PNCA students’ Panel Project joins the Pearl District’s efforts to protect windows and inspire hope

June 02, 2020

PNCA’s Panel Project, artwork to protect joy and windows in Portland

When Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued her stay-at-home order on March 23, PNCA joined many other organizations and businesses in transitioning out of physical spaces and into to virtual environments at home. As a result, tons of windows throughout the Pearl District that PNCA calls home were soon boarded up, and it became difficult to walk through the neighborhood and not experience an eerie, ominous vibe.

It didn’t take long for local businesses and organizations to recognize the need to brighten up the area, including PNCA, and soon an effort was underway to paint window coverings throughout the neighborhood with friendly messages and designs.

This led to the creation of PNCA’s Panel Project, a student-led effort to protect the windows of the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Center for Art and Design until students, faculty and staff are able to return to campus.

PNCA’s Office of Student Life jumped in to organize the project. Since they had maintained relationships with students throughout the transition to online learning, they were able to quickly identify student leaders to get the project going and inspire additional students to participate.

Following weeks of organizing and painting, students at PNCA launched the first phase of the Panel Project in mid-May, with the help of our wonderful facilities team and support from Blick Art Materials Portland. Now, after three phases of installations, imaginative and colorful messages of hope wrap around three side of our building, brightening the surrounding neighborhood in the process.

In addition to protecting our campus and inspiring the community, the project served as a wonderful alternative canvas for our students to express themselves during a challenging time, and we’re thrilled to share their vision.