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Curator appointed for YU + lease purchase agreement

By Lisa Radon
November 9, 2011
Featured, Visual Art

In YU‘s State of the (Yale) Union, as co-founder Curtis Knapp called  it, Knapp and Executive Director Sandra Percival shared a look back at the year’s programming and a number of positive announcements with the couple of hundred patrons, professionals, and artists in attendance.

Let’s start with the money, honey. YU has secured a lease purchase agreement with its anonymous donor, leasing the building for $1 per year reflecting, Knapp said, the patron’s “commitment to the building remaining a public building for the community.” YU will have the option to purchase the building in 2012. Knapp also reported earned income from the building used for events and as a film set, and speculated about income from using the building’s water supply as a “mini-utility” for the neighborhood and…bottling some of the water for sale. (!) YU also received a $75,000 grant from the Martin Family. And it’s worth noting that among the speakers supporting YU was Eric Gerding, who has major support of a major arts facility in his bloodline (his late father Robert was a key supporter of the Armory, home of Portland Center Stage). Knapp said YU needs to raise $400,000 for operating and programming expenses.

Knapp reported completion of a strategic plan with consultant George Thorn, and presented set of construction drawings from Accelerated Development.

The biggest news from my perspective concerns programming, and the biggest of the big is the hiring of writer and curator Robert Snowden who will move from New York to Portland in January. Snowden had worked with YU librarian and graphic designer Scott Ponik on the exhibition “Ad Reinhardt: A Retrospective of Comics,” currently at the ICA and traveling to Kunstverein Amsterdam. It had first shown at Snowden’s “The Chrysler Series.” The fact that Snowden has been curating shows like this one on Stefan and Franciszka Themerson promises good things for YU for the future.

Other good things: Percival also announced that YU will present Shannon Ebner (LA), Josiah McElheny (NY), and Goshka Macuga (London) in 2012. So, some smarts for the smart and spectacle for the spectacular among you. I can’t be objective about this: I can’t WAIT. (And I’ve refrained from exclamation points, but the previous four or five sentences might all have taken one or two.) On the local tip, YU is presenting Fear No Music’s 100 Years of John Cage: The Roaring Silence on February 17, 2012.

Percival’s focused on building a board of directors now with the capital campaign for the renovations coming down the pike.

And finally, Percival promised another “preview” exhibition, this one concerning the history of the building. Which is all well and good, and I’m not singing “don’t look back” yet, but I’ll bet I’m not alone in thinking that the most exciting days for this building are ahead.


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