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Jennifer Cole

Jordan Schnitzer Dean of Pacific Northwest College of Art

Headshot of Jennifer Cole

Contact Information

Portland Campus

Arlene & Harold Schnitzer Center for Art Design
511 NW Broadway
Portland  Oregon  97209


Jennifer Gilligan Cole (Jen) is the Jordan Schnitzer Dean of Pacific Northwest College of Art @ Willamette University (Portland, Oregon). Jen works with students, faculty, staff and community to imagine the role of artists and designers in a thriving cultural ecosystem in Oregon. Prior to her appointment she was Executive Director of Programs & Public Affairs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University and founding director of The National Collaborative for Creative Work-- a network of creators, policy thinkers, movement makers and change agents that work together to weave projects, partnerships and policy solutions that enable healthy, equitable creative work in America. Cole served nearly a decade as Nashville’s chief cultural officer working with the mayor, elected officials, artists, cultural organizations, public agencies and community leaders and activists to explore how arts and cultural participation were central to community prosperity and health. Her efforts in creative placemaking, innovative investments, public policy and cultural justice/equity were national models of practice. She has been a member of Americans for the Arts, chaired the US Urban Arts Federation, national policy co-chair for Get Creatives Working Coalition, as well served in a variety of advisory capacities with national arts and policy groups including: Creative Youth Development Network, ArtPlace America, Creative Capital, Grantmakers in the Arts, Western States Arts Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has more than 25+ years of experience working in transformational community development, youth development, and cultural leadership in both nonprofit and government settings. Cole is passionate about arts for all and intersectional work that centers community power and justice and lifts up the role of artists and their labor in the United States. She holds a B.A. with honors, in English from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA.