A Conversation with Crimson Ravarra BFA'24

Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

How did you find your way to PNCA?

I went to high school in Portland. Coming into my senior year, I was very against the idea of doing school after graduation — I had the idea in my head that I was going to take a break from school. But during that time period my photography teacher in high school reached out to me and told me about a scholarship opportunity that's for students specifically at my high school that helps them to get four years at PNCA.

I was very hesitant to apply, even though the arts is something that I've always loved. But you can always say no to things — why not take those opportunities? So I went for it. I openheartedly went into the experience, and was super open-minded and curious about what it would be.

What has surprised you most?

Just two years ago didn't think that I would be in school. So I think honestly, just me being excited at school is a surprise in itself. And how much I'm able to reflect and see my growth over such a short period of time. Not only just me as a student but as an artist and as a person in different social circles.

What impact has financial support had on your time at PNCA?

Having financial support has been such a saving grace for me. I'm really able to focus on my art and having the free time to do that. I'm seriously thankful for it every single day that I'm at that school. When I walk into those doors, I remember that someone is supporting me being here and I'm able to really take all the opportunities that I want to because of that support.

Learn More About the Difference You Made for Crimson

Crimson Ravarra BFA’24 never imagined she’d help to grow a student-run art gallery at PNCA. In fact, she wasn’t convinced she’d go to college at all. “I had high school teachers put me down for not conforming to the academic system,” she recalls. But she always loved the arts, and your gift showed her how the arts can be her future. It was a PNCA scholarship for graduates of Grant High School that first made Crimson think of art school as an option.

Now, Crimson is thriving as an artist and a leader. She’s passionate about inclusivity in her field — so she joined a group of classmates who had noticed a lack of shows that embraced emerging artists and decided to do something about it. And so, Crimson began a long and fruitful experience helping launch the Playground Gallery.

Overlooking the main lobby of Willamette's Portland campus where PNCA is located.

Creating Space for Her Community

As a gallery that caters to new voices, Playground is unique. “We don’t have it structured like normal galleries — it’s a space for people to experiment with how they show their work,” Crimson explains.

In addition to hosting these inclusive, welcoming shows, Crimson and co-founders Limei Lai BFA’22, Taylor Evans BFA’22, Marty Trammell BFA’22, and Perry Chandler MFA’20 are expanding Playground’s offerings to include artist talks, live music, and workshops.

“People come and feel this sense of excitement and activation,” Crimson says. “The space we create is really special.”


Developing Her Own Point of View

As she pours her energy into strengthening the local arts community, Crimson is also focused on her own practice. She feels at home in the Intermedia Studies program because it allows her to explore different mediums. “I feel more confident in myself as an artist by experiencing the broader studios that are available at PNCA,” she explains.

And in the fall, Crimson will embrace her curiosity in a new way: studying abroad. She sees travel as a way to expand her worldview as a person and an artist — yet another part of her experience that wouldn’t be possible without you.

You Gave Her a Chance

Crimson is deeply grateful for the role you play in giving her access to these opportunities. “PNCA wouldn't have been an option or a thought if it wasn't gifted to me. It’s such a privilege and I'm thankful every single day I'm at school,” she says.

Thank you for giving her this life-changing gift.

Read more stories about how Willamette and PNCA students, faculty and alumni are turning knowledge into action on our news page.

Crimson Ravarra BFA'24

“PNCA wouldn't have been an option or a thought if it wasn't gifted to me. I'm thankful every single day I'm at school."

Willamette University

Alumni and Parent Engagement

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