PNCA Alumnus and Professor Emeritus Honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award

October 04, 2017

Profile image of Arvie Smith

We'd like to extend our congratulations to PNCA alumnus and Professor Emeritus Arvie Smith for receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the newly relaunched 2017 Governor’s Arts Awards.

“Not only do the arts enrich our quality of life and local economies, arts education is key in fostering a spirit of creativity and innovation in our youth. The awards are a great way to celebrate Oregon’s artistic treasures and honor the impact they have had to our state.” Governor Kate Brown said during her recent announcement of the two artists and three organizations that won.

Arvie Smith as the first African American graduate of PNCA. He received his degree in 1986. 

The Portland Art Museum reviewed the awards in a recent article, The 2017 Governor’s Arts Awards Include Two Museum Nominees, published on September 14, 2017, and gives a heart-felt look into some of Arvie Smith's achievements as a lifelong artist and educator:

Arvie Smith is an artist, educator, and dedicated citizen engaged in building a more just, equitable, and connected community here in Portland and across Oregon.  Rooted in his African-American heritage and life experience, his impressive career in painting, teaching, and advocacy has spanned more than 40 years, and made an indelible mark on people of all ages throughout the state. After graduating with his BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, he returned to teach art there for 25 years.  His paintings have been featured in dozens of exhibitions across the country, including the Museum’s recent APEX exhibition.  Smith’s paintings have sparked a series of critical dialogues about race, identity, and history within our museum and across our community at a particularly tumultuous time.
As an educator, Smith has been passionately dedicated to youth engagement and community impact—working with Self Enhancement Inc., Caldera Arts, Portland Public Schools, Rosemary Anderson High School, and youth from Multnomah County’s Donald E. Long Juvenile Center.  He was recently profiled in Portland Monthly, noted as “easily one of the city’s most technically skilled painters.”

You can find PAM's full article on the 2017 Governor's Arts Awards here.