Global Ducks

Artful Leader

UO art museum director travels to Taiwan as invited keynote speaker

Taipei Ducks throw the O at an alumni gathering attended by UO’s Jill Hartz (center, wearing bright green) following her keynote address for an APRU symposium in Taiwan.

UO officials from the mainland reconnected with alumni in Asia this summer to share ideas for expanding the UO's presence there, and came home wowed by everyone's passion for the university.

“I was so impressed with how much their campus experience still means to our global Ducks,” said Jill Hartz, executive director of the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, after attending the gatherings in Taipei and Singapore. “To a person, they felt the UO prepared them for career success.”

In Taiwan primarily to give a keynote address to her colleagues from around the Pacific Rim, Hartz extended her trip to take advantage of a rare chance to personally update local alumni on how their alma mater's museum has an international impact.

A sought-after expert, she was invited to speak on making museums meaningful for more people at a symposium sponsored by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and hosted by National Taiwan University.

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Three five-minute videos showcase the museum's art lessons for children with disabilities.

Visit the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art online.

Browse the museum's collections (more than 13,000 works and growing).

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While traditional campus museums focus on research, the UO's museum is also known for innovative approaches to teaching. The staff creates hands-on art experiences for all kinds of special groups including children with autism.

“We know their minds and emotions are helped enormously when given access to these museum experiences,” Jill said. “The need is great.”

Jill said the UO's museum is becoming part of nearly every student's campus experience through intriguing exhibits and programs designed to enhance courses in all disciplines. At the same time, it is one of Oregon’s largest arts educators, providing everything from kits for schools to coaching teachers on digital thinking strategies.

“We pride ourselves on our role as a teaching museum,” she said. “We are also the community’s art museum, and half of our budget comes mostly from private support. People give because we are integral to the quality of life where they live or the educational programs we steward for all ages.”

Interest in the UO's museum is growing so much that fundraising will start soon to build a visitor pavilion. A recent gift from Cheryl Ramberg Ford ’66 and Allyn Ford is underwriting the initial planning for the project. Cheryl, a longtime supporter of the museum, is a UO Foundation trustee. Allyn is a founding member of the new University of Oregon Board of Trustees.

Jill, who is president of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, said it is rare for public universities to have art museums of the caliber of the UO's. It was built 80 years ago with gifts from UO supporters who wanted Oregonians to have opportunities to experience international cultures. The original collection was given by the museum's founder and first director, Gertrude Bass Warner, who had risked her life to bring some 3,700 artworks to Oregon from Asia.