[Interview conducted by Cyrus Smith]
Kristan Kennedy is the current Visual Art Program Director at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), who maintain a full spectrum of contemporary arts programming, including the internationally recognized Time Based Arts Festival. Kennedy moved to Portland the year PICA was born. Her career as an artist and an arts advocate has been informed and fueled in part by PICA’s programming and impact the organization has had on Portland’s burgeoning arts community. She started at PICA as a volunteer and joined the Board of Trustees in 2002, before transitioning onto the staff in 2003, where she was responsible for managing Press and Public Relations and marketing campaigns for the organization. In Summer 2005, Kennedy moved positions to manage the Visual Program.
Kennedy is a graduate of the New York State College of Art and Design at Alfred University, and is an exhibiting artist represented by the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, Oregon. She is also co-founder of the artist collective Swallow Press (x2), whose printed ephemera and public art projects have been exhibited in PICA’s 1999 exhibit, CounterCanvas and internationally. Swallow Press (x2) projects have been published in Émigré, I-D Magazine, and Surface, and Swallow Press (x2) Printed Matter is in the special collections of Dartmouth College, the New York State Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Kennedy’s own work was included in the 2006 and 1999 Biennials at the Portland Art Museum, and she has lectured at Oregon State University, Portland State University, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and her own alma mater. She is the former Board Chair of the Independent Publishing Resource Center, where she presently serves on their advisory board, and is also a former member of the Tri-Met Public Art Advisory Committee.