PNCA Press Center

Museum of Contemporary Craft Receives Gift to Purchase Feves’ Garden Wall

Release date: 07/05/12

July 7, 2012

Lisa Radon, Communications Specialist
Pacific Northwest College of Art, 971 255 5528

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications
Pacific Northwest College of Art, 971 255 5511

Museum of Contemporary Craft Receives Gift to Purchase Feves’ Garden Wall

Portland, OR – July 5, 2012 – Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has received a significant $40,000 grant from The Ford Family Foundation’s Art Acquisition Fund through the Oregon Arts Commission to acquire Garden Wall, an important work by ceramic artist Betty Feves. Garden Wall is currently installed at the entrance to Generations: Betty Feves, Museum of Contemporary Craft’s retrospective exhibition of work by this longtime influential Pendleton resident. The exhibition is on view at the Museum through July 28. Among Oregon artists who have had an influence beyond the region, Feves is notable for having been an innovative woman artist in what had long been a male-dominated field. Her work was juried and curated into prestigious national exhibitions, and she was invited to speak at national craft conferences while maintaining a rigorous studio practice, completing architectural commissions, and mentoring numerous apprentices and regional artists.

Garden Wall (1979) is a grouping of three stacked stoneware columns, each approximately 58” high and 25 × 15” square, that together form one of the largest works that Feves completed. Like that of many of her works from this period, the clay body of Garden Wall is speckled with aggregate.

Conceived as both barrier and invitation, Garden Wall reminded Feves of her childhood on a farm in Washington. Garden Wall is “just about the right height for two people to lean over. I can remember my dad as a farmer, he and his adjoining neighbor would stand for hours over the fence and talk, so it just seemed to me that here’s something that you can sort of stand beside, and it creates a barrier, but not so much of a barrier that you can’t carry on a conversation across the top of it.” And like so many of Feves sculptures of scale, it references the Oregon landscape, echoing cliff-faces carved by glacier, river, and ocean.

Director and Chief Curator of Museum of Contemporary Craft, Namita Gupta Wiggers is delighted with the gift. “This is a significant piece by an important regional figure whose innovative practice bridged Modernism and the American Craft Movement,” says Wiggers. “And it’s the first time the Museum has been in a position to make such a significant acquisition which adds to the generous gifts the Museum received earlier this year, exhibited in 75 Gifts for 75 Years. It’s an affirmation of the Museum’s vision and commitment to preserving Oregon’s craft legacy.”

This challenge grant puts the Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) two-thirds of the way toward purchase of Garden Wall. PNCA and the Museum will work throughout the year to raise the additional $20,000 to secure Garden Wall for the Museum’s permanent collection and preserve an important part of the history of Oregon craft.

“Garden Wall is a tremendous addition to the Museum’s permanent collection. Thanks to the partnership between the Museum and PNCA, this masterwork may also be on future display in PNCA’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, the College’s future home on the North Park blocks,” said Deborah Hopkinson, Vice President for Advancement. On June 2, PNCA announced a lead gift of $5 million from The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation to name PNCA’s future home. The gift launched PNCA’s Creativity Works Here Campaign to raise $15 million to renovate the former federal post office at 511 NW Broadway.

Committed to the advancement of craft since 1937, Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art is one of Oregon’s oldest cultural institutions. Centrally located in Portland’s Pearl District, the Museum is nationally acclaimed for its curatorial program and is a vibrant center for investigation and dialogue, expanding the definition of craft and the way audiences experience it.

Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has been an influential force in art and design education in the Pacific Northwest since its founding in 1909. Today PNCA continues to prepare students for a life of creative practice with more than 600 students in 15 undergraduate and graduate programs, and another 1,500 students in its continuing education programs. 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 ten Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, PNCA offers five graduate degrees under the auspices 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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