Portland/ Arts & Culture
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Published on April 02, 2024
Jordan Schnitzer's $10 Million Gift Elevates Arts at Portland State, Revitalizes Downtown PortlandSource: Google Street View

In a display of philanthropic muscle, Portland real estate mogul Jordan Schnitzer has forked out a hefty $10 million to Portland State University (PSU), money that's destined to propel arts education and renew downtown Portland's cultural landscape. Half of this windfall is pegged for the construction of a spanking new art and design building, while the rest is earmarked to keep the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art's lights on and doors open, as reported by The Oregonian.

Schnitzer's munificence does not come unchecked, as $5 million will serve as the backbone for a new art school edifice called the Schnitzer School of Art + Art History + Design, and Portland State is also cashing in on $81.7 million in state bonds, approved in ripples by the Oregon Legislature in 2021 and again in 2023, according to Portland State University's news announcement, the grand opening is slated to sweep into Portland's art circuit in 2026, and the building expected to cut the ribbon will include a plush package of classrooms and studios spread cross four storeys of timber architecture.

Cuddling up to PSU's vibrant campus vibe, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU is poised to drink from the well of Schnitzer's largesse, slurping up $4 million to keep offering free admission and culture to the masses, especially after it first flung open its doors in 2019 with a starting boost from Schnitzer's own pocket—a cool $5 million—which Schnitzer Properties' president reaffirmed his zest for accessible art education, saying, "An arts education is the best background to think creatively, to learn to be innovative," in a belief echoed by PSU President Ann Cudd praising the partnership.

Undoubtedly, Schnitzer's latest round of generosity is as much a boon for PSU's gleaming arts department as it is a tip of the hat to downtown Portland, intertwining philanthropic vision with urban revitalization and academic enrichment; those prancing through the downtown campus can expect to be graced by these looming, educational sanctuaries that ferry along Portland's artistic and intellectual tides, this gamut of culture and academia building bridges along the vein of Schnitzer's vision and PSU's pedagogic dreams, the stuff of grand narratives that are carved not in fiction, but in concrete and curriculum, chiseling a legacy in the heart of Portland's urban sprawl.