Faith Kreskey

PNCA, Willamette U. will merge

ArtsWatch Weekly: The Portland art school and Salem private university join forces; reading is the new going out; deaths in the arts family

THERE’S A NEW-OLD SCHOOL IN TOWN: Two high-profile Oregon private colleges, Portland’s Pacific Northwest College of Art and Salem’s Willamette University, have announced plans to merge, The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported Thursday morning. The boards of the two schools approved the merger on Wednesday, and PNCA’s faculty, staff, and students were told in a general announcement at 9:33 Thursday morning. The Oregonian’s Jeff Manning reports that the two schools have been discussing a merger off and on for five years, and the talks turned more serious 18 months ago. The Covid-19 crisis and PNCA’s failure to meet enrollment goals played into the agreement, The Oregonian said. The merger still “needs approval from regulators and the accrediting agencies of the two schools,” which is expected in 2021, Manning reported.

Pacific Northwest College of Art straddles Portland’s Old Town and Pearl District. Photo: PNCA

The two schools will maintain their own campuses and names. It hasn’t been so long since PNCA considered taking over the late Oregon College of Art and Craft, which folded after PNCA and other potential suitors decided against merging. PNCA also, after taking control of  Portland’s venerable Museum of Contemporary Craft in 2009, closed the museum down and took charge of some of its collections in 2016. Willamette University has been expanding quietly, Manning reported, including last year’s addition and move to the Salem campus of California’s Claremont School of Theology with its faculty and 300 students. This week’s announcement doesn’t define what this newest merger might mean to Willamette’s existing art department, or whether it will have any effect on Salem’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art, which comes under the university’s wing.


A fresh face for an old society

Museum veteran Faith Kreskey returns to the coast to lead the Lincoln County Historical Society into the future

In recent years when the Lincoln County Historical Society made the news, it was usually calling attention to the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center – and rightly so. The restoration of the historic 30,000-square-foot building overlooking Yaquina Bay in Newport was an almost impossible dream made reality. But there is more to the Historical Society — including the Burrows House Museum and the Log Cabin Research Library — and new executive director Faith Kreskey has plans for enhancing and expanding it. COVID-19 is helping her get a good start.

The Burrows House, 1895, one of the Lincoln County Historical Society’s museums.

“The Lincoln County Historical Society is the steward of the historical collection of tens of thousands of artifacts and photographs,” Kreskey said. “Right now, it’s closed to the public due to COVID. So, we’re using the downtime for collections management and care. I’ve been doing a lot of administrative work and behind-the-scenes work. It’s not very glamourous, but it’s important work. We’re inventorying and cataloging all of our collection. We’re building it up to be worthy of a great facility. Once we know exactly how amazing our collection is, we’ll lay out a new exhibit design and collection plan.”