Pacific Northwest College of Art

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"PNCA" redirects here. For the Pakistani arts organization, see Pakistan National Council of the Arts.
Pacific Northwest College of Art
The 511 Federal Building in Portland, Oregon, in 2015, now housing the Pacific Northwest College of Art
The 511 Federal Building was built in 1916–18 as a post office and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now PNCA's main campus, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design.
Type Private
Established 1909
Endowment $14.7 million[1]
President Casey Mills (interim)
Academic staff
104 (2014)[2]
Students 519 (2014)[2]
Undergraduates 367 (2014)[2]
Other students
1,450-ce (2011)[2]
Location Portland, Oregon, United States
45°31′37″N 122°40′41″W / 45.5269°N 122.6781°W / 45.5269; -122.6781Coordinates: 45°31′37″N 122°40′41″W / 45.5269°N 122.6781°W / 45.5269; -122.6781
Campus Urban
Nickname PNCA
Mascot Sloth
Pacific Northwest College of Art

The Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is a private fine art and design college in Portland in the U.S. state of Oregon. Established in 1909, the art school grants bachelor of fine arts degrees and graduate degrees including the master of fine arts (MFA) and master of arts (MA) degrees. It has an enrollment of about 500 students. PNCA actively participates in Portland's cultural life through a public program of exhibitions, lectures, and internationally recognized visual artists, designers, and creative thinkers.[3] Thomas Manley serves as the school's president.

The college has ten Bachelor of Fine Arts concentrations: Animated Arts, Communication Design, Illustration, Intermedia, Painting + Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Video + Sound, and Writing within four majors: Design Arts, Media Arts, Studio Arts, and Liberal Arts.[4] The college also offers graduate programs including: a mentor-based MFA in Visual Studies, a Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, an MFA in Applied Craft and Design, an MFA in Collaborative Design, an MFA in Print Media, a Post-Baccalaureate residency, and an MFA in Applied Craft and Design, offered jointly with Oregon College of Art and Craft.[5] PNCA also provides continuing education in art and design to the local community.[6]


Founded in 1909 as part of the Portland Art Museum, the school was originally known as the Museum Art School with Anna Belle Crocker serving as the head of the school.[7] After the Pietro Belluschi designed home of the museum opened in 1932, the school moved into the upper floors of the building.[8] In 1981, the school changed its name to Pacific Northwest College of Art in order to reflect its independence from the museum.[8] The independence was solidified in April 1994 when the college formally split from the art museum and was incorporated as a legal entity distinct from the museum.[8]

In 1998, the college moved to its present campus in Portland's Pearl District.[8] PNCA hired Thomas Manley in 2003 as president of the institution, replacing Sally Lawrence.[9] Manley proposed a plan to the school's board in 2004 to expand the college and move towards Portland's North Park Blocks.[8] This plan received a boost in 2007 when Hallie Ford donated $15 million to the school.[8]

The school purchased the building housing the college in 2008, and also that year was given the 511 Federal Building by the federal government as part of a surplus building program.[9] In 2009, the then independent Museum of Contemporary Craft moved into the DeSoto Building, which drained the museum's finances.[8] This led to PNCA loaning the museum money, and to a partnership and possible merger.[8]

In 2012, the school announced they would centralize their programs in Portland's Old Town at the 511 Federal Building.[9] PNCA opened their first residence hall in August 2013 at a cost of $7.3 million, called ArtHouse.[10] As part of its move to the Old Town area, the college sold its main building in the Pearl District in 2013 for $11.75 million.[11] The school secured $20 million in loans from the Portland Development Commission in November 2013 to fund the renovations.[12] Renovations were completed in January 2015, with classes starting at the new campus in February 2015.[13][14]

Campus and facilities[edit]

As of February 2015, PNCA's campus flagship is located at 511 NW Broadway in northwest Portland, in the Pearl District. It is a former Federal Post Office that is on The National Register of Historic Places.

Museum of Contemporary Craft[edit]

Committed to the advancement of craft since 1937, Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art is one of Oregon's oldest cultural institutions. Located at 724 NW Davis Street on the North Park Blocks in Portland's Pearl District, the Museum is nationally acclaimed for its curatorial program.[15] In January 2009, the board of the Museum of Contemporary Craft and PNCA's board of Governors agreed to a partnership between the two organizations.[16]


The college opened its first student housing in 2013 with the completion of ArtHouse at NW Park and Couch.[8] The six-story building has 50 apartments, plus retail space on the ground floor.[8][17] Designed by architect Thomas Robinson, the project cost $7.3 million to build the modernistic structure.[8] ArtHouse was built where Powell’s Technical Books was located and is managed by College Housing Northwest.[17]

Exhibition spaces[edit]

PNCA's 511 Gallery (formerly the Philip Feldman Gallery + Project Space) hosts exhibitions of works by nationally and internationally recognized artists. Additional exhibition spaces include the Dorothy Lemelson Innovation Studio, Holt Gallery, Gallery B10, and New Commons. Museum of Contemporary Craft at PNCA and The Lodge Gallery @ Allied Works Architecture host regular exhibitions.

Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design[edit]

In March, 2008, PNCA announced the U.S. Department of Education and the General Services Administration approved PNCA's application to make the 511 Federal Building a permanent part of the school's campus.[8][9] Located on the North Park Blocks, the building was renovated for use by the college in 2014–15.[14] After the $30 million in renovations were complete in February 2015, the building was renamed as the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design.[18][14]


The school is accredited by both the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).[2] PNCA is affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Art Resources Consortium Northwest, the Oregon Independent College Association, and the Foundations in Art: Theory and Education.[2]

Programs and degrees[edit]

PNCA offers ten undergraduate programs and six graduate level programs.[2] Undergraduate degrees are BFAs in writing, sculpture, illustration, printmaking, studio arts, video & sound, photography, media arts, intermedia, and communication design.[19] Graduate work is through the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies and includes a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in visual studies, an MFA in collaborative design, a master of arts in critical theory & creative research, an MFA in print media, a low residency MFA in visual studies and an MFA in applied craft & design jointly offered with the Oregon College of Art and Craft.[2] In addition to degrees, the school offers four certificate programs in fine arts, graphic design, digital publishing, and illustration.[20] PNCA also holds continuing education classes for youth, high school students, and adults that serve more than 1,500 students annually.[2]


As of 2011 there were 546 undergraduates at PNCA and 75 graduate students. The continuing education program serves approximately 1,450 students part-time each year.[2]


PNCA employs 29 full-time faculty (nine tenured) and more than 70 part-time faculty.[2] All faculty are working artists and designers, many showing both nationally and internationally. Founding chair of the masters of fine art (MFA) in Visual Studies program MK Guth was curated into the 2008 Whitney Biennial.[21]

Global Studios[edit]

Global Studios offers off-campus educational opportunities within the United States and abroad. It includes short-term international instructor-led programs, international summer programs, and international internships in Tokyo, Dakar, and Pont-Aven, France. The semester-long programs include International Semester Exchange, Service Learning, AICAD Mobility Program, and New York Studio Program. International Semester Exchanges take place in France and Australia.[22]


PNCA supports a fully functioning professional design firm, operated by the students and their mentors, the Center for Design or C4D.[23] This firm, operated in a separate satellite commercial space, works to execute professional design projects for its clients. The client provides funding for production costs and the students receive a portfolio filled with actual design work and a working client list.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2011. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2011 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2010 to FY 2011" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. January 17, 2012. p. 21. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Fast Facts". About. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Community Event". Calendar. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Graduate Studies". Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Overview of Graduate Programs". Programs. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  6. ^ "PNCA: Continuing Education". Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Centennial". About. PNCA. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Redden, Jim (September 5, 2013). "Arts campus rises from creative thinking". Portland Tribune. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d Culverwell, Wendy (May 3, 2012). "Manley leading PNCA's Old Town charge". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ Hottman, Sara (August 28, 2013). "Pacific Northwest College of Art's new student housing designed with visual artists in mind". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon). Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  11. ^ Njus, Elliot (October 1, 2013). "Pacific Northwest College of Art building sold to Security Properties of Seattle". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  12. ^ Njus, Elliot (November 13, 2013). "Portland Development Commission approves $20 million loan package for Pacific Northwest College of Art headquarters". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  13. ^ Culverwell, Wendy (February 3, 2014). "PNCA passes $11M fundraising mark as construction begins on its new campus". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c Stevens, Suzanne (February 2, 2015). "PNCA students settle into gleaming new North Park Blocks Campus". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Craft is a Verb". American Craft. December/January 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. ^ "The Pacific Northwest College of Art takes over the Museum of Contemporary Craft". The Oregonian. January 21, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009. 
  17. ^ a b Culverwell, Wendy (August 30, 2013). "ArtHouse advances the state of student housing". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  18. ^ Njus, Elliot (June 2, 2012). "Pacific Northwest College of Art unveils $30 million renovation plan for 511 Building". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Undergraduate Studies". Programs. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Studio Certificate Program". Programs. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ Row, D.K. (March 9, 2008). "New Yorkers connect with MK Guth's braid project at Whitney Biennial". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Global Studios: International and Off-Campus Studies". Programs. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  23. ^ "About". Center 4 Design. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]