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.

Picture of the Week - May 4, 2013

This week there was a lot of paint and play going on in our Young Painter’s Workshop. There were several abstract compositions crafted by various students in the class… lots of experimentation on the art-making front! That is what we like to see! One student worked a great deal with splatters and drips. This was her hand… you should have seen her shirt.

Young Painter's Workshop

That was such a fun day. If you would like to check out what else we did on Saturday, including plate printing and creature glazing, check out our Flickr Site.

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Picture (Video) of the Week - April 27th, 2013

This week our Picture of the week is actually a video. How sweet is that! As we grow as a program, we would like to capture more comments from students about what they are making or what they enjoy… how they respond to a new medium, etc. Below is a short clip of one of our ‘Young Painter’s Workshop’ students trying out the program’s digital SLR cameras. Here is the result!

If you would like to see more photos and videos from this round of Spring classes, check out our Flickr Site.

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Web Development

Jack Bouba, a former Continuing Education student who is now a front-end developer at Planet Argon, wants to give back to the community the gifts of learning that he received as a student and that prepared him for his professional practice. Jack and the Planet Argon team are offering a one-day web development workshop on May 6 that will provide an introduction to Github, SCSS, Bootstrap, and Jekyll. Be sure to take advantage of the 10% discount, promotional code “PNCA.”

Planet Aragon

You seem to really like your job as front-end developer with Planet Argon. What is special about the work you and your studio do?
The Planet Argon founders have done an impressive job of finding a group of people who are incredibly dedicated to their work. At the same time, we all take ourselves pretty lightly; the atmosphere at Planet Argon is extremely funny and sarcastic and terribly raunchy.

What is essential for anyone wanting to make a career in web and mobile design and development?
I think curiosity is immensely important, as well as a desire to stay informed and current. I think there is a tendency for schools as well as many if not most agencies to have a hard time keeping up, so it’s up to the designer/developer to continue to learn, push themselves, and stay inspired. This is an incredible time to work in the field; there are a ton of jobs but there are also a lot of talented web creators out there. Set yourself apart; putting just a tad of extra effort into your portfolio, resume, or cover letter will go a very, very long way.

What draws you to teaching when you already have a quite demanding project schedule?
I taught front-end development and Flash classes a few years ago, and before I started working in this field, I taught adults and children with developmental disabilities, both in and out of the classroom. I proposed the idea of teaching this workshop because this is exactly the workshop that I’d want to take: contemporary, relevant, emphasizing best practices and forward thinking, etc. Also, it’s a cliché, but teaching is absolutely the best way to truly learn something. Really, there are so many reasons to teach, e.g. to connect with your community, to meet new friends and peers, and to spread knowledge.

I was happily surprised to see Thich Nhat Hanh quoted on your web page. How do you bring the spirit of this sage to your work?
Honestly, as much as I try to remember to “walk as if I’m kissing the Earth with my feet,” I don’t do it nearly enough. I absolutely get stressed and overwhelmed and bogged down by the minutiae of my work, but I do love the sentiment of that advice. I know that I am immensely fortunate to be alive and healthy and working in a field that’s exciting, inspiring, and important. That quotation helps remind me to try to stay light-hearted and positive, and to laugh at all the silliness that easily gets overlooked or dismissed.

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Picture of the Week - April 20, 2013

So, our picture of the week is actually picture(s). Three to be precise. This Saturday seemed to be ‘make a silly face at the camera’ day. These are a few of the funniest/sweetest.

Young Painter's Workshop


Young Painter's Workshop

It’s nice to know that students feel comfortable enough in our classes to be playful, and even act a little silly. Art class is, of course, the type of environment where ‘play’ is a major component of the artistic process. We try to encourage play, experimentation, and moments of free expression whenever possible.

If you would like to see more funny faces from our classes on Saturday you can do so by visiting our Flickr Page. You can also visit our Reggie Site to see what classes are coming up soon!

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Sense-of-Place Mapping

Kimberlee Chambers will lead a workshop on sense-of-place mapping at PNCA, July 10-13, that explores Portland’s foodscapes. I have recently come across sense-of-place mapping in a surprising variety of context and consulted Kimberlee on the topic.

What is sense-of-place mapping and why has it received quite a bit of attention inside, but also outside, of research and educational organizations?
Sense of place maps are an opportunity to document a particular attribute of a defined landscape that is not regularly seen on a topographical or political map. Sense of place maps provide opportunities to record things that are of importance to individuals and communities that a researcher or map maker may not see or value in the same way. Because these maps move beyond the traditional structure of cartography they appeal to educational institutions and those outside of academia who want to understand what a place feels like, smells like, sounds like and why it may be important to a group or individual. The best part is that the representation of this ‘sense of place’ can be done creatively and collaboratively.

Mayne Island
Mayne Island. Map Coordinator: Tina Farmilo. Map Artists: Tania Godoroja with Sarah Sexsmith and Glenda Goodman. In: Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas. Sheila Harrington and Judi Stevenson (eds). TouchWood Editions, 2005.

What are “foodscapes” and why might Portland serve as an interesting focal point?
The term foodscapes is being used in a wide variety of fields from urban planning to the layout of your kitchen. Within the past ten years, the concept ‘foodscapes’ has become a pivotal point for research in food, food chains, food production, food ethics, food policy and other fields related to food studies. Although no single definition has yet to emerge, a foodscape is basically the multiplicity of sites where food is found and/or consumed. Food can provide a lense to explore everything from the meaning of the space, place, and attributes used for eating to the layers of global flows of people, technologies, ideas, money, and ethics shaping the future of food. Documenting and reflecting on foodscapes can help us to understand how the built environment shapes our behaviour and what may be unique or lacking in a particular place. Portland, with its fascination (obsession?) of all things food related provides a great place to use the foodscape as a focal point.

What will participants investigate and do in your July workshop?
Our objectives for this workshop are multifaceted. Both Rebecca and I find that our best teaching experiences are for classes that we do not have the answers to. With this in mind our goal is to share with the participants this valuable tool of sense of place mapping and then work collaboratively to understand and document the Portland foodscape. We look forward to working with diverse people to draw from their unique perspectives and experiences to build a broader understanding of what the Portland foodscape is and how sense of place maps may be used as a tool that results in an informational source and artform. Ultimately we hope that everyone learns more about this place and the unique foodscapes, explores their own ideas of place and how we interpret them, learns a new tool for their own explorations, and has fun while doing it.

Kimberlee Chambers is an interdisciplinary scholar and a sustainability advocate whose work focuses on food, agriculture, and systems of land and resource management. Her current research includes the ‘locavore’ movement in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Kimberlee received a Ph.D., from the University of California, Davis, in Agrobiodiversity Conservation and has published her research widely. She holds appointments as Assistant Professor of Collaborative Design at PNCA and as Research Affiliate and Adjunct Professor of Geography at Portland State University.

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Picture of the Week - April 13, 2013

Wow! This last week of classes was so fun! Students are keeping pace with projects and making some very interesting things. Our MiniMasters class is making pizza… from painted paper and collage, of course. Draw, Paint, Sculpt. has been hard at work on clay castles and the creatures that live in or protect them. Young Painter’s Workshop has been working on imaginative drawings inspired by a story. This week’s image is from our YP Workshop.

Young Painter's Workshop

This young lady brought in a tiny dry-erase board. Both she and I collaborated on the image you see above. If you would like to see more from last Saturdays classes, visit our Flickr Page!

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Picture of the Week - April 6, 2013

We are now well in to our Spring session of Youth classes here at PNCA! In order to give you some insight into our classrooms over the next month or so, we’ll try to post an interesting picture or two from classes on Saturdays. This guy was kind enough to show me the tool that we was using to draw his still-life in our Young Painter’s Workshop.

Young Painter's Workshop

If you would like to see more images from Youth classes, check out our Flickr Page. If you would like to learn more about future offerings with PNCA’s Youth Program you can visit our Registration Site.

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Congressional Art Competition

For 17 years, Representative Blumenauer has participated in the Congressional Art Competition. Each year, the Congressman looks forward to seeing all of the unique projects that high school students from his district create. For this year’s competition, the deadline for submissions to the Blumenauer Office is Friday, April 12.

As in past years, PNCA faculty and the Pre-College Program will assist Congressman Blumenauer’s effort by supporting the jurying process and providing scholarship awards to the competition winners. In preparation for this year’s competition, I inquired with Kevin Pozzi, Field Representative for Congressman Blumenauer, about the exceptional efforts of the Blumenauer Office to get high school students from the district involved.

2011 Congressional Art Competition
Reception for Congressional Art Exhibition 2011. Photograph Sara Kaltwasser.

Tell us a bit about the Congressional Art competition?
The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to encourage and recognize artistic talent in high school students across the country. Art students from local schools are encouraged to submit original works to their Congressman, with the winner from each district receiving 2 tickets to Washington, D.C. to see their piece hung in the U.S. Capitol Building. This is the 17th year that Representative Blumenauer has hosted the competition in Oregon’s 3rd District.

Why has Representative Blumenauer been a consistent advocate of the event?
The Art Competition shows us that education isn’t just about tests and grades, it’s about fostering an appreciation for the arts in our youth and creating well-rounded citizens. In addition to the winning piece being exhibited in the U.S. Capitol for an entire year, which Members, staff, and visitors alike pass by each day, the Congressman hosts a gallery exhibition for all student submissions at the YU Gallery in SE Portland. We are really grateful that PNCA has partnered with our office and the Competition again!

Is Rep. Blumenauer currently involved in legislation involving arts education?
From his days on the Portland City Council leading the local effort to create a dedicated ‘Percent for Art,’ Congressman Blumenauer has consistently championed arts funding. He has co-sponsored bills in Congress that would allocate additional funding for after-school programs where children can get more actively involved in the arts, as well as support non-profit organizations that supply children with books and other art supplies. The Congressman was also the cosponsor to a house resolution that highlighted the importance of art and design into the Federal programs that are emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs. This resolution stated that arts are a vital part of all curricula.

2011 Congressional Art Competition
Representative Earl Blumenauer. Photograph Sara Kaltwasser.

Learn more online about the Congressional Art Competition.

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Lines and Space

Damien Gilley, a lead-instructor in our Media Arts and Illustration program, is a Portland-based artist with an impressive record of exhibits and transforming environments. In fact, you might have walked “through” one of his current projects, Skywalker, if you have recently been at the Portland International Airport. Skywalker certainly electrified me when I came ambling down the carpeted hallway from the airport’s central hub into concourse A. Gilley’s work activated my experience of this space at the airport in surprising ways given the challenges this uncompromisingly transitional environment presents the installation artist (and others before him) with. Usually, this is quintessential airport non-space.

When preparing for our spring quarter, I inquired with Gilley about his now five-year-long teaching practice in our program.

With so many projects and engagements, what nourishes your passion for teaching?
Conversations with students are priceless. I love learning about all the professional paths my students have, and how they arrived at my class. Dialog is key in education, expanding both student and instructor knowledge continuously. Eventually I see students in creative contexts after the course and realize my network, and theirs, gets bigger in such an organic way through the classroom experience.

Participants in your classes say that they have built much strong skills illustration and desktop publishing, but that they are also come away with something they had not expected: a more acute sense of design and a stronger confidence in their creative abilities. How do you make this happen in your classes?
I really make sure that students are learning concrete skills that apply directly to creative production. But it’s so important to discuss all avenues these skills come into play, and how the design process is necessary. I try to make students confident to approach a creative problem and solve it from the ground up: research, conceptualization, execution and revision, revision, revision…

Have you noticed any changes over the past years in the needs and expectations of adult learners and professionals in your classes?
Many people realize the power of the tools we use and that the creative process can enhance their profession in dynamic ways, especially in such a media saturated visual culture. Design is everywhere. If you don’t engage in that critical creativity everyday you’re not really connecting with contemporary culture. So I make it a point to connect the course to real life applications, and the students appreciate that.

To learn more about Gilley’s work, visit his web site, spend time with Skywalker, online or at the airport, and read Sabina Samiee’s recent essay covering Gilley’s career.

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End of Winter Youth Classes

It has been a rather eventful 7-weeks on campus with PNCA’s Continuing Education Youth Program. From finger puppets to hand crafted books; we’ve had some great moments making art with students this term. Each class term with the Youth Program is super fun, but this one has seemed more so than usual. Our students have been very dedicated, and worked especially hard in their respective classes to make their artistic visions come to fruition. Below are a few images from this term that speak to the awesomeness of the last 2 months.

Art Explorers

Art + Storytelling: Puppets

Drawing Studio

This coming Saturday marks the end of another round of Winter classes. If you would like to see some of the artwork we’ve made you can do so by visiting our Exhibition Set on Flickr. If you want a peek into our classrooms, visit our Winter 2013 Classroom Set.

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