A toast (and award) to Joan Shipley

Joan Shipley at Blue Sky gallery/photo: Wayne Bund

Sometimes, we think of individual audience members, of ourselves, as passive receivers of culture when we attend performances or view exhibitions. That’s the wrong way to think about it, though, as some audience members prove beyond doubt. Today, the Portland Art Dealers Association has given its service award to one of those people, Joan Shipley, who couldn’t be less passive. Here’s what PADA wrote:

It is our pleasure and honor to recognize Joan Shipley for her many years of support and interest in the visual arts. Our community is deeply enriched by Joan’s interest, time, work, enthusiasm, donations and collecting.

Over the years, my path has criss-crossed that of Joan and her husband John constantly at arts, theater and dance events. Her enthusiasm for the arts, her attraction to its wilder, more experimental manifestations, her insights into particular works and performances and her great, generous and gracious spirit — any one of these would qualify her for this award in my mind. Together, they have made her an absolutely crucial person in the arts scene here, and Oregon Arts Watch could not second an award any more loudly.

The photograph was taken at Blue Sky’s 35th anniversary celebration, which Shipley helped to plan. Perfect.

6 Responses.

  1. There are few couples in the Portland creative community who have the smarts, the smiles and the social grace that Joan and John Shipley have. This award celebrates Joan’s tireless support and civic-minded spirit that has enlivened more than a few arts events. It has been my pleasure to know Joan since 1982 and to have benefited from her wit and wisdom throughout my entire career as a gallery owner. Thank you PADA for recognizing this longtime and loyal advocate of the arts.

  2. Jane Jarrett says:

    I second that. Joan (with John) is the ultimate supporter of arts and culture. Portland is so fortunate to enjoy their active participation and consistent support of the best of our arts and culture community. Good job, PADA. Thank you!

  3. Steven McGeady says:

    Joan (and Jon) have been among the most important and influential supporters of the arts and culture in Portland in recent history. Their support for PICA, PNCA, PAM, the Library Foundation, and many other organizations has been an inspiration to me and many others.

  4. Tom Cirillo says:

    It was a pleasure to read this and learn of the thoughtful recognition given Joan Shipley by the visual arts community. indeed Joan and John are thoughtful, generous and dedicated patrons of so many forms of arts and culture, including Portland Baroque Orchestra. Thank you PADA, Oregon Arts Watch AND Joan and John.

  5. Tim DuRoche says:

    Indeed—I’ve always been amazed at the tireless support and indomitable energy Joan and John show for the arts, across the board. Whether it was viz art, dance and experimental performance, big organizations or small—they’re exemplars of cultural advocacy as a core value of citizenship! Inspiring

  6. Joan Shipley supports artists as well as the arts. There are few people who look at the process of creative work without anticipating the resulting object. Joan and John are both intrigued by the process. Generous and thoughtful, informed and humble, Portland is lucky to have them!

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