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PNCA Launches Campaign in Support of Campus Expansion

Release date: 06/03/12

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June 3, 2012

Lisa Radon, Communications Specialist 971-255-5528
Becca Biggs, Director of Communications 971-255-5511

PNCA Launches Campaign in Support of Campus Expansion
$15 million philanthropic effort supports strategic move to historic building on North Park Blocks

PORTLAND, OR – June 3, 2012 – At its 10th annual gala on Saturday, June 2, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) announced the launch of a $15 million philanthropic campaign, CREATIVITY WORKS HERE, in support of its 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.

PNCA announced a significant gift of $5 million from The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation to name the renovated building the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. The gift is the largest from an alumna or alumnus in the school’s 103-year history. Arlene Schnitzer will serve as an honorary co-chair for the campaign, along with Dorothy ‘Dolly’ Lemelson, a longtime supporter who has established a major scholarship program at PNCA and is a Visionary sponsor for the College’s annual gala to support its Annual Fund.

Supporters have committed more than $6.5 million to the Campaign to date. Gifts include $500,000 from the late Ernie Swigert in honor of former PNCA president Sally Lawrence, $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, and a planning award of $50,000 from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. PNCA also has received a $740,000 grant from the Portland Development Commission for project planning and design.

Acclaimed architect Brad Cloepfil and his firm, Allied Works Architecture, revealed a dramatic design for the adaptive reuse, which is anticipated to cost $30 million and be completed during the 2014-15 academic year. The overall project will be funded through a combination of private philanthropy, tax credits, financing, and grants.

“This is an historic moment for the College and for the City of Portland,” said Ann Edlen, Chair of the PNCA Board of Governors. “We are extraordinarily grateful for Arlene’s support and leadership in this transformational effort. This gift, coming from a committed alumna, validates all that we believe about the power of a PNCA education to change the world with creative and design thinking and making. I am also pleased to announce that the project has 100% participation from our talented and dedicated Board of Governors.”

“The generosity of Arlene Schnitzer, the CARE Foundation, and the entire Harold Schnitzer family puts us in a strong position as we launch this campaign,” noted PNCA president Tom Manley. “Like Hallie Ford, whose $15 million gift in 2007 helped to launch our graduate programs, Harold Schnitzer was an early believer in the College’s ability to transform the creative landscape in Oregon by establishing itself as a world-class institution of art and design.”

In a 2010 speech, the late Harold Schnitzer praised the College for its role in Portland’s future economic growth: “As a businessman, I see that what we need most in our world are young people with new, great ideas.” He noted that PNCA, which brings half its student body from out of state, has a substantial impact on the economy. The young people that PNCA attracts, said Schnitzer, “…are contributing dollars to our economy. Arts are not a luxury. Art is part of our economy and should be encouraged to grow.”

President Manley also recognized Jordan Schnitzer for his support. “Jordan Schnitzer has been a key advisor and has been an instrumental part of the College’s major philanthropic initiatives, including the gift from Hallie Ford to establish the Ford Institute for Visual Education (FIVE). Jordan Schnitzer has chaired the College’s Benefit Art Auction for four years now and helped to bring nationally known visiting artists to our renowned printmaking program.”

“We are enormously excited to support PNCA’s campaign,” said Arlene Schnitzer, who, with her late husband, Harold, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Art Honoris Causa degree in 2011. “I wouldn’t be who I am today without the experiences I had at the Museum Art School, now PNCA. The College has helped to shape the cultural landscape of our community for more than a century, and is now poised to do even more in the years ahead. I think the Wall Street Journal was absolutely on target when it called Portland ‘the nation’s next art capital.’”

The College’s ambitious expansion to PNCA’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design creates a world-class learning center anchored on the North Park Blocks near its partner, Museum of Contemporary Craft, and ArtHouse, the new PNCA student housing facility, scheduled to open in Fall 2013.

The announcement of the campaign lead gift was made before nearly 500 supporters at PNCA’s Spring Gala: Transformation, which raised more than $465,000 for the College’s Annual Fund. The campaign’s theme, Creativity Works Here, was in evidence as guests viewed the work of recent graduates in the 2012 BFA and MFA Thesis Exhibitions, as well as work from students, alumni, and creative community partners. John and Janet Jay and Elizabeth Leach served as honorary co-chairs for the event, which supports faculty, student scholarships, and annual programs.


“For more than a hundred years, PNCA has been a force in attracting creative talent and energy to Portland,” says Mayor Sam Adams. “Today, with Portland’s rising profile as a center for creative entrepreneurs, PNCA’s campus on the North Park Blocks signals the central role of the College in growing the city’s creative sector as an engine for economic activity.”

In 2005, PNCA created a comprehensive Campus Master Plan with Allied Works Architecture in response to its rapid growth. The student population has doubled since 2004 and is expected to reach 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students by 2018. The College has added five graduate degrees since 2007 and now has ten undergraduate degrees. Currently, in addition to the Main Campus Building at 1241 NW Johnson, which the College owns and will continue to utilize, the College leases several facilities to accommodate its student body.

PNCA’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design will provide students with cutting edge liberal arts classrooms, studio and critique spaces, and exhibition spaces. Allied Works Architecture’s design preserves key historical features while creating a new realm of public interface and arts education, including a dramatic central atrium, a black box Mediatheque theater, a beautiful two-tiered library, and a comprehensive object studies collection space, which will showcase work not only from the PNCA collection but from Museum of Contemporary Craft’s permanent collection.

In a separate North Park Blocks initiative, PNCA has recently partnered with the Powell Family on the new ArtHouse. Designed by Thomas Robinson of Lever Architecture, ArtHouse will be a dedicated PNCA student residential community on the Powell-owned property at 33 NW Park Avenue.

The 7-story, 55,000 square feet building at the former location of Powell’s Technical Books will house 150 students beginning in Fall 2013. ArtHouse will have spaces to showcase art, places to make art, plus retail space and a café on the street level. The building will target LEED Gold certification and will look for innovative ways to convey sustainability to its resident population.

PNCA’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design will be a new creative anchor for PNCA and the city as a whole, building on a long-standing culture of collaboration. PNCA’s move to the North Park Blocks is expected to transform the area, with hundreds of students moving daily between PNCA facilities—Museum of Contemporary Craft, ArtHouse, the Main Campus Building, and PNCA’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. The infusion of youth and vitality is expected to inspire investment and draw new creative businesses to this developing area.

“PNCA’s new building represents a turning point in the history of the College and potentially for this city, creating a path, both literally and metaphorically, for the creative aspirations of one of the nation’s most influential cities,” says John Jay, Global Executive Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy. “Portland’s Creative Corridor grows in influence by the day, as it attracts both young and established talent, capturing the entrepreneurial creative spirit of this generation and demonstrating a unique blend of craft, technology, and culture through an artistic lens. PNCA’s new home will create a new gateway to this city’s Creative Corridor and become a nexus for new ideas and talent. Our collective future rests in our ability to create, attract, maintain and cultivate the business of ideas and innovation. PNCA will be the intersection of this city’s intellectual and artistic dialogue.”

PNCA prepares students for a life of creative practice and has been an influential force in art and design education in the Pacific Northwest since its founding in 1909. Today, PNCA enrolls over 600 students in 15 undergraduate and graduate programs, and another 1,500 students through its continuing education programs. PNCA’s graduate programs are part of its Ford Institute for Visual Education (FIVE): an MFA in Visual Studies, a Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, an MFA in Collaborative Design, and an MFA in Applied Craft and Design developed with the Oregon College of Art and Craft, the first inter-institutional degree of its kind in the US.

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. Portland Monthly, in its January 2012 issue, called PNCA “a creative class crown jewel.” With the support of FIVE, the College has an operating partnership with the nationally acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Craft. For more information, visit

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