The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation created the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prizes in 2013 to help raise awareness of the quality of art education at PSU and to honor the late Arlene Schnitzer, who was a devoted and inspired leader of art and culture in Portland. Three awards are given to students enrolled in programs in the PSU School of Art + Design. This year, Kris Blackmore, Roshani Thakore, and Master Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. were awarded the prestigious prizes. The three artists are creating new installations at the museum that demonstrate their practice and areas of concentration.

Check out our 360 video tour led by Kris Blackmore, Roshani Thakore, and Master Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. on our Youtube page!

Kris Blackmore is a Portland-based artist and designer who uses research-based methods to explore the intersections of culture, technology, and aesthetics. Her socially engaged work examines themes of language, gender performance, privacy, and consent through outputs that span digital and print media, illustration, moving images, interactive installations, essays, and curatorial projects.

Roshani Thakore was born in Decatur, Georgia and moved to Portland after spending almost 20 years in New York City. She uses organizing strategies, research, and conversations to understand a site and context. Her work has been exhibited at the Queens Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Gateway Project, Governor’s Island, White Box, Aicon Gallery and other art spaces in the Northeast. She co-organized Movement to Power, the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective’s art and activism public project raising awareness of gender-based violence issues. Since 2019 she is the Artist-in-Residence at the Asian Pacific Network of Oregon, a statewide, grassroots organization, uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in NY and is a 2020 graduate of the Art and Social Practice MFA program.

Master Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. is Black and Italian, non-binary, and practices primarily in America. Their collaborative approach results in artwork that is created by and for the people.

Stevenson’s practice is dedicated to supporting young people ages as they develop skills in advanced imaginative thinking and self-confident expression. They have spent the last year and a half developing the Afro Contemporary Art Class (ACAC) at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, with extensions of the ACAC launching at Jefferson High School and Portland State University in winter 2021. Stevenson also has a robust portfolio of artist projects that center food and the act of gathering around it, along with new curation and exhibition work in collaboration with currently and formerly incarcerated folks. They passionately pursue artistic engagement with others because Stevenson believes that nurturing empowered and open-minded young people and communities is the best and most direct way toward ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

Learn more about PSU’s Art + Design programs