Artist-in-Residence Program

The University Club of Portland’s Artist-in-Residence program was established in 2008 to enrich the University Club membership experience and to provide an opportunity to Northwest artists to reach new audiences. Such programs are rare in private clubs across the country. Each year a Board-approved professional artist establishes a working studio and program in the University Club. Club members have the unique opportunity to enjoy the artist’s work installed at the Club, to engage in enrichment and educational programs with the artist, and to observe the artist at work.

In addition to enriching the membership experience, the Artist-in-Residence program enhances the art collection of the University Club for present members and future generations. Each resident artist is required to donate a work to the permanent collection.

For the 2019/2020 program year, the University Club  is expanding  the program to allow curators and gallerists to apply for the Artist-in-Residence program.

Selection Process

The Residency program is open to professional artists and curators living in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Proximity to Portland is essential for active commitment to the Residency.

Artists  and curators working in the following fields will be considered: painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, mixed media, and sculpture.

Selections will be recommended by the Artist-in-Residence Committee, and approved by the Board of Directors, on the basis of portfolio submission, artist statement, and personal presentations.

Applications/Submission Process

Applications for the 2020 Artist-in-Residence Program are being accepted from June 10, 2019 - July 26, 2019. 
Please click here to view the submission guidelines.

Benefits to University Club Members

The annual Artist-in-Residence program begins with an artist reception and show in January. A second reception is scheduled during the year of residency, typically near the end of the resident artist’s tenure. Throughout the year recent works by the artist, or works selected by the curator, are on display in the University Club and available for purchase. During the residency the Artist-in-Residence may maintain a working studio in the University Club. This affords the University Club membership a singular opportunity to observe the artist at work and, depending on the resident artist’s program, to engage in fee-based classes. Members can also take advantage of scheduled artist lectures, demonstrations, and social events centered on art and art world topics.

Benefits to Artist-in-Residence

Founded in 1898, the University Club of Portland is a unique and extraordinary private social club. The Club’s 550 members include professionals from the public and private sectors, business owners, authors, artists, and leaders in government and education.  The University Club of Portland Artist-in-Residence is chosen for a residency of one year (January-November). The resident artist receives a complimentary year-long membership in the University Club as well as access to reciprocal clubs worldwide. The artist also receives a complimentary twice-monthly luncheon privilege for two, and an invitation to attend one complimentary University Club-sponsored event for two during the residency period, with food and non-alcoholic beverages included. A dedicated studio space of approximately 200 square feet is provided to the artist.

The artist’s works for sale or curator’s selected pieces are displayed prominently throughout the University Club for the entire year of residency; the artist is free to set appropriate prices and no commission will be taken by the University Club from the sale of those works. Through lectures and fee-based classes the artist/curator also has access to the large and select audience of the University Club membership. At the conclusion of the residency, the artist/curator will donate a mutually agreed upon piece of work to remain in the permanent collection of the University Club. This donation will be recommended by the Artist-in-Residence Committee and ultimately approved by the Board.


All sales of Artist-in-Residence work exhibited at the University Club are commission-free, excepting existing commission agreements with the artist’s representative or gallery. The artist’s works are fully insured while on display at the University Club. Current works or selections by the Artist-in-Residence will be displayed throughout the University Club during the year of residency; these works will be available for sale to members and guests of the University Club. As works are sold they will be replaced by other current works by the Artist-In-Residence. The University Club requests that the artist or curator has a minimum of 10 works available for display and sale at all times.


  • 2020 UC Artist-in-Residence, Harley Cowan

      Harley Cowan is a photographer and practicing architect based in Portland. His interest in large format photography led to a research fellowship in heritage documentation where he photographed Cloud Cap Inn (built 1889) on Mount Hood and B Reactor (1944) at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park at Hanford, Washington. Earlier this year, Harley was inducted into the Atomic Photographers Guild, an international collective of photographers founded in 1987, dedicated to making visible all aspects of the nuclear age. He is its 38th member.

      Harley has had solo exhibitions at Camerawork Gallery in Portland, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park visitor center, and Allied Arts in Richland, Washington. His work was featured in the 2018-19 Pacific Northwest Viewing Drawers at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland and Photolucida’s Critical Mass. Juries selected photographs for the “Life In Analog” national exhibition of film photography at Fort Works Art in Fort Worth, Texas, the “Lyceum Portland” exhibit of silver gelatin and alternative process at Jailhouse Studios in Portland, and “PDX 30” at LightBox Gallery in Astoria.

      In 2018, Harley was the Artist-in-Residence at Oregon Caves National Monument, won the Access Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum, and was a speaker at the Portland Art Museum for the Photography Council’s Brown Bag Lecture Series. He lectured before University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation Program, DoCoMoMo Oregon, the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School, and the Society of Architectural Historians at their 2017 conference in Victoria, B.C. His work is published online in Archipedia, an encyclopedia of historic sites, and in print with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation quarterly magazine This Place, Washington State University’s alumni quarterly Washington State Magazine, and the Atomic Heritage Foundation’s publication A Guide to the Manhattan Project in Washington State.

      A graduate of Washington State University, for eight years, Harley was a member of the Professional Advisory Board for its School of Design & Construction. Early in his career, he spent six years in nuclear industry. His studies also took him to Far Eastern State Technical University in Vladivostok, Russia where he was the first and only western student to attend.    

  • 2018-2019 UC Artist-in-Residence, Aja Ngo

      Aja Ngo is a glass mosaic artist, visiting teacher, exhibition organizer and a community artist. She was introduced to mosaic art as a part of her everyday surrounding, growing up among medieval buildings in her native Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic. Mosaic art came up again later in life as an introduction to a stepping stone project which she worked on with her son, and she never looked back. 

      What drew her to mosaic art was the skills required to make a good artist: patience, perseverance, and attention to detail. Her favorite works are texturally intricate pieces that have somewhat bold impression at first glance and begin to reveal a number of hidden details upon a closer look. Her pieces primarily use glass, texture glass, confetti glass, tempered glass, glass beads, porcelain, precious stones, corals, and found objects. Apart from study in her native Czech Republic, she has also studied in Russia, England, Vietnam, China and Peru.

      She become a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artist (SAMA) in 2014 and holds graduate degrees in World History, Russian Language and Literature, and Acupuncture. When she is not working on a mosaic she maintains her practice at Portland Traditional Acupuncture in SW Portland, and spends time with her husband and two sons. She enjoys cooking, reading, paddle boarding, hiking, biking, practicing bikram yoga, dancing Argentine tango and sitting in silence in Hoyt Arboretum.

  • 2017-2018 UC Artist-in-Residence, Michael Orwick
    • As a native Oregonian, Michael Orwick cannot separate his art from his love of the Pacific Northwest. The coast, mountains, and meadows inspire him; each infused with mysterious light and atmosphere, weave narratives into their settings.  

      Michael Orwick earned a Fine Arts degree in Illustration from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and immediately took on an internship with Will Vinton Studios (now Laika Studio), while beginning to focus on children’s book illustrations. While he enjoyed illustrating, his true passion as an oil painter prevailed, and he began a career as a full-time oil painter. He has been blessed with a nearly immediate collector base that found something in his work that resonated. 

      Last year, he, with his wife and daughter, took the year off from “real life” to travel the world. They visited twenty-one countries and painted with over 500 inspiring children from various orphanages and schools as part of their cause, called Studio Everywhere.  This year he hopes to reflect on that trip and create works of art that celebrate that special chapter of his life.

      Michael Orwick currently shows in eight galleries across the country. He enjoys working on personal projects for the galleries, as well as on commissioned paintings for clients. On a typical day, you can find him working in his home studio or outside painting Plein-air in a beautiful location.

  • 2016-2017 UC Artist-in-Residence, Robin Damore
    • Robin shares this personal story...

      “Recently, I was juried into a program at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City to study and copy paintings by the Old Masters. I was permitted to paint directly from Rembrandt’s original self-portrait in one of the exhibition halls of the gallery – it was scary and exciting because anyone visiting that wing could watch. And yet, it was also an amazing learning experience because, well, I was painting from an original Rembrandt!

      One day, as I was painting, a woman looked at my copy in progress and said something that I will always treasure. She said, “I’m not a painter, but I am an art historian here at the Met, and I just have one thing to say to you. Rembrandt better watch out!”

      Robin is constantly working to improve her craft and build unique artistry into her work. She is known for her ability to capture a person’s likeness in her portraits and, in fact, offers the guarantee to clients who commission a portrait that they “must be delighted with the painting and the likeness, or they can’t have it!”

      She started her artistic career with photography over 30 years ago photographing people in the US and Europe, including recognizable celebrities. She began drawing and painting in the late 1990’s, studying with Russian master portrait artist, Leonid Gervits. Now her practice continues as a mix of photography, drawing, and painting, especially children. She also teaches drawing and painting. Her work is in collections around the country. In the South, she is represented by Linda Burnside.

      Robin has a BS in Chemistry. Starting in 1982 and continuing over the next 18 years, she and three business partners built the marketing communications agency, CMD, and grew it from 10 people to 150. In 2000, the partners sold the agency to Jeld-Wen, and Robin left CMD to work full-time as an artist/photographer.

      “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

      Favorite Quotes:

      “There are things you do because they feel right, and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here, to love each other, to eat each other’s cooking and to say it was good.” – Brian Andreas

      "To Think is to Create” – Tom Willhite

      “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” – Oscar Wilde

      “Racism isn’t born folks, its taught. I have a 2 yr old son, you know what he hates? - Naps - enough said.” – Dennis Leary

      “There’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait, just you wait.” - Lin Manuel Miranda – from Hamilton, the musical

      “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”Thomas M

  • 2015-2016 UC Artist-in-Residence, Aimee Erickson
    • Aimee Erickson speaks French, held a summer job at a missile subsystems manufacturer, climbs trees, would like to own a pair of pants with a plastic sled built into the bottom, and has bicycled across America twice (well, almost twice). Favorite sport: soccer. Favorite chocolate: dark. Spirit animal: seahorse. She prefers analog, loves salt, and makes a mean crepe; she pieces by machine but quilts by hand, can juggle while unicycling but was never inclined to join the circus, and, like most humans, started painting at the age of three.

      She was born in Paris to American parents; her father was working at the linear accelerator in Orsay. In May of 1968 during the height of les evenements—the student uprising—the family left for England, buying hoarded gasoline from the dentist and spending the night in their ’66 Volkswagen before catching the first air ferry across the Channel.

      Growing up in Silicon Valley, the second of five children, she played the cello in a youth symphony under Art Barnes, who to her delight once paired the “Star Wars” theme with “La Forza del Destino” in the same concert. She cut her family’s hair from about the age of nine onward, and every Christmas made an elaborate gingerbread house from scratch, even going so far as to make stained-candy windows and wire a tiny light bulb inside to light them.

      The pinnacle of her talent-show appearances was a skit wherein she sang the praises of Weight Watchers while her friend nodded and ate a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. Parties at her house are animated by songs around the player piano, often with her friends celebrated in original lyrics to popular melodies.

      She turned pro after an office-job interview brought a moment of honest reflection. She rented an art studio in the Pearl; her second-ever portrait commission was the official gubernatorial portrait of Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts, which hangs in the Capitol in Salem. The pages of her sketchbooks hold drawings of people at bus stops, art museums, and cafes from Orkney to New Orleans. She earned a BFA in Visual Communication Design and has since studied at the Art Students League of New York and the Florence Academy of Art, as well as with various well-known artists. She lives in Portland and carries a sketchbook. 

  • 2014-2015 UC Artist-in-Residence, Ray Bidegain
    • After a long commercial career working as a black and white photographer, I discovered the beauty of the platinum print and began to teach myself this art over 14 years ago. I was drawn to the older alternative photo processes because of the hand made nature of the work and its inherent beauty. I find peace in my photographs, and mostly photograph things that present themselves voluntarily into my life. The images serve as visual reminders of moments and feelings I have experienced, signifying both the passage of time and the reverberation of consistency in all of our lives.
      Ten years ago I began sharing my passion for platinum printing by teaching small workshops and found that I very much enjoyed the personal interaction that teaching offers. I strive to fill my students with excitement for this work, and to ensure their success in mastering the process.

      Finding Beauty
      Confessions of a photo romantic:

      • I believe in the soothing nature of beautiful things

      • I like making things with my hands and the inherent beauty of hand crafted platinum prints

      • I am a purist

      • I believe that artists have an important role in society

      • For me, the act of photographing and the process of making prints is a deliberate, contemplative experience

      • The process is as much a part of the resulting image as the subject itself

      • I believe that beauty is in everything and every person

      • I endeavor to reveal the beauty in ordinary things

      • My work is important to me – it is an important part of me

      • I get comfort out of knowing that other people view my work and make it part of their lives

      Ray Bidegain

  • 2013-2014 UC Artist-in-Residence, Shawn Demarest
    • A native of Boulder, Colorado Shawn Demarest lives in SE Portland, Oregon. She received a BFA from the University of Colorado with a focus on printmaking and painting. Her plein air painting skills were developed in Taos, NM, Colorado, and Lacoste, France. Demarest paints from observation and in the studio. Currently, this work explores Portland street views painted in oil.

      In 2012 Demarest received a Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) Project Grant and two of her paintings were selected to join RACC's Portable Works Collection. Also in 2012 Demarest received a 4-week visual arts residency fellowship to Playa in Summer Lake, OR.

      Reflecting her immediate surroundings by noticing and interpreting moments of beauty is the backbone of Demarest’s work. In Portland, this might mean headlights reflecting on a wet street, the deep blue evening sky reflected on the side of a car, or a string of cars receding into the distance along Burnside.

      For more information view her website.

  • 2012-2013 UC Artist-in-Residence, Eduardo Fernandez
    • Eduardo Fernandez is a northwest artist working in the realist tradition and his primary modes of expression are drawing and oil painting.

      Eduardo was commissioned by the Capitol Foundation to paint the official portrait of the Governor of Oregon Ted Kulongoski and by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs to paint the portraits of Medal of Honor Recipient Lt Cl Stan Adams and his wife Jean. The recently completed community center at The Veterans Home in The Dalles was named in their honor.

      He is also a past recipient of an artist grant by The Celebration Foundation which supports Oregon artists basedon their creative vision. Eduardo has exhibited in several venues in the Northwest and has taught at the Portland Art Museum, Multnomah Arts Center as well as privately. While Eduardo’s focus is portraiture he is also enthusiastic about landscape and still-life painting.

      Eduardo and his wife Alice live in NE Portland and are both looking forward to his residency at UC.

      For more information about Mr. Fernandez please visit his website, please also view his blog: A Visual Diary of My Year as Artist-in-Residence at the University Club.

  • 2011-2012 UC Artist-in-Residence, Thomas Jefferson Kitts
    • Thomas Jefferson Kitts is a native Oregonian, who, after earning his BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1984, returned home to paint en plein air in the Pacific Northwest. Thomas is both inspired and exhilarated by the way light plays across the landscape and he has devoted 27 years to capturing it in oil. Thomas prefers to work directly from life for its honesty and immediacy, using alla prima methods and techniques of traditional oil painters such as Sargent, Sorolla, and Zorn. While Thomas lives in Portland, he is an active member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, the California Art Club, the Oil Painters of America, and the American Impressionist Society. Thomas travels nationally and maintains an active and distinguished exhibition history – which notably includes the Laguna Art Museum, Oil Painters of America’s National & Regional Shows, and the New York Art Expo. His work has been purchased by such entities as the Mariott Corporation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and the Kaiser-Permanente Collection and his paintings may be found in many private Portland collections. From 1990 to 2000, Thomas taught painting, drawing, and illustration at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. He currently offers individual and group workshops for the beginner to master-class painter.

      For more information about Mr. Kitts please visit his website.

  • 2010-2011 UC Artist-in-Residence, Lisa Caballero
    • Lisa Caballero grew up in San Diego and took her first drawing class as a senior at Yale College. She continued her studies at the Art Student’s League of New York and the National Academy of Design School.

      The paintings exhibited throughout the University Club show the variety of Ms. Caballero’s subject matter: from roses and traditional still lifes to people, seascapes, plastic bags and the decaying urban landscape. She paints her closely observed works from life, and says that realism involves “attending to a subject.” Her paintings demonstrate a contemporary sensibility, yet remain firmly rooted in the European painting tradition.

      Ms. Caballero has exhibited in New York City and Portland, and was featured on the OPB program Oregon Art Beat. She is represented by The Sovereign Gallery and the Rental Sales Gallery of the Portland Art Museum.

      She enjoys playing the violin and gardening.

      For information about Ms. Caballero please visit her website or her blog.

  • 2008-2009 UC Artist-in-Residence, Eric Jacobsen
    • 2008 - 2009 Artist-in-Residence Eric Jacobsen, a resident of Glenwood, Washington, was born and raised in New England, and studied at Gordon College (Wenham, MA) and at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. He has received numerous awards, including the “Yankee Magazine Robb Sagendorph Memorial Award” from the Copley Society in Boston, MA and was honored as one of the “Top 16 Emerging Artists” of 2001 by Arts & Antiques Magazine.

      Jacobsen finds his inspiration directly from nature, being descibed as a "Plein Air" painter. Most of his oil paintings are started and completed on site, outside, until light or weather conditions change.

      One of the great honors of having an artist in house is the ability to offer one-on-one painting lessons to Members. Jacobsen offered several on site oil painting classes at Sauvie Island while he was tenured with the UC. Jacobsen's work, which was promenitely featured throughout the Clubhouse, is available for Member purchase. If you are interested in any of the artwork around the Club, or visible on Jacobsen's website, be sure to inquire. Find out more information about the artist and his work at