Works in the Collection
Arvie Smith was born in 1938 in the Jim Crow South where he lived with his grandparents and great-grandmother, a former slave. As a teen, he moved to live in the de facto segregated areas of South Central Los Angeles and Watts. These early years laid the groundwork for his life’s work as a spokesperson for injustices toward people of color, an advocate for social justice for all oppressed people, and a painter. Smith is Professor Emeritus of Painting at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon where he taught from 1984 to 2014. Prior teaching included Maryland Institute College of Art, University of Oregon and Oregon College of Art and Crafts. Smith studied printmaking at Il Bisonte and painting at SACI in Florence, Italy and received his BFA at PNCA and his MFA from Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art, where he was teaching assistant to Grace Hartigan.
Smith’s work has been shown in New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, and Florence, Italy. His paintings are in collections of the Portland Art Museum, The Reginald Lewis Museum of African American Art and Culture, Petrucci Family Foundation, the Charlayne Hunter-Gualt, Nelson Mandela Estate, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Jordan Schnitzer, Oregon State University, Portland Community College and the City of Portland. He has traveled and studied extensively in West Africa and Europe. Arvie Smith currently resides in Portland, Oregon where he is a full-time artist.