Inspiring profile of Professor Emeritus Arvie Smith in Portland Monthly
August 17, 2017
Portland Monthly shares the deeply inspiring story of PNCA Professor Emeritus Arvie Smith, who made art all his life and finally went to art school at the age of 42...at Museum Art School, as PNCA was originally called. When he was young black man living in a small community in Texas, his grandfather gave him a book on Michealangelo, but one of the teachers in the school his grandmother ran told him, "‘Arvie, draw the people outside the window." That advice stuck, and a later meeting with the venerable Robert Colescott inspired him to confront black experience in America head on. The Portland Art Museum, following his solo exhibition there, purchased his 1992 work Strange Fruit.
After high school graduation, Smith reports he had walked in to to Otis College of Art and Design where the artist reports that “The receptionist looked at me and said, ‘We don’t need your kind.’”
Decades later, Smith's wife, Julie Kern Smith, convinced him to devote himself full-time to art. At Museum Art School he studied with Lucinda Parker, among others while at graduate school at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore—he worked as a graduate assistant for abstract expressionist Grace Hartigan.
Now retired, Smith was an influential educator at PNCA, inspiring students with his work, his mentorship, and his projects in the community, including working with young offenders at Multnomah County’s Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center.
We are thrilled to announce PNCA’s 2023-24 Visiting Artist Lecture Series!
PNCA’s Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies and Center for Contemporary Art & Culture welcomes prominent artists, scholars, designers, curators, and critics from around the country and beyond, to engage with the Portland arts community.
Oregon’s Sculptor, Lee Kelly BFA ‘59, passed away on March 28, 2022, at age 89.
Pacific Northwest College of Art is offering an affordable and accessible option for transfer students who want to earn a BFA degree.
We are pleased to announce that Jennifer Cole has accepted our offer to become the next dean of the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), effective March 2022, and delighted that she will hold Willamette’s first named deanship, recognizing a generous new gift from Jordan D. Schnitzer.
Willamette University and the Pacific Northwest College of Art today finalized their merger, officially making the Northwest’s oldest school of art and design an integral part of the region’s leading liberal arts university.