Once known as the Museum Art School, a school founded by the Portland Museum of Art in 1909, what is today known as the Pacific Northwest College of Art has spent over a century educating fine arts students in everything from sculpting and painting, to graphic design and digital media. Breaking away from the Museum to relocate to the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon in 1998, the college has always maintained a close relationship with surrounding communities and colleges, ensuring top notch education in the arts from a school the “continues to influence the region’s cultural landscape” today.
Students seeking a Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts can fine them at Pacific Northwest, with an accredited program from “an independent visual art and design college with an intimate ratio of 12 students to every faculty member”. Faculty are practicing artists and designers that still work in their fields today, resulting in firsthand knowledge taught from current experience. Due to the nature of the learning and the close-knit bonds engendered by working in such small groups, there is no distance learning aspect to education at PNCA.
Undergraduates can major in 10 different areas of study, from General Fine Arts to Photography, with up to date practices and technologies that allow students to experience an intensive curriculum structured to help develop an independent style in each student. Graduate students looking for an MFA can choose from either one in Visual Studies (looking at art in the present tense, a program “enlivened by… Portland’s creative community and visual artists from around the globe”) or in Collaborative Design (using the city itself as a “learning lab for graduate students seeking expanded design practices” in the context of 21st century issues).
There is also a joint degree program with the nearby Oregon College of Art and Craft for graduate students seeking an MFA in Applied Craft and Design, a two year program the merges renowned craft education with PNCA’s great design and entrepreneurial teachings. There is also a dual degree for undergrads, with a BFA/BA program in conjunction with Portland’s Reed College.
PNCA believes that “fine and design arts are vital fields of inquiry” and encourage learning at all levels, providing programs for learners of all ages. Continuing Education classes offer certificates in Digital Publishing, Fine Art, Graphic Design, and Illustration, with adult classes that take place on weekends and evenings. Classes cover fundamentals to Master level art education, are open to the community, and do not require an application. Their Pre-College Program for high schoolers offers early art training and a chance to develop an early portfolio in a “professional art college environment”, with classes offered throughout the year and during three week, summer Pre-College Studios.
PNCA’s mission has always valued art’s ability to communicate our culture and have created a college that looks to “transform students”, graduating artists with the ability to contribute to the “ongoing dialogue in art that shapes our culture”. For those looking to find their voice, their hand, their brush, their medium of expression, Pacific Northwest College of Art has the right educational plan for you.