, designers and creative thinkers. With the support of PNCA+FIVE (Ford Institute for Visual Education), the College has a partnership with the nationally acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Craft. For more information, visit

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