pnca untitled magazine

Pacific Northwest College of Art  Online Magazine  Portland, OR

3 Questions

3 Questions with Ann Edlen

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Board Chair Ann Edlen on daily engagement, integrity, keeping an open mind.

3 QUESTIONS is a series of brief, three-question interviews with PNCA’s visiting artists and lecturers. Each year, PNCA attracts innovative, thoughtful, and creative makers and thinkers who share our belief in the transformative power of creativity. In three short answers to three short questions, these artists offer perspectives on career, motivation, and transformation. When available, we include links to audio recordings, transcripts, slideshows, or video.

PNCA’s President’s Office invited Ann Edlen to help to shape PNCA’s future as Chair of the College’s Board of Governors and a member of the Creative Leaders Council. The members of this council are creative thought leaders who have a demonstrated commitment to the value of art and design education.



“Always, always work with integrity.”


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Photo by Sheldon Sabbatini.

What advice would you offer current students about to embark on a career in the arts?

Don’t limit your options. The skills you have developed in creative thinking and making can be applied in ways you might not be able to imagine. Keep an open mind, follow your instincts, and always, always work with integrity and passion.


How do you maintain your creative practice? What keeps you motivated and engaged?

Reading, listening, watching, thinking, exploring, reflecting. Every day offers an opportunity to get engaged in some new and creative way. Cultivate an openness to possibility.

Could you describe a moment or experience that profoundly changed the nature of your work?


No single moment, but a series of moments, slowly accumulated over a great deal of time, that allow me to understand and believe that I am capable of creating work that is truly good.






ANN EDLEN is the Chair of PNCA’s Board of Governors and is Managing Partner at Think Joule, a Portland-based strategic marketing firm. Her combined passions for art and business have led to a more than 30-year calling in advertising and marketing. She thrives on the process of refining projects to their essence and picking just the right messaging to express them powerfully. Edlen works to leave generations a more sustainable world grounded in respect for all resources: human, economic and environmental. She is also a member of the PNCA Creative Leaders Council.

— Posted on 08/13 at 06:05 AM

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