The theme of the 21st Oregon College of Art and Craft Art on the Vine, Innovation in Making, incorporates the shift of digital technology into the world of craft and art. As attendees entered the Portland Art Museum, they were met by two 3D printers at work. Not your usual site at a gala, the printers were from the newly established OCAC FabLab, a digital fabrication laboratory funded the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust.
The gala auction attendees included corporation and business leaders, artists, and makers, whose lifeblood is innovation. Among them were the lead sponsors for the evening: CoLab Architecture + Urban Design, Morel Ink, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Nike, and Downstream. These terrific supporters, along with longstanding sponsors Beauport Enterprises, Harsch Investment Properties, and Bonhams, make up a small selection of more than 60 partnerships in the greater Portland area. The Honorary Chairs for the evening were Laurie and Mark Engberg of CoLab.
This years’ event was one of the most energized in recent years. From the silent auction to the live auction finale, the room was alive with excitement. Bidding was particularly fierce for works by many of the OCAC Student Commission winners — a testament to the incredible creative level of the students’ work in both the BFA in Craft and MFA in Craft: Practice and Innovation.
The event focused attention on these student commission pieces in the context of the work of established artists and makers. In a way, it is a coming out party for them. And rightly so, as the sole purpose of the auction is to support scholarships for OCAC students in all programs, from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Art Adventures to the BFA in Craft and MFA in Craft: Practice and Innovation degree programs. Their work, in the words of Nike VP of Design, John Hoke, is "helping move enterprise, helping move business, helping move culture forward."