On Friday, October 10, 2014, Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) gathered 40 key community stakeholders on its campus to participate in The Art of Possibility – Expanding OCAC’s Role in K through 12 Art Education, a retreat sponsored by The Jordan Schnitzer Family Art AdventuresProgram. Since 1997, OCAC has been a leader in providing an immersive art program, based on the College’s mission, for children, youth and teens ranging in age from 18 months to 18 years.
The purpose of the retreat was to determine how OCAC might improve/expand/enhance existing internal and external programs, and how to affect future planning and programming. The retreat also focused on creating a stimulating dialogue to be beneficial beyond OCAC with the possibility of leading to new models for K through 12 education. Among the outcomes expected are insights into current practice, identification of promising models to be developed, directions for further research and partnerships, and potential frameworks for the future – all leading to an innovation portfolio of ideas, models, and options.
Facilitated by Kristin Valente, OCAC Trustee/ Marketing Committee Chair and Partner at Ernest &Young, LLP, the day’s agenda included welcomes from OCAC Board Chair Mark Engberg, Founding Principal of COLAB Architecture + Urban Design, LLP and Denise Mullen, OCAC President. Jordan Schnitzer, President of Harsch Investment Properties, followed with a special welcome and thank you to the attendees and emphasized the importance of access to art for K through 12 students in our educational system. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Oregon’s U.S. Representative for the 1st Congressional District addressed “Putting the A in STEM”. She is the co-initiator of the Congressional STEAM Caucus launched in February 2013. The bipartisan caucus is dedicated to furthering the incorporation of art and design into STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). At the start of last year’s Congressional session, House Resolution 51 was introduced, which posits “adding art and design” to STEM fields “encourages innovation and economic growth in the U.S.”
Participants were introduced to the retreat’s three dynamic speakers whose topics were based on their diverse professional experiences that intersected at student education and the value of learning the creative process in K through 12 education. The retreat speakers were:
● Emily Mello, Deputy Director of Education, Perez Art Museum of Miami
● Aaron Rose, Los Angeles-based curator, writer and film maker
● Jeffrey Stuhr, Co-founder and owner, Holst Architecture, Portland
The afternoon was spent investigating and brainstorming based on the question “How do we foster creativity, innovation and problem solving skills in K-12 age children in our public school systems, private schools and community programs?” The result was the creation of three distinct concept maps to be distilled into distinct and consistent ideas that ran through the session. This process, once completed will go back out to the retreat participants along with a survey about the process, results, and benefits. The next step – the planning and action phase – will be driven by the results.
About Oregon College of Art and Craft
Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) has earned a reputation as a leading college of art and craft in the United States. Known for its exceptional faculty of artists and makers, the uniquely small, mentor-based community is comprised of approximately 200 students who pursue full-time BFA, MFA or certificate degree programs, in addition to the 2500 students enrolled annually in youth and adult programs. At OCAC students are encouraged to work across the full range of its specialized facilities in the seven studio areas that comprise Craft at OCAC. The hands-on, studio-based approach to learning – one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand – is enhanced by a robust, integrated liberal arts component that prepares graduates to become creative and informed makers and thinkers eager to interact with the world around them. The over four hundred OCAC alumni, 82% of whom are employed in the arts, exemplify the vital role artists and makers play in satisfying the global demand for new ways of thinking, making and innovating. Founded in 1907, OCAC (pronounced “O-see-A-see”) is an active player in the Portland, OR ethos as the home of the small batch, hand-made, environmentally sound, and ethically entrepreneurial.
About The Jordan Schnitzer Family Art Adventures Program
Since 1997, OCAC’s Jordan Schnitzer Family Art Adventures Program has served as an inspiration for very young artists of 18 – 36 months to children and teens entering grades 1 – 12. Art Adventures’ year-round programming provides a place where everyday materials turn into amazing art objects, where beauty is in the landscape as much as on the canvas, and where every child can discover the artist that resides within. Based on the College’s mission, Art Adventures programming offers all students the opportunity to start their journey to becoming the next generation of self-reliant makers and thinkers through the hands-on learning process, provided by OCAC’s committed artist instructors.
Mission Statement: The Jordan Schnitzer Family Art Adventures Program encourages creative expression in young artists aged 18 months to 18 years with focus on students entering grades 1 – 12. Art Adventures offers camps, classes and workshops designed to introduce a variety of craft media, strengthen creative skills and help promote a lifelong interest in art and craft.
● Youth Art Day Camp – grades 1 – 5: Offering four exciting hands-on art workshops daily, cultivating creativity in budding artists with outdoor art activities on OCAC’s 10-acrea wooded hillside campus
● Young Adult (YA!) Day Camp – grades 6 – 8: Middle school students, entering 6th – 8th grades, experience OCAC’s professional art studios, explore 2D and 3D techniques with two in-depth workshops daily. Created specifically for middle school students’ beginning in 2012, this offering – the only one of its kind in Portland – fills before all other sessions.
● Pre-College Workshops – grades 9 – 12: Summer workshops are weeklong studio-focused opportunities to learn new mediums, hone existing skills, work closely with professional artists and develop personal works. The offerings can be taken as a single course or, for those students looking for an immersive experience with a particular craft, the college also offers the entire series of workshops in one area as a studio intensive.
● OCAC’s four-week, Summer Residential Pre-College Program offers an immersive and intensive art program designed for 15 to 18 year-olds. The program introduces the art college experience, while following a college-level studio curriculum and living on-campus in student housing or commuting daily. Students build a portfolio through 2D and 3D exploration in a challenging, focused, and serious setting.