PNCA Reaches Record Enrollment, Largest Student Body in the College's 98-year History

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College is the Fastest Growing Independent Art College in the Nation

Exciting things are happening in Portland's creative community. Pacific Northwest College of Art is taking bold new steps to be the world-class institution we know it will be

Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) begins the fall semester with unparalleled energy and with a record-breaking incoming class including the College's inaugural class of students in the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Studies. Nationally, PNCA is the fastest growing art college in the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). This fall brought 195 new students to campus, plus the first class of MFA students, swelling the overall student body to 430. This growth reflects a 44% increase since 2005 and is coupled with continued strong retention. In part, PNCA credits its stellar growth to the initiation of a number of innovative programs as part of the College's five year plan leading up to the 2009 centennial year.

"The College can look at our robust recruitment and retention as a powerful indicator that the innovative curricular programming we have undertaken is meeting with real success," said President Tom Manley. "In embracing the institutional goal of readying students for a creative life, we have put in place programs that include Global Studios with students traveling and carrying out creative projects in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Prague. We have enriched PNCA's visiting artists program allowing students to interact in studio visits and workshops with world class artists such as Dinh Q. Le and Sue Coe and we have embraced collaborative partnerships including immersing students in the Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts' Time Based Arts Festival through campus lectures, exhibitions and festival passes. In addition, in attracting unprecedented numbers of talented and motivated students, we see that artists are drawn to the incredible energy pulsing on our campus and throughout the creative community of Portland."

Since President Manley joined PNCA in 2003, Pacific Northwest College of Art has steadily moved from its position as a strong regional art and design college into a new role as an international hub for creativity.

The growing interest nationally and internationally in PNCA's programming also reflects the continued strengthening of the region's creative economy. Portland, which has been recognized as one of the nation's top five destinations for young creative people, has become well known as a magnet for creative culture, where design, visual arts, filmmaking, independent music, literature and filmmaking flourish. Portland is widely recognized as a city where the creative economy is actively supported by civic leaders, cultural institutions, established galleries, and, driving the creative process on a global scale, the region's international creative firms. "Exciting things are happening in Portland's creative community. Pacific Northwest College of Art is taking bold new steps to be the world-class institution we know it will be," said Sam Adams, Portland City Commissioner for Arts & Cultures, in a recent article on Portland's creative culture titled "Growing our Creative Capacity."

The College's enrollment numbers reflect the growing interest nationally in Portland's creative community as PNCA becomes a more geographically diverse campus. The incoming class marks the first time PNCA has had more students from out-of-state than in-state attending. This year's class is from 28 states and also includes students from Canada, Norway and Germany.

PNCA reached a second historic milestone this fall with the arrival of the first class of students for the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies. The program is one of the few in the nation with a focus on a flexible, mentor-based approach and the 15 students in the inaugural class were selected from a highly competitive pool of candidates. PNCA's MFA in Visual Studies is the first in a series of programs being launched through the College's recently unveiled FIVE (Ford Institute of Visual Education). At the close of the spring semester, PNCA received a gift of $15 million from Mrs. Hallie Ford to create a new series of Master of Fine Arts programs at PNCA, based on a world-class artist-in-residence program composed of the most accomplished artists, designers, faculty and creative thinkers around the world. The innovative programs at PNCA's FIVE also establish collaborative relationships with the region's vital creative art and business communities, serving as an incubator for creative research and idea generation and infusing the Northwest economy with new ideas, talent, jobs, enterprises and global connections.

About PNCA:
PNCA readies students for a life of sustained creativity through the fine and design arts. A PNCA education is centered on the core values of professional practice, integrated knowledge, critical thinking, effective communication and social responsibility. PNCA's newly established Ford Institute of Visual Education, FIVE, amplifies all aspects of the College's mission. Through its innovative programs, exhibitions, symposia, outreach activities and top-notch artists-in-residence, FIVE greatly extends PNCA's role throughout the region as a hub for creativity and innovation that enriches the breadth and depth of civic imagination. The programs of PNCA + FIVE establish collaborative relationships between students, international artists and the region's art, design and business communities.

Since its founding in 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art has continued to evolve into a leader in innovative educational programming that connects students to a global perspective in the visual arts. Small class sizes, strong mentor relationships with faculty and an emphasis on studio-based learning guides PNCA's Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design, Illustration, Intermedia, General Fine Arts, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture. In addition, the College offers a mentor-based MFA in Visual Studies that allows students to create a studio-centered curriculum to support their personal artistic vision. PNCA has the oldest continuously running community arts education program in the Northwest serving over 2000 people a year through Continuing Education. Located in an award-winning campus in the heart of the Pearl District, PNCA is actively involved in Portland's cultural programming through exhibitions and a vibrant public program of lectures and visiting artists from around the world. Visit on line at for a full events calendar and to learn more about PNCA's BFA degree, MFA in Visual Studies or Continuing Education courses for all ages and skill levels.


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