Major Spotlights

Welcome to Major Spotlights, a web installment of our Major Monday series, where we put the spotlight on our 10 incredible BFA programs.


Animated Arts

At a time when the boundaries between live action, animation, painting, photography, illustration, and design are dissolving, this program takes an interdisciplinary fine art approach to animated arts. In addition to learning principles of animation, you'll experiment with a variety of media, production methods, and narrative strategies to produce work for multiple and varied platforms. We teach the history of animated arts in the context of a broad engagement with both cinema and fine art.

More about the program
Animated Arts Studio PNCA
Kelly Witt animated art showcasing a purple unicorn creature and purple trees shaped like mushrooms

Student Spotlight

Kelly Witt

Kelly is a sophomore in Animated Arts with a strong developing portfolio in character animation that is socially woke.

Final Puppet Animation

A trailer of fifteen-two by John Summerson demonstrating all the awards

Alumni Spotlight

John Summerson '15

John Summerson is a storyteller, animator, and filmmaker. He specializes in creative nonfiction in animation, and he happily conflates visual media like stop motion, digital, and hand-drawn 2D animation, video, and sequential art, with inventive reportage practices from creative nonfiction writing, to create a unique friction between fabricated images and fact.


Lori Damiano headshot near mountains

Faculty Spotlight

Lori Damiano, Animated Arts Assistant Professor

Self-described visual storyteller and lore custodian Lori Damiano works in the realms of animation, illustration, murals, surface design, advertising, packaging, apparel, film-making, fine art, fiber art, and education. She has 20 years of experience working for a wide range of clients, including Nickelodeon’s Yo Gabba Gabba and Stumptown Coffee, and has also worked with directors such as Spike Jonze and Davis Guggenheim.


Creative Writing

Creative Writing is centered around creative writing studio classes in a variety of genres to build experience with the art of writing. We explore the use of language as a visual medium and incorporate writing into our visual work. Creative Writing at PNCA supports both experimental writing practices and those focused on contemporary forms of fiction, poetry, and script writing. Innovation, crossing - and at times erasing - creative boundaries, experimentation with forms and media, and a self-determined path sit at the heart of this program.

More about the program
Pnca Student Work Mc Kenzie Green Creative Writing
Sarah Bat artwork focusing on highlighting words within sentences

Alumni Spotlight

Sarah Bat

Recent BFA graduate Sarah Bat is a disabled queer artist and poet living and working in the Pacific Northwest, and is passionate about sea life, disability activism, and the impact of pop culture.

Carl Diehl working with technology to produce sound and video

Faculty Spotlight

Carl Diehl, Assistant Professor

The generative possibilities of experimentation, collaboration, and research make up the independent components of Carl Diehl's practice as an artist and educator. When he isn't teaching, you can often find him coordinating meetings for the writing group HTML (Hundred Thousand Million Labyrinths), cultivating algorithms, and programming events with Weird Shift, an artist-run initiative for marginalia studies. Currently, he is researching and developing an audiovisual portrait of his grand-uncle who was an accomplished performer, author, and advocate of the art of magic.


General Fine Arts

General Fine Arts (GFA) offers broad exposure to the studio arts, with a focus on materials and processes, encouraging you to explore wildly while developing competencies in multiple art practices.

While each undergraduate program at PNCA offers some freedom in determining one's academic path, the GFA program provides maximum flexibility as it permits you to select your core studio courses across studio art practices in departments including Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking, as well as electives across the college.

In addition, you'll take two theory and practice classes, which help situate your work in a larger contemporary and historical context.

More about the program
An installation of a tropical interior, featuring flamingo drink floaties, tropical plants, tropical pillows, and pictures of tropical destinations
Kamrin Matlock artwork featuring copper-plate etchings

Student Spotlight

Kamrin Matlock

Often working as a team with his brother Tristan, Kamrin Matlock makes copper-plate etchings, and gets creative whenever he is without access to materials such as ferric chloride - in such a case, he will resort to etching the plate in Coca-Cola and then printing it by running over the inked plate with a car (instead of using a press).

Two people dancing and moving to music

Alumni Spotlight

Brenna Murphy

As one half of art collective MSHR with partner Birch Cooper, alum Brenna Murphy builds and explores sculptural electronic systems that take form as performances, installations and digital sculpture. Their performances revolve around analog synthesizers and computer music systems of their own design, which are played in feedback with lights and movement.

Phoenix McNamara on a hike with their dog

Faculty Spotlight

Phoenix McNamara, Assistant Professor

In the words of Assistant Professor Phoenix McNamara, they are "a multi-disciplinary and multi-media artist...that's a nice way to say I make a LOT of different things. I work primarily in artisan branded product and interactive public art, as they allow me to connect to my audience as directly as possible. I am a fiend for bright colors, glitter, unicorns and puns."


Graphic Design

In Graphic Design, you'll learn hands-on in a client-focused environment with vibrant, practicing design professionals. You'll learn the history, principles, and major theories of design while acquiring fundamental skills.

You'll work with typography and visual systems across technologies, and with a focus on the process, you'll gain core sills in ideation, critical evaluation, and revision to create provocative, relevant design solutions.

Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to pursue internships with companies like Nike, adidas, Intel, Laika Studios, Wieden+Kennedy and many more.

More about the program
Graphic design work and collage from PNCA students
Emma Wisemann artwork featuring black and white photos of flowers overlaid on text

Student Spotlight

Emma Wisemann

Currently a junior at PNCA, Emma's work is based in typography, image making, and curation, and focuses on designing collateral, system building, and making things easier for the viewer by imagining different ways to express information and share skills.

Trung Bao speaking in front of a green circular projection

Alumni Spotlight

Trung Bao '20

Trung Bao is a beatboxer and visual artist from Hanoi who has been named to Forbes Vietnam's 30 Under 30 list. He is the founder of Fustic Studio, a "future-forward creative collective originated from Vietnam" that combines design, technology, and motion graphics to "tell stories across visual media and installation."

Bijan Berahimi in front of artwork

Faculty Spotlight

Bijan Berahimi, Assistant Professor

Bijan Berahimi is an Iranian-American designer and founder of FISK, a studio and gallery located in Portland. FISK began in 2009 as a collaborative school project while Bijan was studying at CalArts, and since then it has morphed into an ongoing project based around culture, community, and commerce through the lens of art and design. In 2020, Bijan launched JOON Magazine, which captures the art scene in Portland and showcases the impact of design and print.



Illustration fuses the development of personal vision with rigorous professional practice for the responsive skill set required to flourish in a variety of creative markets.

Our program's underlying philosophy is experience and encounter, inviting students to deeply investigate the interplay of imagemaking, design thinking, and social engagement. We combine the development of technical skill in traditional studio media and new and emerging technologies with conceptual inquiry to empower you to create visual messages capable of engaging clients and changing culture.

More about the program
Illustration collage from PNCA students
four girls exploring a forest, art by Rowan Kingsbury

Student Spotlight

Rowan Kingsbury

Rowan is an illustrator with an appreciation for pink and blue and all things magical, cute, and soft. She loves finding the beauty in the world around her and telling stories that fill people with warmth.

Artwork featuring a variety of people celebrating and expressing happiness through different avenues

Alumni Spotlight

Subin Yang '17

Subin Yang is an illustrator currently based in South Korea. She makes images using colorful blocky shapes and loose line work inspired by themes of home, culture, and identity. When she's not drawing, you can usually find her eating butter chicken or tuna kimbap.

Leila Del Duca headshot

Faculty Spotlight

Leila del Duca

Leila del Duca is a comic book artist and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She drew Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed, Sleepless, Shutter and wrote Afar at Image Comics. She has also drawn for titles such as The Wicked + The Divine, Scarlet Witch, American Vampire, and The Pantheon Project. Her client list includes DC, Marvel, Vertigo, Image Comics, ONI Press, BOOM! Studios, IDW, and National Geographic. She is a member of Helioscope and Bitch Corp - two comic artist collectives i Portland - and loves to make food, read, dabble in music, and do craft projects in her spare time.



In Intermedia, you'll explore ideas, traditional techniques, and emerging technologies. Our innovative courses emphasize new applications of media, theory, and practice; broad cultural perspectives; and critical discourse. You'll design your own curriculum - drawing both from the major as well as from other courses across majors in art and design. In Intermedia, we create, invent, reclaim, and investigate the context of contemporary culture.

More about the program
A fish tank projecting blue light in front of it and pink light behind it
Kaitlyn Petrik setting up an installation at PNCA

Student Spotlight

Kaitlyn Petrik

Kaitlyn Petrik is an artist interested in the blur between cinema and theatre and how performance can be a tool to expand our understanding of the social, political, and everyday. With a background in dance, she studied at the London Contemporary Dance School prior to pursuing her BFA at PNCA.

Demian Dineyazhi's exhibition featuring a person taking a path projected on a gold screen

Alumni Spotlight

Demian DinéYazhi' '13

Demian DinéYazhi' is an an award-winning Indigenous Diné transdisciplinary artist who has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Henry Art Gallery, Pioneer Works, CANADA, NY, and Cooley Gallery. They are the founder of the Indigenous artist/activist initiative R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, which is dedicated to the education, dissemination, and evolution of Indigenous art and culture.

Sara Siestreem and another person taking a selfie in the reflection of a Black Lives Matter shirt

Faculty Spotlight

Sara Siestreem, Assistant Professor

Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos) is an artist from the Umpqua River Valley in Oregon. She comes from a family of professional artists, and focuses primarily on painting, but also works in photography, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, video, and traditional Indigenous weaving. Her practice also ventures into institutional reform as it relates to curatorial and educational practices surrounding Indigenous fine art.



As a Painting major, you are encouraged to experiment widely. Painting students make everything from videos and installations to VR projects and performances. Our faculty of professional artists is dedicated to challenging and supporting you as you develop an individual vision, voice, and mastery of forms through rigorous studio practice. Visiting artists, lectures, and critical discourse broaden your perspectives and stimulate your investigations into the historical, cultural, aesthetic, and theoretical contexts of the field.

More about the program
A PNCA student painting an abstract pink canvas
Artwork depicting naked women, one has a jack-o-lantern face and is crawling, one is standing by a ghost, and one is sitting on a large chair

Student Spotlight

Olivia Harwood

Olivia Harwood's artist statement notes that she "intends to show specific memories by incorporating objects, figures and landscapes conveyed by patterns, fields of color and detail-oriented moments," in an exploration of "the relationships between present life choices and the impact our past has on them."

Geometric and abstract painting featuring blue and other colors

Faculty Spotlight

Michelle Ross, Painting Instructor

Michelle Ross examines the boundaries between painting, photography, and popular media, creating new relationships, both conceptual and aesthetic, that mirror the shifting realities of our time. Her formal and abstract paintings and digital collages have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

Learn more about our programs



In Photography, you'll build a strong foundation in analog and digital techniques and lighting strategies, explore expansive ways of thinking about and making images, and develop a vocabulary to discuss and critique your work and the work of others. While developing professional proficiency, you'll learn to communicate powerfully and to critically examine the challenges of photographic expression in the contemporary art landscape.

More about the program
A group of individuals looking at a wall of photographs depicting glasses with different backgrounds
A photograph of seashells with small pink flowers growing out of them

Student Spotlight

Madison Brooke-Willbanks

This work from Madison is part of a series created in response to the 2020 wildfires that devastated the West Cost. Printed as c-prints and soaked in homemade lye - made with wood ash collected from wildfire sites - these images of past and current wildfire reveal a fiery layer as the ashy alkaline mixture degrades the pigments.

A photograph evoking a fire feel and highlighting yellow, red, orange, and black

Alumni Spotlight

Hannah Rosa Lewis-Lopes '16

Post graduation, Hannah moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she works as a portrait, fashion, and still life photographer as well as a lighting tech. 2020 provided her with more free time to focus on some personal projects, and she's looking forward to releasing them in the near future.

Sarah Meadows sitting in a chair

Faculty Spotlight

Sarah Meadows, Assistant Professor

Sarah Meadows is an Oregon-based visual artist. She received her MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2016 and her BFA in Photography from PNCA in 2008. She has taught photography at both RISD and PNCA, and her work has been shown nationally and internationally, most recently at Clamp Art (NYC), Anytime Department (Cincinnati), Filter Photo (Chicago), and Melanie Flood Projects (Portland).

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Printmaking immerses students in traditional and contemporary ideas and processes, emphasizing personal voice and vision, high standards of craftsmanship, and professional practice.

Through a rich, interdisciplinary studio experience, you'll explore intaglio, lithography, relief printing, screenprinting, monotype, letterpress, book-making, artist publications, and digital and 3-D printing. The printed multiple is explored and utilized as a means of communication, as a set of objects for dispersal and dissemination, as accumulation and installation, and as material documentation.

More about the program
Sun-lit printing presses and other various print making equipment, part of the Print Making Lab facilities at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).
A black and white print depicting a rabbit in high grass that is imposed over words

Student Spotlight

Emma Reiter

Printmaking student Emma Reiter is currently working on a handmade field guide that explores the creatures of the Anthropocene and the impact of human activity on climate and the environment.

A person flipping through pages down

Alumni Spotlight

Alejandra Arias Sevilla

Recent BFA graduate Alejandra Arias Sevilla is an interdisciplinary artist and community printmaker living in Portland. Her work seeks to deconstruct the "intersection of language, domestic spaces, and personal history" through multiple lenses, including her grandmother's storytelling and her childhood in Mexico. She frequently collaborates with Portland-based community groups to "engender action and empathy through art building."

Yoshihiro Kitai working on a print

Faculty Spotlight

Yoshihiro Kitai, Assistant Professor

In his prints, Yoshihiro Kitai mixes a Western style of abstraction with a Japanese style of metal leafing, conceptually focusing on his perspective and experience of being born in Osaka, Japan, and living there for 25 years before moving to the United States. He is currently represented by the Froelick Gallery in Portland, with works in several public and private collections at the Portland Art Museum, Pierce College, and Oregon Health and Science University.

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Sculpture is a radically hybrid zone where traditional craft meets innovative tools, processes, and ideas about what sculpture can be.

This program encourages you to investigate a wide spectrum of sculptural methods, including stand-alone objects, site-specific works, multiples, installations, sculptural interventions, performance, and any number of hybrid forms of three-dimensional engagement.

You'll customize your own pathway as you work under the mentorship of professionals within a collaborative studio atmosphere. You'll have full access to PNCA's Glass Building, a laboratory of artistic expression, and our 3-D Labs: wood shop, ceramics studio, and metal shop with foundry, all staffed by on-site technicians.

More about the Program
A collage of PNCA's glass building, featuring stained glass windows, large space, sculpture, and installations
a ceramic burnout piece from Liz Taylor at PNCA

Alumni Spotlight

Liz Taylor '20

Through their work, Liz Taylor often explores the manifestation of grief and physical memory through the use of crocheted textiles and ceramic burnouts.

Adam Arnold in a tuxedo sitting on top of a retro white car

Faculty Spotlight

Adam Arnold

When not teaching his sewing/construction class, instructor Adam Arnold can be found designing and creating his own line of clothing from his studio in Southeast Portland. His garments are known for their clean lines, tailored silhouettes, timeless appeal, and impeccable construction, and he has collaborated with the Portland Art Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater.

Move trailer titled 'An Open Letter to my Younger Self' by Caelum Gay

Student Spotlight

Caelum Gay

Caelum Gay As an artist, Caelum works primarily in photography and video, and is interested in introspective work that often exudes vulnerability - as evidenced by his latest film An Open Letter to my Younger Self, which explores his journey through racism and how he landed in his commitment to anti-racist values.

Click the Vimeo link to view the film
(password = pnca2020)

A exhibition space projecting two walls focused on nature

Alumni Spotlight

Mercedes Raijme

Mercedes Raijme Mercedes created a publication entitled "a piece of the wall" and accompanying website for their thesis project, with the website utilizing prevalent nationalistic right-wing language and visual cues to promote the publication, which includes information on the effects of the U.S./Mexico border wall and brief summaries of related historical events. All proceeds generated from the sale of the publication are given to organizations assisting migrants and refugees.

Linda Kliewer headshot

Faculty Spotlight

Linda Kliewer, Department Head & Associate Professor

Linda Kliewer is an award-winning queer filmmaker and photographer who has been making film, video, and still images for over 40 years. Her passions are social documentary and teaching, and her work often centers on self-portraiture and social commentary. Linda's body of documentary photography is one of the largest photographic collections of Portland's queer community, and her work has been screened at Sundance Film Festival, NW Film and Video Festival, the Portland Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, and has been published, exhibited, and screened internationally in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Paris, and Belgrade, Serbia.

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