Pamplin Media Group – Schnitzer Doubles With $ 10 Million Donation To Portland Art Museum

The donation from the museum’s largest donor will boost plans for new buildings and endowment to create buildings connecting the Rothko Pavilion.


Arlene Schnitzer donates an additional $ 10 million to the Portland Art Museum. This is the largest personal donation to the museum in its history and one of the largest to an arts organization in Oregon.

Schnitzer, who along with her late husband Harold bears his name on several art venues across the state, donates the money for the museum as the main donation of the museum’s ongoing connection campaign. The campaign is raising funds to build the Rothko Pavilion and increase the museum’s endowment in support of access, exhibits and programs. This glass-boxed entrance to the Rothko Pavilion will connect the two main buildings of the museum, giving it a post-modern feel and reducing the need to use the tunnel between them. The pavilion’s inauguration is scheduled for next year.

COURTESY OF: PORTLAND ART MUSEUM - Brian Ferriso, Director of the Portland Art Museum and Arlene Schnitzer.  She kept the solvent from the museum during the Great Recession, he said. In a video message released during an announcement ceremony at the museum on Tuesday, Jan.21, Schnitzer said she made the donation because she couldn’t imagine Portland without the Portland Art Museum. She was happy that the museum had opened its doors to more people and was friendly with the community as well as the artists of the Northwest. She also challenged the well-to-do to donate to the museum. “You can’t just get in the fresh air, we have to be responsible,” Schnitzer said. “Put up or shut up. You have to show a community that you care about the community.”

Speaking of the famous abstract painter who lived briefly in Portland as a child, she called Mark Rothko, “one of the greatest artists of our time”, and said he used to be sit on his father’s lap.

She said the Rothko Pavilion “can only mean great things to the Portland Art Museum”, and it is “a very significant moment in my life in this city”.

Their son, Jordan Schnitzer, told the Portland Tribune that his mother realized as she neared 91 on January 10 that she wanted to see the new lodge built during her lifetime.

As a result, she increased the amount she had already pledged to the museum from $ 5 million to $ 10 million.

“The role that the Portland Art Museum has played in our family is huge,” said Jordan Schnitzer. “When mom enrolled in museum school, it opened up a world of art for her, my dad and myself. I can’t imagine my life without art.”

Names of museums

In 2007 Harold and Arlene Schnitzer were appointed the museum’s first life trustees. The museum has designed exhibits based on its own personal collection of Asian art and Northwestern paintings and sculptures.

In an appreciation included in the announcement of the giveaway, Brian Ferriso, Director and Chief Curator, praised “the hard work and deeds of great people, citizens who generously give of their time, talents and resources. earned for the benefit of a community and its future generations. ”

He said Arlene and Harold Schnitzer were at the top of the list of those who “entered the life of the museum and led at pivotal times, in themselves changing the trajectory of the institution”.

Arlene Schnitzer studied at the Museum School in 1958, the name of the Pacific Northwest College of Art at the time. She also founded the downtown Fountain Gallery in 1961, which was for a long time one of the city’s only serious shopping malls. Ferriso said: “The viewing of artwork by Arlene and Harold and the creation of artwork by Arlene were formative experiences which inspired their dedication to the cultural and educational life of our city and our region. State. ”

She is credited with inspiring artists such as Louis Bunce, Michele Russo, Hilda and Carl Morris, Lee Kelly and Lucinda Parker for working in Portland rather than moving to a larger art city.

COURTESY OF: PORTLAND ART MUSEUM - Jordan Schnitzer and his mother Arlene Schnitzer.  At 91, she wants to see the Rothko Pavilion built during her lifetime. With donations to the museum exceeding $ 21 million, the Schnitzers are the largest financial contributors in the history of the museum. They have donated for fundraising, supported special exhibitions, memberships, acquisitions, curatorships, exhibitions, publications and general operations, as well as art and time donations.

Their collections were presented to the museum in the special exhibitions “Mysterious Spirits, Strange Beasts, Earthly Delights: Ancient Chinese Art from the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection” in 2005, and “The Passionate Pursuit: The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer ”. in 2014.

They have also provided major pieces of American and English silverware and Native American pearls, as well as funds over the years to support the purchase of many works in all areas of the collection.

History of giving

Arlene and Harold Schnitzer have inspired others to collect, including Deanne and Richard Rubinstein, Lila and Doug Goodman, Susan and Jim Winkler, and Barbara and Gerry Pratt, along with their son, Jordan Schnitzer. He has three university museums named after him, in Portland, Eugene and Pullman, Washington, and is known to have the largest collections of post-war American prints in the world.

“I am so proud of my mother, Arlene, and my late father, Harold,” he said in a press release.

While his parents’ financial contributions have been significant, Jordan Schnitzer said, “I believe their leadership and long-standing efforts to enlist many others to support the arts is their greatest legacy. My late father often said: “You can’t have too many yellow school buses in front of the museum!”

They have donated over $ 100 million to more than 570 nonprofit organizations. Ferriso gave them credit for helping the museum stay solvent during the Great Recession of 2006.

Arlene and Harold Schnitzer have also donated to Cedar Sinai Park, Congregation Beth Israel, Lewis & Clark College, Northwest Academy, Oregon Ballet Theater, Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Jewish Museum, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon Symphony, Oregon Zoo, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland Japanese Garden, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon.

Outside of Oregon, they have been major supporters of the San Francisco Art Museums and the Palm Springs Art Museum; McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, California, where Arlene winters, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Joseph gallivan
Journalist, The Business Tribune
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