Pacific Northwest College of Art

Pacific Northwest College of Art is the leading professional arts and design school in the Northwest; we are the heartbeat of learning and experimentation in Portland’s vibrant cultural ecosystem.  We spark curiosity and sharpen skills so students can build creative careers anchored in innovation, justice and civic imagination.

Reimagining what art and design can do in the world

We believe that creative work is built in studios, labs and galleries but also in community centers, start-ups, watersheds and in the public square. Our relationships with the other colleges at Willamette University, give our students a unique opportunity to build rigorous studio practice and experimentation alongside opportunities to connect art and design to science, business, and social justice

Students gathered around the Yoburi Coffee Truck right outside the entrance of Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) main campus building at 511 NW Broadway in Portland, Oregon.

Visiting artist, Wangechi Mutu, speaking at a podium under spotlight in the Mediatheque at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).

A dynamic cultural center in the heart of Portland

At the creative heart of Portland, PNCA is a center for communities of artists, designers, and scholars, presenting more free public programs and exhibitions in a given year than any other arts institution in the city. We are part of the offbeat, challenging and constantly evolving cultural scene in the Northwest.

Events Calendar

A Place of Life-Long Learning

PNCA is the front porch for the creative ecosystem in Portland. Each year we present a wide range of lectures and exhibits; offer community education courses and host everything from block parties to art fairs to community coding, making and zine events.

I walked into the school, and my life was never the same.

Arlene Schnitzer, alumna

Mission and Core Themes

Our Mission: We prepare students for a life of creative practice.

Our Four Core Themesintegrated throughout our curriculum and everything we dogive students the tools to thrive as creative people in the world.

Studio Practice
We teach young people necessary studio habits of mind and hand.

Critical Inquiry
We give students the tools to examine existing and emerging cultural, social and political conditions and to make informed judgments.

World View
We encourage understanding of diverse cultures and teach students to recognize the interconnectedness of both natural and human systems.

Professional Practice
We equip students with tools and best practices for optimal professional growth.

Printmaker and artist, Kanani Miyamoto '17, working in the MFA in Print Media Studios at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).


The artists of the Museum Art School, later Pacific Northwest College of Art, have shaped the visual arts landscape of the region for more than one hundred years. They have become the teachers, professional artists, gallery owners, and art museum curators who have filled the galleries and molded young artists while making Portland the visual arts mecca that it is.


We empower students to reimagine what art and design can do in the world.

As artists and designers, radically reimagining everything is at the heart of what we do every day in the studio when we are at our best.

We challenge our students to think big and to extend their creative problem solving superpowers well beyond the traditional horizons of art and design.

Surround yourself with art and design

Come explore and experience how PNCA is dedicated to empowering students to reimagine what art and design can do in the world.