Support Us Button Widget

Oregon Historical Society to showcase Arlene Schnitzer’s legacy to the arts

The two-part exhibition will feature works collected by the philanthropist and arts patron and her son.

A black-and-white image showing five women in an art gallery. Three of the women stand next to a folded screen made by Jay Backstrand.

“A city without an art community has no soul,” said Arlene Schnitzer, seen here at the Fountain Gallery in 1964.

Photo courtesy of OHS Research Library

Arlene Schnitzer discovered a deep passion for the arts in 1958 and went on to become a driving force behind Portland’s appreciation for artistic pursuits. An upcoming exhibition at the Oregon Historical Society will honor the full scope of her influence.

Schnitzer opened Portland’s first contemporary art gallery — the Fountain Gallery — near Skidmore Fountain in 1961 with her mother and a family friend, providing space for artists to show and sell their work at a time when Oregon’s arts community had very little commercial support.

She bought at least one piece from each artist featured in the gallery over the years, resulting in a family collection of over 2,000 works.

“A Fountain of Creativity: 20th Century Northwest Artists and the Legacy of Arlene Schnitzer” at the Oregon Historical Society is a two-part exhibit featuring works from the collections of her son, Jordan Schnitzer, and his nonprofit Family Foundation.

Many of the pieces have never before been on public display.

The initial installment will run June 28-Jan. 2, 2025, showcasing works from 1915 to the early 1960s; the second part will run Oct. 25-May 4, 2025, highlighting artists who worked closely with Arlene Schnitzer during the Fountain Gallery’s 25 years of business.

More from PDXtoday
The annual festivities give sneaker enthusiasts the chance to brush shoulders with creatives and leaders in the footwear industry.
This week — Monday, July 22-Friday, July 26, 2024 — we’re shining a spotlight on the vibrant drink scene in Portland.
The property on the way to Mount Hood offers animal tours, hosts private events, and has Airbnbs to reserve for your next getaway.
The touring show “Kooza” will run from Wednesday, Aug. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Portland Expo Center.