New Interim Chair of MFA in Applied Craft + Design Program Brings Progressive, Interdisciplinary Vision

July 20, 2018

Headshot of Sara Huston


July 20, 2018

Contact: Lisa Radon,

Portland, OR—July 20, 2018—Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is excited to welcome Sara Huston as Interim Chair of the MFA in Applied Craft + Design Program, a unique graduate program PNCA offers in partnership with Oregon College of Art and Craft. Huston led the program’s annual Design Build project in 2010 and has served as a student mentor in the program ever since. Huston will chair the program for 2018-19 academic year while a national search is conducted for a permanent chair.

Huston is an artist, designer, educator, and curator. She runs an interdisciplinary art and design studio, Last Attempt at Greatness, with her partner John Paananen.  

“We are excited to have Sara in this role as she brings a wealth of experience in conceptual design, running a progressive design studio, and community building,” says Kate Copeland, Academic Dean. “And while she is the perfect steward for the program, having been involved with it for the last eight years, she also will bring a dose of fresh inspiration.”

In recent years, in addition to teaching and mentoring students in the MFA in Applied Craft + Design program, she has been a visiting artist at the Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and taught at University of Oregon, Marylhurst University, OCAC, and PNCA.

She received a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 3D design and a BFA in Sculpture from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in sculpture.

Reflecting on her own education, she notes that it heavily focused on the integration of making and theoretical/critical thinking. “At Cranbrook, I developed my practice with an attitude that disciplinary boundaries are permeable and crossover is productive. This facilitates unconventional thinking and leads to unexpected experimentations that result in significant insights within any given discipline.”

In addition, Huston has been involved in shaping The League of Women Designers, a member-led professional forum whose mission is to elevate women in interdisciplinary design, since its launch in 2008. Huston has organized and designed exhibitions and events for the organization.

Her pedagogical approach exposes students to a wide range of methodologies, intentions, and strategies to help them make connections between various disciplines: art, craft, design, architecture, biology, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. “I believe the moments of cross-pollination between disciplines and the liminal spaces are the most exciting and innovative areas of discourse and learning,” says Huston.

Huston’s work has been featured at venues including: IMM Furniture Fair Cologne, Germany; Portland Museum of Art; LeRoy Neiman Center in Chicago, IL; and Bellevue College in Washington. Her stockists include Woonwinkle, Branch Home, and The Shop at OCAC.

About MFA in Applied Craft + Design - Connecting design thinking to design doing
Pacific Northwest College of Art has partnered with Oregon College of Art and Craft to create a unique MFA Program grounded in hands-on making, entrepreneurial strategies, and social and environmental engagement. With a curriculum focused on the development of a strong artistic voice, the realization of work for a specific community or client, and entrepreneurism that connects making a living with making a difference, the MFA in Applied Craft and Design is the only graduate program of its kind.  

About Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies
The programs of the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies at PNCA celebrate and support the development of experimental, interdisciplinary, and collaborative creative practices through meaningful faculty-student relationships, engaging seminars, and mentor-guided studio practice. For more than 100 years, Pacific Northwest College of Art has served as a dynamic creative center for emerging artists and designers with an educational philosophy that emphasizes individualized curricula, independent inquiry and cross-disciplinary exchange.

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. Founded in 1909 as the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon, PNCA offers eleven 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 artists and designers of all ages.