Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize to support PSU art students
Author: John Kirkland
Posted: March 11, 2013


The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation announced today it is creating an Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize totaling $9,500 annually to Portland State University (PSU) art students.  It will be the largest cash award offered in the School of Art and Design at PSU.

The prize is made up of two cash awards of $5,500 and $4,000. They will be awarded to PSU art students based on a juried competition. The two recipients will also be featured in a public exhibit that features their work exclusively.  

The goal of the prize, in honor of Arlene Schnitzer, is to recognize outstanding talent in the School of Art & Design at PSU, and to help the University recruit and retain top students and advance the recognition of PSU as a major player in the arts in the Pacific Northwest.  

“In additional to its educational importance to our city, PSU has a strong relationship to Pacific Northwest art and the artists living in our community,” said Arlene Schnitzer. “Some of my strongest art mentors were art professors teaching at PSU.  I wanted to establish this visual arts prize to raise the awareness of the quality of the art education one receives at PSU.”

“This prize is very significant for our students, our program and our reputation,” said Barbara Sestak, dean of PSU’s College of the Arts. “It affirms the important role that our School of Art and Design plays in the art community and provides financial and moral support to talented students who are struggling to cope with the rising costs of tuition.” 

The annual prize is the latest gift to PSU from the Schnitzer family, which has contributed heavily to the arts in Portland for several decades. Arlene Schnitzer recently awarded PSU $2.3 million to help build a new glass tower on the front of Lincoln Hall, the main arts building on campus. The tower, which will be built this summer, will complete the renovation of the 102-year-old building and provide space for instructional studios, an art gallery and a black box theater.

PSU’s College of the Arts was created this year to include the School of Architecture, School of Art and Design, School of Music, and School of Theatre and Film. Formerly known as the School of Fine and Performing Arts, it has some of the fastest growing programs at PSU, including architecture, film and graphic design. More than 2,800 students throughout the year are majoring in arts programs at the University.