PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University is one giant step closer to having a new Museum of Art on its Pullman campus, thanks to a multimillion dollar contribution by one of the leading arts patrons in the United States.
Jordan D. Schnitzer of Portland, Ore., who owns a vast collection of contemporary fine art prints and who has supported the arts in numerous ways and locations throughout the country, joined WSU President Elson S. Floyd to announce the largest act of private patronage to the arts in WSU history. The announcement was celebrated amid a new exhibit at the Museum of Art, “Made in U.S.A.: Rosenquist/Ruscha,” which features works from Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.
“Jordan Schnitzer’s investment sets the foundation for making the dream of a new WSU Museum of Art a reality,” said Floyd, “and his gift strongly positions us to raise the rest of what we need to complete the project.
“His commitment to the arts in general, and this project in particular, presents the possibility of a transformational development for our Pullman campus, and we thank him for that.”
Schnitzer said his contribution reflects his fundamental belief that the arts reflect the highest ideals of our society. “Every person, especially young people, must have the opportunity to experience the arts as part of their lives. What better place to help further that goal than our college campuses?”
A native Oregonian, Schnitzer is president of Harsch Investment Properties and manages the company’s commercial real estate assets in Oregon, Washington California, Nevada and Arizona. He has been an active leader in Oregon civic causes for more than 35 years. He has been recognized for his philanthropy with numerous honors and awards throughout Oregon, including the Governor’s Arts Award and awards from the University of Oregon, Marylhurst University and Portland State University. In 2005, the University of Oregon renamed its art museum in his honor to recognize Schnitzer’s 26 years of leadership there. In 2009, he received the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award from the national Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Schnitzer’s gift launches the $15 million campaign for a new and larger Museum of Art at WSU into the public phase of fundraising. His pledge brings the total financial commitments for the project to $9 million, leaving an additional $6 million to be raised before breaking ground. Currently, the museum is located in the Fine Arts building with a single gallery in which to display its permanent collection and temporary exhibits.
“Our goal has always been to build a stunning piece of architecture that not only houses art, but one that welcomes the entire community and literally represents — and stimulates — creativity,” said Christopher Bruce, director of the WSU Museum of Art. “We look forward to a building that showcases great objects, opens space for art that has yet to be dreamed of, and ultimately, sends the unmistakable message that this university values the way the arts connect across disciplines, generations and cultural backgrounds.”
Once the fundraising is complete, the new Museum of Art will be located on the site of the current Safety Building, across from the Compton Union Building on Terrell Mall. It will have a prominent and welcoming front entrance, visitors’ pavilion and multiple galleries.
In March 2013, following a three-month competitive process, MOA Director Bruce announced the selection of Olson Kundig Architects to design the new museum. Jim Olson, a founding partner of the Seattle-based, internationally renowned design firm, will lead the project.
More information about the Museum of Art project is available at http://foundation.wsu.edu/campaign/programs/museumofart.html.