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.

The start of classes!

Another September has come and gone, which means that Youth Program classes are in full swing. We had a great first day on Saturday, with the largest incoming Fall Youth class in 3 years! We saw so many new young faces on campus! Our instructors were super excited for classes to start and introduced some great projects, which we hope to share with you over the coming weeks. There were quite a few wonderful moments from our first day of classes. Here are a few choice pics…

Mixed Media Studio
Observational Painting

If you want to check our more images from our first day of classes you can do so by visiting out our In the Classroom collection on Flickr!

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Book Arts


Our fall program offers several special opportunities for studying different aspects of book arts. Brett Warnock is eager to share his passion for comics and his deep knowledge of the publishing industry with you in Careers in Comics. Just back from an exciting time presenting Top Shelf Production’s latest publications at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, Brett will guide you in a close-up investigation of key roles and opportunities in the industry.

Author and illustrator Victoria Jamieson returns to our program with a studio course on children’s book illustration and Trevor Dodge will lead a partially online course in which you will study the flourishing of personal memoirs in comics and graphic novel form and in which you will design your own (auto)biographical mini-comic.

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Creativity Labs for Adults

This is the last week to guarantee your spot in our Creativity Labs classes for adult. This series of courses is designed for students interested in creative experimentation while learning about art, design, and craft in ways that are meaningful, fun, and educational. Examining craftsmanship and design-oriented thinking, each course introduces students to new ways of art making with unique curriculum and engaging instruction. Continuing Education is incredibly excited to offer these courses that allow students to expand their knowledge in these unique subjects. Classes include:

  • Mechanical Advantage in Kinetic Sculpture introduces simple machines and their application in making things move without having to resort to powerful and expensive shop tools and materials.
  • Welding teaches you to gas weld, arc weld and cut steel with fire with an emphasis on sculptural forms.
  • Theremins + Monophonic Synthesizers learn the basic of electronics before exploring technology ranging from vacuum tubes to transistors.
  • Physical Computing for Artists Arduino at an art school? Indeed! Learn to sense and control the physical world with the open source micro-controller. n

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Priority Review of Certificate and Endorsement Applications

Patrick Hanna Business Card

Advance your career and expand your creative practice with a PNCA Certificate or Endorsement. Submit your application at the end of this week, in time for priority review of applications starting Monday, September 10.

Image courtesy Patrick Hanna, Design Certificate ‘10.

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Fall 2012 Youth Classes!

Week 3: Desert Worlds

Wow! We had such a great summer. smARTworks and Pre-College were amazing! It is hard to believe that Fall Youth Classes are just around the corner! They start on Saturday, September 29th. This year we are rolling out some exciting workshops for young teens. Here is a look at our course offerings this fall:

MiniMasters (4-6) with MaryEllen Hartman
Mixed Media Studio (7-8) with Mary Dixon
Comics + Zines (9-11) with Gary Sweet
Drawing Techniques (12-14) with Kendra Larson
Posters is Photo Shop (13-16) with Amy Steel
Websites in Tumblr (13-16) with Sarah Moon
Observational Painting (Pre-College) with Benny Fountain

Week 4: Ocean + Island Life

Our scholarship deadline is on Friday September 7th, 2012. If you’re interested in applying for a scholarship to receive tuition remission to one of our classes this fall please visit our website,, to learn more, or complete our Online Application Form.

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Program Catalog Release


I am excited about today’s release of the latest edition of our course catalog. I trust you will find the range of excellent studio activities in our fall and winter season impressive. Among my favorite offerings are the new workshops and courses in our three endorsement areas: drawing, marketing and web & digital communications.

Many thanks to our animation instructor Lori Damiano who created the original artwork for a superb fall season cover. I believe the cover reflects the creative spirit and educational ambitions of our program and community. Thanks also to Studio Lipari for its creative direction and to Oregon Litho for expert production of the publication.

Expect your catalog copy in the mail in the coming days if you are a subscriber to our program information. We will happily send you a catalog copy if you are not yet on our mailing list. Starting next week, you will also find our print publication at many public locations in the larger metro area.

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Electronic Instruments

With are re-running this interview with Theremins and Monophonic Synthesizers, instructor Mark Keppinger, who is bringing the class back this term.

Our Creativity Labs courses are designed for students interested in creative experimentation while learning about art, design and craft in ways that are meaningful, fun and educational. Examining craftsmanship and design-oriented thinking, each course introduces students to new ways of art making with unique curriculum and engaging instruction.

Mark Keppinger has been teaching with PNCA Continuing Education for over eight years. For the second time, we are excited to offer a class on Theremins and Monophonic Synthesizers, a great passion of Mark’s. A professional Theremin builder, his instruments are used by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, among others.

Can you talk about what drew you to creating electronic instruments?

I started out life as a musician, playing piano for school plays,
assemblies, etc. My interest in electronics came early on. The Theremin was a good mix of music and electronics, and seemed to be a natural for me.

The analog Theremin and moog synthesizers are still popular in this
 digital world what make these instruments special for musicians and 

In addition to having a cult following, both are capable of generating
 sounds that can be difficult to replicate. I think that the Theremin
 popularity became mainstream when it was given credit (which is actually incorrect) as having been used on “Good Vibrations”. The early Moog synthesizers, although very expensive at the time, were still a fraction of what you would pay for similar equipment. “Popcorn” by “Hot Butter” was the first hit song performed exclusively using a Moog synthesizer.

You build Theremins professionally along with your work at OMSI, how did
 you first get involved with this?

I saw the Theremin documentary around 1995, went home, and decided to see
 who was making tube Theremins. I found a number of people who claimed 
that they had either been building or were going to start building tube
 Theremins, although none had anything to show for their efforts. I 
figured it would take me six months from start of design to production. 
Five years later, I finished my first one. I put a posting on one of the
 Theremin sites, and was greeted by much skepticism. Jason Barille, owner
 of  the website said he wanted to see my accomplishment. At the 
time, he was living in Redmond, WA, so I drove up one week-end and we
 geeked out like you’d expect from a couple of Theremin nerds.

What can students expect to build in the class?

Second guessing what students will want to do is a good way for me to get
 in trouble. I guess a better question would be, what can they build? I 
have a simple optical Theremin that can easily be built in one evening, 
even when we are sharing soldering irons, etc. Synthesizer circuit boards 
are much more complex, but still something that can be done over the 
duration of the class. For those with too much time on their hands, I
 have made the design of my high-end tube Theremin public domain. A group
 of individuals building Theremins based on my design tend to hang out on
the Yahoo group “kepptheremins,” which is administrated by a guy in
 Atlanta. Once you have your Theremin running and properly tuned, you will 
be given a serial number. I think there are now between 20 and 30 out 
there, with a number more in progress.

What are good resources for people interested in learning more about
 Theremins and Monophonic Synthesizers?

The internet is a wonderful place to gather information. However, there
is as much if not more misinformation as there is factual information
posted. Many years ago, you would go to a library, and if a book had
information that was corrected or updated (I remember a book that was 
printed before two more elements had been discovered), it would be marked
in red. There is no “Truth Filter” for the internet. I regularly have
 Theremin designs forwarded to me that have no chance of working. The 
discussion groups are good clearing-houses for what’s real and what’s not.

Mark’s Theremins and Monophonic Synthesizers, class starts April 3. To learn more about it and our other classes visit

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The New Registration System

Welcome to CE-Reggie, our new online registration system. A unique collaboration between the Continuing Education Program and the Information Technology office, this custom-built application allows students to set up an account and manage their purchasing. From CE-Reggie you can register for classes, find syllabi, manage your schedule and find your classroom assignments.

A unique part of CE-Reggie is the social component that people can opt-in to. After uploading your photo, it will appear on the class site visible to you and to other people who signed up for your class and opted in to the program. Because we respect your FERPA rights to privacy, this aspect of your account is totally voluntary. Your profile will not be visible to the general public and those who have not opted in will never show up.

I have signed up for a class at PNCA in the past, do I still need to set-up an account?
Yes. This is a brand-new system, so CE-Reggie is starting fresh with accounts. While we still have your information in the college’s central database, CE-Reggie is a stand-alone application and will be your primary connection to PNCA Continuing Education. If you have already registered for a summer 2012 class there is no need to re-register, your spot in the class is secure.

Can I sign up for a class multiple times?
Yes you can. While it is preferable that each adult student have and manage their account, you are able to sign up a family member or friend. For parents, after completing checkout, you will be asked to enter the name of the child.

After signing up my class status says pending?
This a temporary status from when you have signed up and your order has been processed on the administrative end. After you have signed up your space is reserved and when your status changes to enrolled all financial and administrative functions are complete.

Where do I find my room number and syllabus?
Under the student account tab you can find your schedule, room number and syllabus. Classroom assignments do occasionally change so please check this page before coming to your first class. From this same page can also download your payment receipts. This page will update as you sign up for more classes enabling you to manage your experience at PNCA and compare classes.

Is this registration system safe?
Yes this site is fully PCI compliant so transactions in transit cannot be viewed by third parties.

What are your refund policies?

Dropping prior to the 1st class = $45 processing fee
Dropping prior to the 2nd class = 80% refund
No refund after the 2nd class

For Workshops or Classes 4 sessions or fewer: Students must withdraw no later than one week prior to the 1st class to receive a refund, less a $45 processing fee. No refund is available after that time.

Pre-College Studios
Dropping prior to June 15 : PNCA retains the program deposit (10% of tuition and fee total) and, if applicable, the housing deposit (25% of housing total); PCS scholarship applicants are refunded in full save for a $45.00 processing fee
Dropping after June 15, but before the first day of class = PNCA retains 50% of program tuition and fee total and, if applicable, the 50% of housing fee
Dropping prior to the 3rd class = PNCA retains 80% of program tuition and fee total and, if applicable, 80% of housing fee
No refund starting 3rd class

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Director’s Message

Welcome to the Continuing Education program at PNCA. In my blog entries I share what we do and why I am passionate about the opportunities we create for you.

I am proud of the excellent and creative educational experiences our program delivers consistently and enthusiastically. Here follows two of my highlights from our course evaluations of the recent winter quarter. With more than a third of our students in the adult program responding, 95% of our participants tell us that our instructors always create a respectful and supportive class atmosphere. This is definitely the learning environment that I want to experience for my own education and development.

Yes, we also heard, and take seriously, issues about temperature control of a few of our studios. Yet, at the end of the day our students told us the quality of teaching and learning was outstanding. An incredible 98% of our participants would recommend the course they just completed to friends.

This is a great challenge to repeat or exceed for our program, notwithstanding our extended record of participant satisfaction of above nine out of ten students.


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Creative Professionals

Recently, we caught up with three Certificate Program students making a career transition together. Experienced graphic designers, Chris, Carol and Marti came to PNCA’s continuing education to take part in the Digital Publishing Certificate program to compliment their extensive print design backgrounds.

Carol: After interviewing with counselors with other programs I realized at 59, I was not comfortable with the rigid format and all the requirements involved. my main goal was to augment my extensive Graphic Design experience with updating my creative Suite skills and honing my ability to produce websites.

Chris: PNCA offered something different. The only other 2 year program that met the criteria was web design or web technical creation-type programs. The idea of studying web creation for 2 years was more than I could fathom and I was afraid that my other Graphic Design skills would be compromised. While needing to add web understanding and creation to my skill set, I was drawn to the fact that I could also take creative classes as part of this certificate.

Marti: Being outsourced after almost 20 years of working for one company makes it really hard to trust yourself, and gave me doubts about my skills, especially having to start all over again. Interviewing and finding another job makes me really uncomfortable, but PNCA is willing to work with me, giving me more confidence in myself, as I realize that I am not too old to learn.

Carol: My goal is updating my creative Suite Skills and getting familiar with web development. I hope to take advanced classes in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and web development. In addition, because PNCA has been so adaptable to our circumstances, we have been able to substitute classes that were redundant to our decades of work history.

Chris: I also knew that the teachers at PNCA were of a caliber above the other programs. Whether that is true or only my perception, I am not sure. My experience here so far has validated that opinion to be true. The fact that the classes could be taken in the evening or on the weekend was also a crucial factor, in case I need to work during the day.

Carol: Also, when Marti, Chris and I walked into PNCA we were thrilled to see art all over the walls. It took us back to our own art school experiences. It was like coming home.

Marti: What really drew me to the certificate program at PNCA was the environment, the art on the walls, the friendly campus, and most of all the courses that would keep my skills updated.

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