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PNCA’s 2014 Gala Raises Record-Breaking Total as Capital Campaign Reaches 90% of Goal

Release date: 06/03/14

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June 3, 2014


Becca Biggs, Director of Communications 503-821-8892

PNCA’s 2014 Gala Raises Record-Breaking Total as Creativity Works Here Capital Campaign Reaches 90% of Goal

PORTLAND, OR—June 3, 2014—The Pacific Northwest College of Art annual Gala, held at Vigor Industrial shipyard on Swan Island, drew more than 600 attendees, selling out and raising more than $650,000. The total surpassed the event’s half-million-dollar goal, making it the most successful Gala in the College’s 105-year history. The signature fundraising event benefits PNCA students, faculty, and programs and celebrates the importance of creative practice in Portland and the world.

PNCA alumnus and award-winning designer Michael Curry ’81 provided the vision that transformed the massive shipyard building into a stunning, lotus-flower themed nightclub. Canadian singer-songwriter and now Portland resident k.d. lang highlighted the evening’s celebration with a special performance and emphasized to the audience the importance of the arts to Portland’s creative economy. She urged attendees to give generously, saying, “Supporting PNCA is supporting the arts, which supports Portland as the creative city we love.”

The Gala drew a broad base of PNCA supporters, including U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, City Commissioner Nick Fish, and Portland Development Commission Chair Scott Andrews, each of whom has given their support for the College’s campus expansion into the North Park Blocks. In particular, the Portland Development Commission has been instrumental in PNCA’s ability to move forward with the renovation of the old federal building into the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. PNCA President Tom Manley announced at the event that the $15 million Creativity Works Here capital campaign has reached 90% of its funding goal.

A surprise gift in honor of retiring Board Chair Ann Edlen came from the Edlen family, whose support will result in the naming of the ornate main corridor of PNCA’s new home as the Ann Payne Edlen Creative Corridor. President Manley praised Chair Edlen’s work on behalf of PNCA. “I extend a very special thanks to our retiring board chair, who has led the College during a period of true transformation. How fitting to have the Creative Corridor in our new home as an ongoing reminder of Ann’s passion for the arts.”

Other announced gifts included $50,000 from Mike and Maryellen McCulloch, $100,000 from the Adams Foundation, $100,000 from Peter and Julie Stott in honor of Ann Edlen, $100,000 from Susan Hammer, $150,000 from Dane Nelson, $150,000 from Dan Wieden and Priscilla Bernard Wieden, $250,000 from incoming Board Chair Aric Wood, $500,000 from John Shipley, and a $700,000 top-off challenge grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Finally, a $500,000 gift was announced from a Gala attendee who’s chosen to remain anonymous.

President Manley was effusive in his appreciation for the Gala effort as well as the donations. “Thanks to Frank Foti and Brenda Smola-Foti for lending Vigor’s extraordinary shipyard turned ballroom, and to Michael Curry for the vision behind its transformation,” President Manley said. Besides the financial gifts, he added, “there’s the simple reward of the evening itself, shared with all of PNCA’s supporters who join us in celebrating a love of art, a belief in creative education, and an understanding of the significance of a college of art and design as a driving economic, cultural, and social force in Portland.”

Next year, President Manley noted, the Gala will be hosted in PNCA’s own home. “We will be celebrating in the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design,” Manley said. “The citywide support that has transformed years of planning and hard work into this new reality has been extraordinary. Indeed, in Portland, Creativity Works Here.”
The Gala committee was led by honorary chairs Brenda Smola-Foti, Frank Foti, and Ann and Mark Edlen. Vigor Industrial served as visionary partner, and PNCA Board member Jamey Hampton was master of ceremonies.

As Oregon’s flagship college of art and design, Pacific Northwest College of Art has helped shape Oregon’s visual arts landscape for more than a century. In the last seven years, PNCA has doubled both the student body and full-time faculty, quadrupled its endowment, and added innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. PNCA is now embarking on its boldest venture yet by establishing the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design as an anchor for its new campus on Portland’s North Park Blocks. Focusing on the transformative power of creativity, the capital campaign, Creativity Works Here, was launched in June 2012 with a lead gift of $5 million from The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation. PNCA’s new home will be a bustling hub of creative thinking and action, reflecting the influential role of art and design in our 21st century economy in Portland and beyond. For more information, visit

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