Oregon College of Art and Craft traces its origins to 1907 when Julia Hoffman founded the Arts and Crafts Society to educate the public on the value of arts and crafts in daily life.
Through art classes, visiting artists, lectures, and exhibitions, the best educators and artwork of American craft were brought to Portland. Today Oregon College of Art and Craft is a private, accredited, independent college offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, two certificate programs, continuing education for adults, and youth classes and workshops.
History of Oregon College of Art and Craft
1907: The College is founded as the Arts and Crafts Society by Julia Hoffman, photographer, painter, sculptor, metal worker and weaver, out of her desire to foster the Arts and Crafts movement through classes and exhibitions. The first classes were held in members’ homes.
1934: The Kramer Building in downtown Portland becomes the College’s first permanent site. Founder Julia Hoffman dies at the age of 78.
1936: Margery Hoffman Smith, Assistant State Director of the Federal Arts Program and daughter of Julia Hoffman, coordinates the interior design of the Timberline Lodge. Hoffman Smith oversees the lodge’s architectural details and furnishings.
1952: The Arts and Crafts Society merges with the Allied Art and Metal Guild and moves to a large home in northwest Portland.
1962: A former hospital building in northwest Portland is purchased and converted into studios and classrooms to accommodate the College’s growth. The Hoffman Gallery is dedicated, fulfilling Julia Hoffman’s dream of a permanent exhibition space for craft.
1978: The College’s name is changed to Oregon School of Arts and Crafts. A capital campaign for a new campus begins with the donation of a 7.2 acre filbert orchard by Howard Vollum, founder of The Tektronix Corporation, and his wife Jean. Margery Hoffman Smith provides the initial donation for a building fund. The Murdock Charitable Trust awards a $300,000 grant to the institution which helps secure a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to construct the $1.5 million campus.
1979: The College moves from its Northwest Portland building to the present site on Barnes Road. The nine buildings, designed by architect John Storrs, and beautiful grounds, designed by landscape architect Barbara Fealy, were planned for aesthetics as well as function. The state of the art facilities include custom details created by regional artists such as stained glass windows, handmade ceramic tiles and one-of-a-kind wrought iron work.
1984: The Artist-in-Residence program has been in existence since 1979 and was funded by the Collins Foundation in 1984. The program enables both emerging and mid-career artists to spend concentrated studio time on campus.
1987: The College receives an endowment of $3.7 million from the estate of Howard Vollum. A foundation to oversee the endowment is established with its own Board of Trustees and bylaws.
1988: A three year, studio-based Certificate in Crafts Program of college-level classes is inaugurated, which runs in conjunction with the popular Studio School classes and workshops.
1989: The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) grants accreditation and Oregon School of Arts and Crafts (OSAC) becomes an independent accredited crafts school.
1991: The School holds commencement exercises for its first graduating class.
1994: OSAC becomes a degree-granting college with the inauguration of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Crafts degree.
1995: The College acquires property at the intersection of Barnes and Leahy, which includes an historic schoolhouse. The institution also receives a grant from Meyer Memorial Trust for $190,000 to fund campus renovation projects and to design a campus master plan.
1996: To reflect the institution’s identity as a degree-granting college, Oregon School of Arts and Crafts becomes Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC).
1997: The College celebrates 90 years of education in art and craft and is given an award of distinction from the American Craft Council.
1998: The College starts its first children’s summer art camp, Art Adventures, for children and teens, ages 7 to 17. The program is funded by a grant from the Schnitzer C.A.R.E Foundation and Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.
2003: The College receives $225,000 from the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation and $187,000 from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for campus-wide technology upgrades.
2005: OCAC collaborates with The Museum at Warm Springs and Kah-Nee-Ta High Desert Resort & Casino to create the A. Susana Santos' Journeys in Creativity, a creative cultural teen program that introduces both Warm Springs and Portland area youths to the richness of Native American art and tradition through visual art workshops, field trips, and live performances.
2006: The College receives candidacy for accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
2007: OCAC begins a $14.6 million Capital and Endowment Campaign to expand and renovate the western third of the campus. The College also celebrates its 100th year.
2009: OCAC launches a joint Masters of Fine Arts in Applied Craft + Design degree program with the Pacific
Northwest College of Art. This joint MFA, the only one of its kind in the country, allows students to simultaneously explore craft and design using the combined resources of both institutions.
2010: OCAC achieves its phase I Capital and Endowment Campaign goals and dedicates the new Jean S. Vollum Drawing, Painting and Photography Building and the Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson Thesis Studios.
2011: The College is granted regional accreditation by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
2012: OCAC announces an MFA in Craft program to begin fall 2013.