Museum of Contemporary Craft Welcomes New Board Members

Release date: 08/24/12

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2012

Lisa Radon, Communications Specialist 971-255-5528

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications 503-821-8892

Museum of Contemporary Craft Welcomes New Board Members

Portland, OR—August 23, 2012—Museum of Contemporary Craft is pleased to welcome two new members, Randy Higgins and Dr. Joseph Bloom, to its Board of Directors.

Randy Higgins is Creative Director of 3D design at Vizwerks. He has also recently accepted a position heading up Entrepreneurial Studies for the MFA in Applied Craft and Design, a graduate degree offered jointly by Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and Oregon College of Art and Craft. Higgins has been involved in the MFA program since its inception as mentor and teacher.

Dr. Joseph Bloom is Dean and Professor Emeritus at the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health and Sciences University. He brings to the Museum decades of non-profit board expertise as well as academic experience. Bloom is past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, the American Board of Forensic Psychiatry, the Oregon Neuropsychiatric Association, and the Oregon Psychiatric Association. Bloom and his wife, Jackie, have a longstanding interest in indigenous craft.

The Museum recently completed a successful 75th year anniversary season, highlighted by the recent appointment of acclaimed longtime curator, Namita Gupta Wiggers as Director and Chief Curator. The culminating exhibition of the celebration, Generations: Betty Feves, called the year’s best exhibition by Portland’s top art critics, recently closed with a special musical collaboration with Chamber Music Northwest. The Museum has recently received news of operating support from the Oregon Cultural Trust, and exceeded its required goals to successfully achieve a generous challenge grant from the Miller Foundation.

This announcement also comes as the Museum continues to widen its scope to consider the overlapping areas between craft and design. Following a growing track record of exhibitions like Manuf®actured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects (2008) and Studio H: Design. Build. Transform (2011), the opening of the Design with the Other 90%: CITIES exhibition this month in partnership with Mercy Corps, with major exhibition support from The Lemelson Foundation, continues conversations around how craft plays into design, vice versa, and what comes out of that interplay. The interests and experience of the Museum’s two new board members reflect this continued expansion of the Museum’s programming and the efforts to further strengthen curricular ties between the Museum’s programming and PNCA.

“Randy and Joe bring important experiences and expertise to the Museum board that will help us develop programs, strengthen the curricular relationship with PNCA, and connect with crucial leaders in the community,” says Director and Chief Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers. “They join a board that has and continues to support the Museum and College through an exciting time.”

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 experience it.

Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has been an influential force in art and design education in the Pacific Northwest since its founding in 1909. Today PNCA continues to prepare students for a life of creative practice with nearly 600 students in 15 undergraduate and graduate programs, and another 1,500 students in its continuing education programs. 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 10 Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, PNCA offers five graduate degrees under the auspices of its Ford Institute for Visual Education (FIVE): an MFA in Visual Studies, a Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, an MFA in Collaborative Design, and an MFA in Applied Craft and Design developed with the Oregon College of Art and Craft, the first inter-institutional degree of its kind in the US.

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. Portland Monthly, in its January 2012 issue, called PNCA the “crown jewel of Portland’s creative class.” With the support of FIVE, the College has an operating partnership with the nationally acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Craft. For more information, visit