A Focal Point for the Arts

July 26, 2012

PNCA’s campaign to transform the former Federal Building at 511 NW Broadway on the North Park Blocks into the new Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design is not the only project in the US to make brilliant use of an aging federal asset.

In the article “Pushing the Envelope,” Sactown Magazine looks at buildings created during the New Deal and the lasting legacy they have as the US Postal Service contracts in size. It outlines a surprising pattern of taking the empty buildings left behind and converting them into centers for culture, such as museums, theaters, and universities. The article calls out PNCA’s efforts to transform the old 1918 post office into a cultural treasure for Portland and “a focal point for the arts.”

“From small towns to big cities, local governments and private developers are recognizing the extraordinary potential in converting these historic, elegant structures into community assets, such as museums, theaters and universities, that have the power to change the face of their downtowns.”

PNCA’s Creativity Works Here capital campaign kicked off this spring with a $5 million lead gift from the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation. The College’s campus expansion to the North Park Blocks—just blocks from our partner Museum of Contemporary Craft and the Powell family’s new ArtHouse PNCA student housing—will transform not only the North Park Blocks but the cultural fabric of Portland. 

Other buildings discussed in the Sactown Magazine piece include a 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office being turned into a performing arts complex, Nashville’s 1934 post office becoming the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and the city of Las Vegas turning a 1933 post office and courthouse into the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement.

Read more about Sactown Magazine‘s “Pushing the Envelope” and find out more about PNCA’s capital campaign CREATIVITY WORKS HERE supporting the College’s campus expansion to the North Park Blocks.