2021 The Laura Russo Distinguished Alumni Award

Laura Russo photographed at JoBar by Catherine Karnow

The Nomination process for the 2021 Laura Russo Distinguished Alumni Award is open.

PNCA's Laura Russo Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes PNCA alumni who exemplify PNCA's mission, and celebrates the broad spectrum of traditional and non-traditional paths to alumni excellence. Laura Russo, PNCA alumna '75 and beloved local gallery owner, was an unparalleled figure in Portland's creative community. She left a legacy of outstanding artistic achievement in her lifelong commitment to the arts in Portland, and was a great supporter of PNCA.

Members of the PNCA community (students, alumni, faculty, and staff) as well as interested individuals at large, are invited to nominate alumni for this biennial award. Nominations for the 2021 award will be open until Dec 7, 2020.

Nominees should be graduates of PNCA and role models who stand out from their peers through some combination of excellence, impact, innovation, and integrity. They may be either well-known or not yet widely recognized for their achievements.

If you wish to nominate more than one alumni, please submit a separate Nomination Form for each.

Nomination Timeline:
April 13, 2020: Nominations open
December 7, 2020: Nominations close

Award to be given in 2021


The Laura Russo Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 2010 to celebrate Laura Russo ’75 and the contributions she made to the development of the Portland arts community, including her work with Arlene Schnitzer and the Fountain Gallery, establishment of the Laura Russo Gallery, the development of the First Thursday Group (now Portland Art Dealers Association), and service to many arts organizations including PNCA. Russo was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Arts Award in 2010 and recognized posthumously in 2011 as the first recipient of the Laura Russo Distinguished Alumni Award.


2011: Laura Russo ’75 for her contributions to the Portland arts community.

2013: George Johanson ‘50 for his lifelong commitment to the arts and to nurturing students’ creative development.

Photo: Distinguished Alumni George Johnanson, 50 with Michael Curry, 81.