Living Legacies: The JSMA @ 80

This special exhibition, which marks the eightieth anniversary of the University of Oregon’s art museum, celebrates the communities we serve and honors their support of our mission and programs. Five years ago, in Lasting Legacies: The First 75 Years, we looked at our history: we presented exceptional works in the museum’s collection and recognized the donors who made them possible. Now, five years later, we build on that strong and meaningful foundation to present treasures from our region that exemplify JSMA’s mission today and our vision for the future.

And what treasures! Not surprisingly, we found a bounty of works that reflect the museum’s own collecting strengths in Pacific Northwest, American, and Asian art. We are also pleased to present works that point to our recently expanded collecting mission in the areas of European and Latin American art. We also wanted to share with you many other fine works from around the world, including a glorious collection of African art and unique musical instruments. Yet, for every object of beauty and rarity on view in Living Legacies, there are even more of equal stature that we were unable to feature for lack of space or only discovered too late for this opportunity.

We are deeply grateful to all those who opened their homes and businesses to us and for their generosity in sharing their treasures with you. We also thank the tireless members of our Leadership Council and Living Legacies Action Team, who have introduced us to many wonderful new friends. 

An exhibition of this scale is possible only with an exceptional staff. Our curatorial team - Anne Rose Kitagawa, Chief Curator, Curator of Asian Art, and Director of academic programs; Danielle Knapp, McCosh Associate Curator; June Koehler, Assistant Curator; and Han Zhu, Assistant Curator - joined me in selecting the works for exhibition and developing the collector-based educational programs. Chris White, Collections Manager, and Miranda Callendar, Registrar, took on the complicated and intensive task of arranging for the loans and transportation, often packing and bringing the works to the museum themselves. Kurt Neugebauer, Associate Director for Administration and Exhibitions; and Charly Swing, Chief Preparator, and her staff designed the exhibition and installed each work to create a beautiful and compelling presentation. Diane Nelson, Museum Design Services Manager, designed the graphics and publications, and Jonathan Smith, Photographer and Collections Database Coordinator, researched and created this, our first virtual exhibition catalog.

I am deeply grateful to the Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation for establishing a Special Exhibitions Endowment at the museum that makes ambitious projects like this one flourish. The Barker Foundation's support helps us in a very critical way to fulfill our teaching mission and further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for our large and diverse public visitors. I also thank The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation for its support of our exhibition program; and our growing family of JSMA members, who provided essential support to make this project a reality.

With Living Legacies, we offer the museum as a temporary home for so many meaningful treasures and as a center for visual excitement, community celebration, and learning. And while exhibitions come and go, we will forever remember and honor this museum's eighth anniversary with this online publication. It's our first endeavor into digital publishing, and we invite you to join us on this new interactive journey of discovery.

Here's to another 80 years!

Jill Hartz, Executive Director