The Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon, has announced a $10 million gift from philanthropist Arlene Schnitzer.
The largest contribution from an individual donor in the museum's history will serve as the lead gift in PAM's capital campaign, which has been in its quiet phase. Funds raised by the campaign will help transform the museum's campus by connecting its two buildings with a new Mark Rothko Pavilion and grow its endowment in support of access, programs, and exhibitions.
Schnitzer, who was a student at the Museum Art School (today known as the Pacific Northwest College of Art), her late husband Harold Schnitzer (1923–2011), and their son, Jordan, have been longtime benefactors of the museum and have provided financial support for acquisitions, exhibitions, and past capital campaigns. The Schnitzers also donated their Chinese Han Dynasty collection and other works to the museum's collection, and supported the creation of the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Northwest Art, which celebrates the creative vitality of the Pacific Northwest.
"This extraordinary gift is a profound investment in our role as Portland's museum for art and film, but also in the future of the arts in our region," said PAM director and chief curator Brian Ferriso. "We are so grateful to the Schnitzer family for their leadership in continually reinforcing that the arts are essential for vibrant, equitable communities. This gift, and the gifts it will inspire, will shape the future of the arts in this community in ways we cannot foresee today."
"I am so proud of my mother, Arlene, and my late father, Harold," said Jordan Schnitzer. "My mother recently said the reason they have given to the art museum was 'You either put up or shut up!' It doesn't get any more succinct than that. While their financial contributions have been important, I believe their leadership and lifelong effort 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.' "