Bespoke Bodies Showcases Past, Present, and Future of Prosthetic Design

January 08, 2018

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:

Amanda Hawkins                     Design Museum Foundation                917-747-4422                        

Mack McFarland Director, Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, Pacific Northwest College of Art 503-821-8969

High-resolution media images, video and additional information available here:

New Exhibition Showcases Past, Present, and Future of Prosthetic Design Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics

Portland (January 9, 2018) – Design Museum Portland and the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) are pleased to announce the opening of Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics, a major exhibition and education program developed by Design Museum Portland. From the sculpting of ocular prosthetics to crowdsourcing affordable 3D printed hands, this exhibition surveys the past, present, and future of prosthetic design on a global scale. The exhibition is free and open to the public and will be on view from February 15 - May 9, 2018 at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture at PNCA’s main campus building, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design at 511 NW Broadway.

“Bespoke Bodies is all about innovation and impact,” said Sam Aquillano, Executive Director of Design Museum Foundation. “At the Design Museum we’re focused on how design impacts people’s lives, and this awe-inspiring work is making a difference for so many — but so few people know about it. We know people will find these incredible human stories and engineering marvels inspirational on many levels.”

The exhibit features over 35 case studies — spanning DIY-inventions from kids to mind-controlled bionic limbs — telling the stories behind the patients, clinicians, designers, and artists who are changing how we think about the impact of design, and ultimately, the future of our mobility. Visitors will explore the evolution of and design process behind a range of prosthetic devices through visual stories, historical surveys, videos, and interactive models.

Wilson Smith, Senior Designer at Nike inc. and member of the Content Advisory Committee of Design Museum Portland states, “Design plays an important role in the world of prosthetics. Not only, is it about creating something that performs and is functional, but it’s also about designing something that speaks to the individuals passions and style.”

“At PNCA we are committed to showcasing how art, design and culture intersect with everyday life.” says Mack McFarland, Director of Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art “This exhibition showcases how design and innovation is an integral component of people’s lives, and we are proud to be a part of that.”

To complement and extend the impact of the exhibition there will be a number of events featuring inspirational leaders in the field, prosthetic users, clinicians, designers, and community organizers — including an opening reception, Paralympics viewing party, workshops, tours, and panel discussions.

Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics was made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Press Preview:

A press preview and curator’s tour of Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics will be held for the media on the morning of Thursday, February 15 at 10:00am.

Public Events Related to the Program:

Opening Reception

Thursday February 15th 5:00 pm • Member’s & Invite-Only Preview & Curator’s Tour 6:00 pm • Public Opening Reception Free

First Thursday, Exhibition Tours March 1 • 5:30-7:00pm Free

Panel Discussion: UNITE: Human Tech Connect March 8 • 6:00-8:00pm Design Museum and PNCA Members: Free; Not-Yet-Members: $20

Viewing Party: Paralympics Opening Ceremonies March 9 • 6:00-9:00pm Free

First Thursdays, Exhibition Tours April 5 • 5:30-7:00pm Free

Workshop: Hand Built Hands April 7 • 10:00am-12:00pm Design Museum and PNCA Members: Free; Not-Yet-Members: $10

Design Week Open House April 17 • 6:00-8:00pm Free

Special Event: VIP Dinner with Dr. Albert Chi and Johnny Matheny April 24th • 6:00-8:00pm Please inquire for more details

First Thursdays, Exhibition Tours May 3 • 5:30-7:00pm Free

For full details on public programs visit


About Design Museum Portland

At Design Museum Portland we believe design can change the world. Done well, it can elevate our quality of life, make businesses more competitive, and protect our environment. Design awareness, education, and expertise are more important now than ever before as design continues to impact communities, organizations, and markets around the world. Design Museum Portland is redefining what it means to be a museum in the 21st century — we're online, nomadic, and accessible to all through a network of exhibitions, events, and content. Our mission: show the world the positive impact good design can have and create t he most accessible museum imaginable. Design is everywhere. So are we.

For more information visit

About Pacific Northwest College of Art

Pacific Northwest College of Art empowers artists and designers to reimagine what art and design can do in the world. As the Northwest’s premier college of art and design, Pacific Northwest College of Art has helped shape the region's visual arts landscape for more than a century. Founded in 1909 as the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon, PNCA offers ten art and design Bachelor of Fine Art programs, seven graduate programs including Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs within the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies, a Post-Baccalaureate program, and Community Education courses for students of all ages. For more information visit