Students, alumni protest Oregon College of Art and Craft closure

Students protest the Oregon College of Art and Craft on Feb. 28, 2019. KATU photo

Students are devastated and trying to figure out what's next since Oregon College of Art and Craft announced its closing at the conclusion of the Spring semester.

Students protested outside Thursday morning, but they'd rather be inside OCAC creating something.

"I mean, it's just been a magical place," said Amanda Linn, an OCAC alumna.

KATU confirmed OCAC is for sale, and entertaining multiple offers. One of those offers is from Catlin Gabel. A spokesperson told KATU via email that it's "expressed an interest in the property, but we are not part of OCAC’s decision process."

"The process has happened too fast for really concerned community members -- people who might be willing to donate -- to come together to do something that could viably save the school," said Linn, who completed her post baccalaureate in metals there last year. "It's still pretty lightning fast from the announcement to already be reviewing bids."

An OCAC spokesperson told KATU the board is in the process of considering multiple offers for the property that "will help us to continue funding operations through the remainder of the 2019 semester."

OCAC ran into financial trouble, and explored merging with other institutions. In February, the school's board of trustees announced it was closing, writing in part: "While this was a difficult and painful decision, the Board explored numerous options in hopes of continuing OCAC’s 112-year legacy, ultimately determining that closure is the only responsible option. The Board made this decision now to prioritize the well-being of students, faculty and staff, and fulfill its fiduciary obligations to the institution. In the Board's best business judgment, a thoughtful and orderly closure process offers the best possible outcome for all affected, and is therefore the right and only responsible thing to do."

"I've been taking moments to process what's happening and try to move forward, but it's hard to abandon your home," said second-year student, Sienna Sullivan-Ginn. "I just had a lot of hope for this place."

A place that's been a feeder for Portland artistic community.

"If OCAC goes away. What happens to the galleries, what happens to the art scene? What's the gathering point? And that's not to say this is the only gathering one, but it's an important one and a historic one," Linn said.

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