The Institute of Museum and Library Services Awards $61,000 to Museum of Contemporary Craft

Release date: 10/27/11

October 25, 2011

Lisa Radon | Communications Specialist
Pacific Northwest College of Art, 971-255-5528

Becca Biggs | Director of Communications
Pacific Northwest College of Art, 503-821-8892

The Institute of Museum and Library Services Awards $61,000 to Museum of Contemporary Craft for Betty Feves Retrospective

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October 25, 2011 – PORTLAND, OR – Museum of Contemporary Craft (MoCC) has been awarded a $61,000 Museums for America Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant supports the development of Generations: Betty Feves, a retrospective exhibition of work by this major Oregon ceramicist. Part of the Museum’s 75th Anniversary celebration, the exhibition highlights the strong history of ceramics at the Museum and in the Northwest and celebrates the crucial role of women in the history of contemporary art. The exhibition opens March 15, 2012 and will travel to the Pendleton Art Center in Pendleton, Oregon. The IMLS grant matches major support for this exhibition from the Whiteman Foundation, The Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, and individual donors.

The IMLS received a total of 481 applications for the 2011 Museums for America Grant Program. After an intensive two-tiered peer review process, the organization chose just 160 projects to receive funding. IMLS reviewers cited the “outstanding expertise and capability” of the Museum’s staff, the Museum’s history of “top-notch exhibitions” and its “dedication to enlivening and expanding the understanding of craft.”

“It is a tremendous honor to receive the Museum’s first IMLS grant and is especially fitting during our 75th anniversary,” said Jeffrey Thomas, director of the Museum. “This grant points to the strength of our partnership with PNCA and the continued vitality and excellence of both institutions’ long tradition of championing creativity in the Pacific Northwest. The award recognizes the level of high quality exhibitions we are now able to offer the community.”

One goal of IMLS is to help museums better serve their communities through exhibitions and community outreach programs. This ambitious retrospective brings long overdue attention to an accomplished but overlooked artist. The exhibition is the third in the Generations series, which examines the history of craft in the Pacific Northwest and the influence of individual regional artists in the American Craft Movement.

The capstone exhibition of the Museum’s 75th anniversary year, Generations: Betty Feves highlights the Museum’s mission of serving both regional and a national audiences for craft history including scholars, makers, collectors, arts professionals, and the greater craft community. The retrospective unites pieces from private collections and museums around the country for the first time, along with works from some of Feves’ early mentors, including Clyfford Still and Alexander Archipenko and those whom she in turn mentored including James Lavadour. The IMLS grant will also fund the production of the first full-color monograph of Feves’ oeuvre. In addition, an immersive website will supplement the works on view by presenting notes, maps, sketchbooks, interviews with her family, friends and colleagues, transcripts and recordings of some of Feves’ lectures, as well as a digital archive containing nearly 1,000 images of her work.

“By documenting regional figures like Betty Feves,” said Namita Gupta Wiggers, curator at Museum of Contemporary Craft, “we’re filling in those gaps in history that otherwise no one is taking the time to fill. This exhibition is a perfect example of how we are adding to scholarship and to public understanding of artists like Feves. Our role is to connect the local with the national and with the global and this is one of the ways we’re making those connections.”

Committed to the advancement of craft since 1937, Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art is one of Oregon’s oldest cultural institutions. Centrally located in Portland’s Pearl District, the Museum is nationally acclaimed for its curatorial program and is a vibrant center for investigation and dialogue, expanding the definition of craft and the way audiences experi¬ence it.

Since its founding in 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has become a leader in innovative educational programs that connect students to a global perspective in the visual arts and design. In addition to its nine Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, PNCA offers graduate education with an MFA in Visual Studies, a Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, and an MFA in Collaborative Design, as well as an MFA in Applied Craft and Design developed in collaboration with the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

PNCA is actively involved in Portland’s cultural life through exhibitions and a vibrant public program of lectures and internationally recognized visiting artists, designers and creative thinkers. With the support of PNCA+FIVE (Ford Institute for Visual Education), the College has a partnership with the nationally acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Craft. For more information, visit