PSU announces first recipients of Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize
Author: College of the Arts
Posted: June 17, 2013

The Portland State University School of Art & Design has announced the selection of the first two recipients of its newly established Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize. 

Patricia Vazquez Gomez, an Art & Social Practice MFA student, was selected as the first-place winner and will receive a $5,500 cash prize. Jordan Hoagbin, a sophomore studying graphic design, will receive the $4,000 second-place prize. 

(Image right: "Esta raiz llamada mi espalda," by Patricia Vazquez Gomez, 2009, 26 x 31 inches, acrylic on canvas)

The jury commended the quality and breadth of Gomez’s submission, which included painting, video and live events. Gomez’s work addresses social issues with sensitivity and courage, focusing on personal, particular stories to examine the larger human condition. One of her pieces was a two-year video project chronicling the life of an immigrant mother and her relationship with three children she left with family in Mexico. Jurors commended Gomez for “thoughtfully engaging with complex topics while providing participants with ways to engage with one another as fully emotional, political and social beings.”

Jordan Hoagbin describes his approach to design as “meticulousness, anxiety and a love for the overwhelming world of visual culture.” Jurors saw this aptitude for visual communication in Hoagbin’s portfolio and were impressed by the breadth of approaches and solutions he employed, writing that “it is clear that he has no one style or go-to visual solution, but instead, he approaches each brief as a unique challenge.”

The Schnitzer Prize was created this winter with a gift from the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation to help raise awareness of the quality of art education at PSU. The jury for the prize this year included PSU School of Art & Design faculty William LePore, Julie Perini and Briar Levit, as well as community representatives including  Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson from the Portland Art Museum, art collector Sarah Meigs, Don Rood of Felt Hat Design, and Martha Lee from the Laura Russo Gallery.

An exhibition exclusively featuring the work of Gomez and Hoagbin is scheduled Oct. 3 – Nov. 1, 2013 in PSU’s Autzen Gallery, with a public reception and official awarding of the prize on Thursday, Oct. 24 during Portland State of Mind week. 

The School of Art & Design is part of PSU’s College of the Arts. The College of the Arts was created this year and also includes the School of Architecture, School of Music and School of Theatre and Film. Formerly known as the School of Fine and Performing Arts, the College offers some of the fastest-growing programs at PSU, including architecture, film and graphic design. More than 2,800 PSU students major in arts programs, including more than 1,200 in the School of Art & Design. In February, Arlene Schnitzer gave $2.3 million to build a three-story glass tower on the College of the Arts’ Lincoln Hall. Her gift coincided with the public announcement of the creation of the College of the Arts.