Katherine Cameron '53: Artist and Educator

January 25, 2019

Last night, PNCA hosted a reception for the opening of a retrospective exhibition of works by alumna Katherine Cameron '53. After graduating from Grant High School in Portland in 1948, she enrolled in the joint BA/BFA program with Reed College and the Museum Art School, the original name of what became PNCA. After earning her degree in painting in 1953, Cameron went on to teach art in Portland for more than three decades.

After teaching for a year at Shriners Hospital in Portland, she began teaching art at Grant High School where she taught for the next thirty years. Cameron stewarded generations of young creative talents through a wide range of art classes including painting, weaving, silk screening, calligraphy, frame making, fashion design, glass mosaics, art history and more.

As President Don Tuski noted in his remarks, one of the great things about art teachers is that they change people's lives. One of Cameron's students, artist Sherrie Wolf, recalled Cameron encouraging her to apply to the Museum Art School, where she applied and received a scholarship to study.

During her long career, Cameron has continued painting in both oil and watercolor and making all of her own custom frames for her works. Cameron rendered her surroundings and experiences with a distinct style. She credits the seeds of this refinement to her exceptional experiences studying at PNCA

Cameron’s grandfather in Victoria, B.C. was a passionate and accomplished painter who inspired in her a love of art and a unique way of looking at the world during annual summer family vacations to the island. Throughout her long career, Kathie created many paintings during her vacations at her grandparents’ home.

Although Cameron earned her degree in painting, she did her thesis in lithography with Professor Louis Bunce. Throughout her academic career at PNCA, Kathie says she met wonderful people, teachers and friends. In addition to Bunce, she studied with William Givler, Rachael Griffin, and a young Jack McLarty. Some of her lifelong best friends are students she met at PNCA.

One of Cameron’s favorite memories about PNCA is learning silk screening from Professor Bunce. She won an original Bunce collage oil painting in a raffle which is still in her collection and has been loaned to several exhibitions.

Cameron did not actively seek the sale of her work, though it was purchased at fundraisers and group sales and often loaned her work to be exhibited in group exhibitions, offices, institutions, and classrooms. This is the first time they have been shown together in an academic gallery.