PICA -Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

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The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) was founded in 1995 by Kristy Edmunds, a respected young curator and artist. At that moment in Portland’s cultural landscape there was a clear need for contemporary art programming that would cross disciplines and engage a national group of artists with what was predominantly regional and local artistic dialogue. The previous contemporary art organizations in Portland had each closed their doors, and a gap between the established traditional institutions and what was emerging nationally let alone internationally was steadily growing. Without a dedicated exhibition or performance facility, a group of individuals, led by Edmunds, established PICA which quickly initiated an itinerant arts program, installing visual arts exhibitions in vacant warehouses and presenting performing artists in alternative venues throughout the city. Over time, PICA’s dedication to the vision of the artists drew international attention and the loyalty of audiences, arts supporters, artists, and arts organizations. Through the generosity of Portland-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, PICA has been able to occupy offices in the nationally acclaimed W+K Building and establish a multimedia resource library and education center. In September 2003, PICA presented its first Time-Based Art (TBA) Festival which made Portland home to a wide array of artists, performers and global cultural trendsetters in an event inspired by various European and Australian-modeled Festivals including the renowned Edinburgh and Adelaide Festivals. With growing audiences and support each year, the 2006 Time-Based Art Festival is the first under PICA’s new Guest Artistic Director Mark Russell.