PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Art Museum is remembering philanthropist Arlene Schnitzer after she died on Saturday at home surrounded by family.
She was a generous supporter of the arts in Portland. Arlene donated $10 million to the museum earlier this year. The director described her as a long-time friend and supporter of the museum for decades.
Arlene was once enrolled as a student at the Museum Art School, and that’s where she developed a relationship with the museum and other artists as well. The museum’s Executive Director Brian Ferriso said Arlene believed deeply in the transformational power of art, artists, and art institutions. She often said that the arts define our lives and she could not imagine the city of state without them.
“When she started taking classes at the Museum Art School, she really enjoyed meeting the artists, and after she finished taking classes there, she wanted to make sure people had a place to show, so she founded the Fountain Gallery, which became the mainstay of showing artists from the region,” said Ferriso.
The museum said the Schnitzer family has provided financial support for acquisitions, exhibitions, and capital campaigns. They also donated their Chinese Han Dynasty collection and other works to the museum’s collection. In 2007, Arlene and her husband, Harold, were named the first-ever Life Trustees of the Museum in recognition of their contributions to the arts.
Arlene was 91 years old when she passed. She is survived by her son, Jordan, four grandchildren, and other extended family.
On Saturday, Jordan said they plan to host a celebration of life for her at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall when people are able to gather together once again.