Pacific Northwest College of Art

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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 Donald Tuski
Academic staff
104 (2014)[2]
Students 498 (2016)[2]
Undergraduates 358 (2016)[2]
Postgraduates 99 (2016)[2]
Other students
1,400 CE (2016)[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
PNCA Wordmark.jpg

The Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is a private fine arts 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] Dr. Donald Tuski serves as the school's president.[4]

The college has ten Bachelor of Fine Arts majors including: Animated Arts, Communication Design, Illustration, Intermedia, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Video + Sound, and Creative Writing, and one minor in Art and Ecology.[5] 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 Studies, 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.[6] PNCA also provides continuing education in art and design to the local community.[7]


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.[8] After the Pietro Belluschi designed home of the museum opened in 1932, the school moved into the upper floors of the building.[9] In 1981, the school changed its name to Pacific Northwest College of Art in order to reflect its independence from the museum.[9] 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.[9]

In 1998, the college moved to its present campus in Portland's Pearl District.[9] PNCA hired Thomas Manley in 2003 as president of the institution, replacing Sally Lawrence.[10] Manley proposed a plan to the school's board in 2004 to expand the college and move towards Portland's North Park Blocks.[9] This plan received a boost in 2007 when Hallie Ford donated $15 million to the school.[9]

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.[10] In 2009, the then independent Museum of Contemporary Craft moved into the DeSoto Building, which drained the museum's finances.[9] This led to PNCA loaning the museum money, and to a partnership and possible merger.[9]

In 2012, the school announced they would centralize their programs in Portland's Old Town at the 511 Federal Building.[10] PNCA opened their first residence hall in August 2013 at a cost of $7.3 million, called ArtHouse.[11] 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.[12] The school secured $20 million in loans from the Portland Development Commission in November 2013 to fund the renovations.[13] Renovations were completed in January 2015, with classes starting at the new campus in February 2015.[14][15]

Campus and facilities[edit]

The former 511 Federal Building relettered for PNCA

As of February 2015, PNCA's main campus building is located at 511 NW Broadway in northwest Portland, in the Pearl District. Known previously as the 511 Federal Building, it is a former post office that is on the National Register of Historic Places.


The college opened its first student housing in 2013 with the completion of ArtHouse at NW Park and Couch.[9] The six-story building has 50 apartments, plus retail space on the ground floor.[9][16] Designed by architect Thomas Robinson, the project cost $7.3 million to build the modernistic structure.[9] ArtHouse was built where Powell’s Technical Books was located and is managed by College Housing Northwest.[16]

Exhibition spaces[edit]

PNCA's exhibition department is the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture (CCAC), which is a platform for cultural production including exhibition, lecture, performance, and publication. CCAC is directed by Mack McFarland and has exhibited artist such as Wangechi Mutu,[17] Cauleen Smith,[18] James Rosenquist, David Horvitz.[19] CCAC is made up of two galleries, the 511 Gallery (formerly the Philip Feldman Gallery + Project Space) and the Dorothy Lemelson Innovation Studio. Additional exhibition spaces include Holt Gallery, Gallery 157, Gallery B10, and New Commons. 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.[9][10] Located on the North Park Blocks, the building was renovated for use by the college in 2014–15.[15] 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.[20][15]


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] The college offers Bachelor of Fine Art degrees in majors including: writing, sculpture, illustration, printmaking, painting, video and sound, photography, animated arts, intermedia, and communication design.[21] Graduate programs within the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies include a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Studies, an MFA in Collaborative Design, a Master of Arts in Critical Studies, an MFA in Print Media, a low residency MFA in Visual Studies, and an MFA in Applied Craft and Design jointly offered with the Oregon College of Art and Craft.[2] In addition to degrees, the college offers four certificate programs in fine arts, graphic design, digital publishing, and illustration through its Continuing Education program.[22] PNCA also offers continuing education classes for youth, high school students, and adults that serve more than 1,500 students annually.[2]


As of 2016 there are 358 undergraduates at PNCA and 99 graduate students. The continuing education program serves approximately 1,450 students part-time each year.[2]


PNCA employs 94 faculty members (full- and part-time).[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.[23]

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.[24]


  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. ^ "PNCA President's Office". Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Undergraduate Studies". Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "Graduate Studies". Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "PNCA: Continuing Education". Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Centennial". About. PNCA. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ a b c d Culverwell, Wendy (May 3, 2012). "Manley leading PNCA's Old Town charge". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Njus, Elliot (October 1, 2013). "Pacific Northwest College of Art building sold to Security Properties of Seattle". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Culverwell, Wendy (February 3, 2014). "PNCA passes $11M fundraising mark as construction begins on its new campus". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ a b Culverwell, Wendy (August 30, 2013). "ArtHouse advances the state of student housing". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ KOOK-ANDERSON, GRACE. "Wangechi Mutu and the revolt of the female form". OR Artswatch. OR Artswatch. Retrieved 3/9/2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. ^ Green, Kate. "Cauleen Smith". Artforum. Artforum. Retrieved 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  19. ^ "David Horvitz Talk". PNCA You Tube. You Tube. Retrieved Jul 7, 2016. 
  20. ^ Njus, Elliot (June 2, 2012). "Pacific Northwest College of Art unveils $30 million renovation plan for 511 Building". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Undergraduate Studies". Programs. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Studio Certificate Program". Programs. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  23. ^ Row, D.K. (March 9, 2008). "New Yorkers connect with MK Guth's braid project at Whitney Biennial". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Global Studios: International and Off-Campus Studies". Programs. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 

External links[edit]