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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn more online about the Congressional Art Competition.
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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.
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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.
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.
Kim Lakin has been teaching with PNCA Continuing Education four years. For the first time, we are excited to offer a class on Contemporary Fiber Art, a great passion of Kim’s. A professional artist, her work uses fiber in many different contexts.
Can you talk about what drew you to creating fiber art?
I was always interested in fibers, textiles, whatever you want to call it. Whether it was the crinkly fabric of my grandmothers dance dresses or the fine wool of my mother’s suits, I like fabric because it is tactile. I was a lousy sewer as a student in home ec classes and never thought I would become a sewer of any kind! Fiber art is cool because it combines the hands-on construction techniques with the fine arts form. I like the combination.
What can students expect to make in the class?
We will be making a series of samples utilizing different construction techniques. We will be hand and machine sewing and using fusibles. We will use different fabrics to see how they work with different manipulations. Students will have a sample book to take with them at the end and one small finished piece.
What are you working on right now?
I just received an Artist-in-Residence award from Recology. Myself and four other artists will be making art from stuff gleaned from the transfer station (dump) in NE Portland. We have 5 months to make art that is 99% recylced materials. We will be having a showing of our work in the September at Disjecta. I am really excited to be doing this. It is proving very challenging for a number of reasons. I look forward to sharing my experiences with the class, Who knows what I might bring to class for us to work with!
What are good resources for people interested in learning more about Contemporary Fiber Art?
I strongly recommend joining Surface Design Association. Their journal is excellent. They always include cutting-edge fiber art. Also, there are several recent good books about fiber arts. PNCA has a good selection in the library. I am very impressed with the new Japanese fiber artists and encourage people to “google” them online. They are doing some amazing work.
Digital communications strategies and their transformative impact on design and marketing practices continue to provide a key focus of our program for creative professionals. I am pleased that our workshops and courses have been taught by industry leaders and have also engaged voices from Portland’s most innovative agencies and studios. Jessica Williams, a Social Media Strategist at the NORTH Social Lab, visited a recent session of our Digital Marketing class as a guest presenter where she spoke about evidence-based, best practices for social media marketing. Jessica also shared with us her insights into the dynamics of the creative workforce.
What advice would you offer to someone embarking on a career in communication and marketing?
I would say to explore job titles from job sites, agency websites, and company websites to see what is out there besides the “typical” job titles you see and hear about throughout school. It is also possible to create your own job title. Take the skills and things that you love and find a way to best communicate that to your audience or future employers.
What do you see as special opportunities or characteristics of Portland’s creative industry?
Portland is unique in that it is a small big city. Portland offers many opportunities to mingle and learn from top influencers in the industry (and often for free). The start-up market is huge here too, giving creative people in all aspects of the industry to utilize their skills in many different ways, and with many different people.
What keeps you motivated and engaged?
Working in the digital and social sphere of the industry, things are changing and improving everyday. Learning, alongside of working, keeps me motivated to stay ahead of the curve, and captivates my attention even after the workday is done.
At the NORTH Social Lab, Jessica Williams provides thorough and specific analytics to develop content strategies and to increase engagement for clients’ social channels. You can reach Jessica at jwilliams [at] north [dot] com.
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