Continuing Education Blog

PNCA offers evening and weekend classes for adults and young people. For adults we offer courses in art, craft, and design, as well as professional development classes. For children we have Saturday classes during the school year and week-long camps during the summer. In addition to our regular teen classes, we also offer immersive summer Pre-College Studios. Our blog below gives you an idea of some of the goings on, and you can see our full course catalogue online here.


Meet smARTworks faculty Heather M.

Draw, Paint, Sculpt.

smARTworks Instructor Heather McLaughin holds a BFA in printmaking from PNCA. Along with teaching in the smARTworks summer camp, she works with BFA students in Printmaking, teaches Adult Continuing Educations classes and also serves as the Executive Director of Flight 64, a local non-profit printmaking studio.

Can you talk about what you plan to do in your smARTworks classes and what your students accomplish.
In the four weeks that I am teaching smARTworks my students will execute around 15 different two dimensional projects that explore mediums including, not not limited to: acrylics, ink wash, pen & ink, water color, charcoal, screen printing, relief printing, collagraph, monoprinting, oil & chalk pastels, and collage. All students engage in three dimensional projects with another instructor. Imagery will be executed from the imagination and observation. There are a few field trips planned to go to places like the Portland Zoo, PAM, local parks and the Chinese Gardens for source material. Projects are designed to introduce new materials and challenge the students technical abilities while engaging them in new information about the world. My smARTworks classes incorporate independent research as a place to find inspiration for imagery. Every week has a topic and I bring in a multitude of books and resources around the current topic for the students to access. Each student chooses their own research materials and therefore guides their own learning. The most important thing I want my students to gain is a taste of how we use art as a learning tool and a story telling tool.

What tools will you be using in the class?
I am teaching the two dimensional section of camp. We will be using materials such as acrylics, ink wash, pen & ink, water color, charcoal, screen printing, relief printing, collagraph, monoprinting, oil & chalk pastels, and collage. Students will create landscapes, comics, ‘zines, prints, collaborative drawings and prints, figurative work, rubbings, patterns and abstract work. PNCA has great facilities including big desks, large classrooms, live models, large prop room to draw from, excellent quality of materials and printmaking equipment.

Why do you like working with this age group?
This summer I am working with students ranging from 7 to 11 years old. I work with many different age groups and like them all for different reasons. The commonality between the 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 ages is the desire to learn practical skills and hone them. The brush, the knife, the scissors, the paint, all of these materials, the students are ready to be in total control of. While longing for the ability to create realism, the imagination is not yet shy at this age. This makes class easily fun and light while also making great art. In contrast, the reality of the hardships of the world start to enter our lives at this age and they are ready to learn how, why and what next. Again this also makes great art and experiences for everyone involved.

What are some of your favorite projects from past offerings of the class?
Once we made giant robots and had a dance party to Devo. Another time we made a collaborative print based mural on the outside of PNCA with foam plates and wheat paste. I have taught students about the labor strikes of the industrial era to the myths of legendary creatures like the phoenix and mermaids. Some of the best work students create are on-site ink wash drawings.

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