Sharita Towne Appointed Program Head of PNCA MFA in Visual Studies

September 02, 2020

We are excited to announce that Sharita Towne, who has taught and mentored in PNCA’s BFA, MA and MFA programs since 2016, has been appointed Program Head of PNCA’s MFA in Visual Studies in the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies.

“Sharita Towne brings the highest standards and rigor to the site of graduate studies,” says MK Guth, Director of Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies. “Her exceptional pedagogy, impressive practice and dedication to inclusivity make her the ideal person to see the Visual Studies MFA program into the future. I cannot imagine a better choice.”

Sharita’s breadth of experience as an artist and educator is significant; she is the recipient of numerous prominent grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright to Brazil, a Hallie Ford Fellowship for Visual Art, a Creative Capital award, numerous RACC grants, and much more. In addition, she is currently a Visiting Artist and Professor at Reed College for a project entitled A Black Art Ecology of Portland.

“Sharita is an exceptional and inspiring educator, community builder, and critical thinker,” says Kristin Rogers Brown, assistant professor and member of PNCA’s Personnel & Tenure Committee. “We’re thrilled to see what’s next for Visual Studies with Sharita driving, but also for our community as a whole. Her contributions to BFA Thesis, Intermedia, and critical thinking at the BFA level have already been significant, and will help create a bridge between BFA and MFA programs.”

A research-based video artist and printmaker, Sharita holds an MFA in Contemporary Art Practices from Portland State University, and a BA in Art & Interdisciplinary Studies from University of California Berkeley. She has exhibited broadly, with exhibits and projects at Disjecta, Open Signal, SPACEs, PS1 MoMa, Brooklyn Museum, and many other sites.

Recently, Sharita was prominently featured in a New York Times article about Black artists who are making their voices heard in Portland as the city confronts its own systemic racism. The article also touches on Towne’s collaboration with Nat Turner Project - run by PNCA MFA in Visual Studies alumni Melanie Stevens and maximiliano – on a residency for Black artists.