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Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)

atlascentauratlascentaur 74 replies8 threads Junior Member
I've seen a few questions here about PNCA... But we're missing a thread about the school.

Am now learning quite a bit about it (we have a good friend who has taught there part time for a decade - so we have talked with her quite a lot). My son started this week attending part time while he decides if he'd want to stay.

So far, things are good. They're far more interested in working with us than his prior art school and he has settled in well so far.

They weren't thrilled that he chose part time (but we were). I suppose that's the default - to want students to go full time to fill the coffers and help ensure they get through on time.

We have a few things we're trying to set up - an independent study - but don't know how that will go. Early responses are quite good.

Open to questions and discussion about the school if anyone has them.
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Replies to: Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)

  • atlascentauratlascentaur 74 replies8 threads Junior Member
    A quick update. My son is now midway through his second semester at PNCA. The school is much more open and interesting (in terms of art and design) than his prior art school. So, at this point he's really enjoying himself.

    Most of his instructors have been good. He went part time in the fall and is now full time. Some of the administrative things are funky — not always on top of the admin parts.

    It has a superb printmaking department, excellent for illustration, quite good in design, connections with Adidas (HQ's in Portland) for product design... Good animation, poor for film and sound.

    In terms of art, it is much like most art schools which is lost in the conceptual design. However, my son has chosen to stay away from many of the silly things.

    He was quite pleasantly surprised by his time art class this term. It's mandatory and we all feared performance art focus. Turned out they REALLY consider time art. Artist books are time art (it's true) for example and animation and performance art and... So he's really enjoyed it as well as his 3D class.

    Fortunately, while he has little drawing/painting background, he's been making for a very long time (duct-tape gauntlets, dissembling and repainting Nerf guns...). So his hand skills are excellent and in the 3D class that has really paid off big.

    Quite fun to watch him thrive when Chicago (SAIC) was so filled with arrogance and snobbery about conceptual art. As we are hearing people say, those formerly big schools are making fundamental mistakes (Chicago, CalArts, etc.) and separating students from the core of making.

    Feel free to ask away if you would like to hear more.
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  • atlascentauratlascentaur 74 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Year 2 update: This year my son, whose love is film, has chosen to major in design. The film program looks quite poor at PNCA (too wrapped up in "film as art" rather than something more useful).

    The design program is superb and the work he's doing is excellent. He's challenged tremendously by the projects and is making huge progress.

    So, all-in-all, PNCA is turning out to be a very solid experience for him — and far better than the disaster he encountered at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Certainly there are the same kinds of conceptual artists around PNCA and they'd drive him crazy if he was in the general "art" program. But within design he's learning from the best and doing well.

    (Nationally recognized designers thrive in Portland through the extensive consumer goods world/US headquarters or design headquarters here. Nike. addidas. Keen. Columbia Sportswear. Merrill. many more shoe companies. W+K (Weiden & Kennedy) and much more. Great talent pool here for the school to draw on.)
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