In Memory of Joan Shipley

September 01, 2011

The PNCA community is deeply saddened by the passing of Joan Shipley. Her consistent dedication to the local arts community and her unfaltering support of PNCA and Museum of Contemporary Craft made her one of the most valued art patrons in Portland.

Tom Manley, PNCA’s president, in writing to the College community about the news, remarked:

“In losing Joan, we have lost a great community treasure and champion of the arts. Joan exemplified the very best qualities of civic involvement and leadership. Hers was a thoroughly humanist vision and no one worked harder, more gently, more quietly or with greater ultimate effect than she. Speaking on behalf of the College—just one institution of the dozens Joan Shipley helped to make better—and my family, I send our deepest condolences to her husband John and their family at this terribly sad time.”

Joan was no stranger to the PNCA community. She was a board member of Museum of Contemporary Craft (when it was called the Contemporary Crafts Association) from 1975 to 1979. She served as a voluntary interim gallery director during this time, when the Museum was without an appointed director.

President Manley mentioned as well the leadership and generous support of other members of the Shipley family to PNCA, in particular John Shipley who as a past board member helped to guide the school’s transition to the Peal District campus and helped to found the Philip Feldman Gallery and Project Space and Thomas Shipley, John and Joan’s son, who currently serves on the PNCA Board of Governors.

There are hardly any organizations in town with which Joan Shipley did not have direct involvement. In addition to PNCA and Museum of Contemporary Craft, Chamber Music Northwest, Literary Arts, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, where Joan was a founding member, and the Sitka Center, to name a few, can attest to the depth of positive contributions the Shipleys have made to the Oregon arts community. In recognition of her efforts, Joan was a recipient of the 2004–2005 Governor’s Arts Award as well as the Portland Art Dealers Association (PADA) Award for Service to the Visual Arts in August 2011.

Shipley’s love of art and her belief that creativity is the gateway to good citizenship are the cornerstones of the legacy she leaves behind. Joan Shipley will be remembered for working endlessly, gently and often anonymously to elevate the prominence of art, culture and civility.

The College will announce plans for a remembrance in honor of Joan once details become known. In addition, PNCA will publish a memorial article about her contributions to the arts community on Untitled in the coming weeks.