Al Solheim to Receive The John C. Hampton Award for Leadership in the Arts

October 27, 2011


October 24, 2011


Lisa Radon, Communications Specialist

Pacific Northwest College of Art 971 255 5528

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications and Public Programs

Pacific Northwest College of Art 971 255 5511

Al Solheim to Receive The John C. Hampton Award for Leadership in the Arts

PORTLAND, OR – October 24, 2011  – “The Father of the Pearl District” and longtime Pacific Northwest College of Art board chair Albert W. “Al” Solheim has been selected to receive The John C. Hampton Award by Business for Culture and the Arts (BCA).  To be presented to Solheim at the BCA’s annual Arts Breakfast of Champions on November 3, 2011, the Hampton award recognizes leadership in the arts.

It’s no accident that real estate developer Solheim was a major driver in transforming what was formerly a faded warehouse district into a lively, walkable, art-filled neighborhood known as the Pearl District. He has long been a major supporter of the arts, often through direct means such as providing free or inexpensive space for art to be made, studied, performed and exhibited. Solheim was one of the founding board members for the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), and his Machine Works building housed exhibitions and the after-hours performance cabaret, The Works for PICA’s Time-Based Arts Festival for several years.

Solheim joined the PNCA board in 1998, becoming chair in 2004.  Solheim and his fellow board members during this period presided over the most significant growth in the Ccollege’s history.  Earlier this year, Solheim was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts from PNCA.

A native Oregonian, Solheim was mentored by John Gray and with Gray began the warehouse conversion projects that would initiate one of the most successful urban transformations in the United States. To integrate this new district into the city, Solheim served on a number of boards, associations and commissions including, crucially, the one that brought Portland its street car lines.

“Al Solheim’s leadership involvement with PNCA has been among the most fruitful in the College’s 103-year history,” says PNCA President, Tom Manley. “As board member and, for the past seven years, as board chair, Al has practiced the art of leadership through personal example. In the words of another great Oregonian, the writer Ken Kesey, ‘You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making the case.’ Al’s efforts on behalf of PNCA and many other organizations and individuals reflect this fundamental principle of leadership an the tremendous care and concern that he has for our city, state and world.”

“Nothing transforms a neighborhood faster than artists and street trees,” Solheim has said.  And nothing transforms the arts in a city like the unflagging support and advocacy of a leader like Solheim. The John C. Hampton Award recognizes Solheim for the significant results of that support and advocacy in Portland, Oregon. 

About Pacific Northwest College of Art

Since its founding in 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has become a leader in innovative educational programs that connect students to a global perspective in the visual arts and design. In addition to its nine Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, PNCA offers graduate education with an MFA in Visual Studies, a Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, and an MFA in Collaborative Design, as well as an MFA in Applied Craft and Design developed in collaboration with the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

PNCA is actively involved in Portland’s cultural life through exhibitions and a vibrant public program of lectures and internationally recognized visiting artists, designers and creative thinkers. With the support of PNCA+FIVE (Ford Institute for Visual Education), the College has a partnership with the nationally acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Craft. For more information, visit