PICA was founded in 1996 by Kristy Edmunds, formerly the Director of the Portland Art Museum's "Art on the Edge" program. Edmunds left PICA in 2005 to become art director for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. The gallery was housed at Boora Architects from its founding until about 2001, and then moved to the headquarters of Wieden + Kennedy in Northwest Portland. PICA remained at Wieden + Kennedy, where they received discounted rent, until 2012 when they moved to Downtown Portland on Tenth Avenue. The new space had 10,000 square feet (930 m2) of space after $300,000 in renovations.