Wall Street Journal: PDX Next Art Capital? (And PNCA!)

May 02, 2012

In the latest Wall Street Journal, Peter Plagens asks whether Portland may be the nation’s next “art capital.” If the answer is yes, it puts PNCA in a good position, as Plagens’ piece points to the important role that PNCA, its faculty, and alumni play in the region. Plagens writes about the Mayoral Candidates Forum hosted by PNCA’s MFA in Collaborative Design program and moderated by program Chair Peter Schoonmaker. Plagens also mentions Guggenheim Fellow and Chair of the MFA in Visual Studies Arnold J. Kemp in comments about the role teaching artists play in the arts ecosystem in Portland.

Plagens visited FalseFront gallery to view an exhibition curated by PNCA’s Laura Hughes MFA ‘10 (Visual Studies), and calls faculty member Crystal Schenk’s Artifacts of Memory exhibition at Linfield College “a truly poetic stunner.”

In his article, Plagens, who received pointers from PORT‘s Jeff Jahn, focuses on the role that alternative spaces play in Portland (in addition to the academic galleries), writing that they are “less about art’s being—art objects displayed and for sale—than they are about artists becoming . . . ” This notion could be applied to PNCA and Portland’s larger arts community as well. As Plagens notes, artists like Storm Tharp, who recently completed a portfolio as a visiting artist with PNCA’s Printmaking Department, are here because Portland gives artists the space to do the work they need to do. Becoming “Our Next Art Capital” may be hyperbole, but there’s something happening here, and PNCA is in the thick of it.