The Art Institute of Portland campus is closing at the end of this year, but faculty and staff are launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise $2 million in an effort to buy the institute from its owner.

Los Angeles-based Dream Center Education Holdings recently announced that it will discontinue campus-based programs at the Portland location, along with 15 other art institutes nationwide.

According to a GoFundMe campaign launched on June 6, faculty and staff would like to buy the school so they can "continue to provide great education in the applied arts to current and future students."

The campaign has a goal of $2 million, which the page notes is "a rough estimate of how much the college is worth."

Supporters would like to raise at least $1 million by Nov. 1, which would allow them to make an official buyout offer to DCEH. If it is unsuccessful, the campaign will refund any donations made.

Dream Center Education Holdings is also discontinuing operations of its two additional education systems, the Argosy University and the South University.

"Over the last several months, we have taken a strategic and comprehensive look at each of our three education systems and their respective campuses, evaluating them to be sure that they are meeting the needs of today’s learners and providing the best student and graduate outcomes," Dream Center said in a release announcing the move.

"What has become clear is that we have a critical need and responsibility to become a much more agile organization, responsive to the needs of our students and the changing demands of higher education."

The Art Institute of Portland website indicates that the school isn't taking new enrollees. The closure is slated for Dec. 31. AI had 155 students in 2014, the last year in which it submitted information for the Portland Business Journal's List. AI is located in the Brewery Blocks development at 1122 N.W. Davis Street.

"This decision was made for a number of reasons, including significantly declining enrollment and an increase in the demand for online programs in higher education," DCEH said. "It is important to note that current, active students should continue to attend class as scheduled. However, we are continuing to assess the viability of our current offerings at these locations."

DCEH acquired multiple campuses from Education Management Corp. in 2017. Along with Portland, the group announced it would close the following campuses:

  • The Art Institutes in Arlington, Va.; Charleston, S.C; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Chicago; Denver; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Indianapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; Novi, Mich.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Bernardino, San Francisco, Santa Ana and Sacramento, Calif.; and Schaumburg, Ilinois.
  • The Argosy University campuses in Sarasota; Alameda, Ontario and San Diego, California; Dallas; Denver; Nashville, Salt Lake City; and Schaumburg, Ill.
  • The South University campuses in Novi, Mich.; High Point, N.C.; and Cleveland.

"Since acquiring these schools in late 2017, we have been undergoing an ongoing process of evaluating the viability of certain campus-based programs relative to student needs and preferences in order to best support our students, both present and future," Dream Center officials said.

"While we actively work with our accreditors and regulators to assess the viability of our current offerings at these locations, DCEH remains steadfast in our mission to provide students with accessible, affordable, relevant, and purposeful education aligned with market demands."

The group added that the recent Education Management Corp. bankruptcy filing — Dream Center had bought the institutes from EDMC — had no bearing on its decision.

Officials from the Art Institute of Portland couldn't be reached for comment.

The Art Institute of Portland posted a 29 percent graduation rate and cost students $25,000. It offers programs in visual design, interior and product design, animation and effects, film and production, and gaming and technology.

This is the second higher education institution that is winding down in Portland this year. Marylhurst University revealed in mid-May it would shutter after 125 years.