Amanda Linn wants Portlanders to remember the teapots... and the fiber art, and sculptures, and all the other painstakingly handmade works of art produced by students at Southwest Portland’s storied Oregon College of Art and Craft.
OCAC recently announced the termination of all degree-granting programs by May of this year due to rising costs and sustained deficits. According to the Board of Trustees: “At present, no final decision has been made about the immediate future of OCAC's Community Programs.”
The school has a history dating back to 1907, but has been a degree-granting institution for the past 25 years. Linn, an OCAC postbaccalaureate student, was one of many locals who learned how to craft at the small, tight-knit school, specifically to craft a one-of-a-kind metal teapot—a rite of passage for its metals department. “The future of this incredible campus is uncertain,” says Linn, who spent 600 hours on her fabricated teapot. In order to draw attention to the school’s plight she started an Instagram hashtag (#ocacteapot) and invited OCAC alumni and faculty to showcase their high-level metals skills. The hashtag currently displays 28 teapots and counting.
Those teapots are not your average brewing vessels—one resembles a rocket, another shaped like a human heart, and yet another boasts a pair of women’s legs as a handle. Some are elegant, some are aggressive, but they are all undoubtedly, labors of love.
The school is currently exploring options to stay open, but has had little luck so far.
“Our general hope at this point is to highlight the quality of the work and the meaning of the institution to alumni and the community,” says Linn. “It is not too late for a legacy or institutional donor to step in and save this rich, important institution.”