In Memoriam: Jim Winkler

It is with great sadness that the Museum shares the news of the passing of Trustee Jim Winkler. Below is a message from Portland Art Museum Director Brian Ferriso.

I first met Jim before I began my position in Portland, meeting him at the airport’s baggage claim when I arrived for my interview to be Director in 2006. It was an instant bond, given our shared passion for art and education and our shared commitment to community. 

Jim was steadfast in his support of this institution and our city’s arts ecosystem, and his leadership is unmatched. He served as trustee for over twenty-five years, as Chair of the Board from 2012 to 2013, and as chair of numerous committees, most recently the building committee that led to the successful signing of the Rothko Pavilion Guaranteed Maximum Price agreement.  

Jim and his wife Susan’s philanthropy has been exceptional. In all, they have contributed generously, helping underwrite numerous exhibitions, programs and building campaigns, as well as significant works of art, including Pedro Reyes’ marble Infinity Chair for the new Rothko Pavilion and Malia Jensen’s bronze Three Sisters: Nest, Flee, Swarm on view in our Northwest Art Galleries. Jim and Susan’s interest and passion for collecting photography began as a newly married couple. Their unwavering support of the Museum’s photography program will forever be seen in their gifts of more than 140 photographs to the collection and the establishment of the Jim and Susan Winkler Photography Gallery. 

Jim’s focus on the improvement of our campus and facilities has been a priority. His counsel and insight led to the realization of the current plans for the Rothko Pavilion and the selection of Vinci Hamp Architects and Hennebery Eddy Architects.

Jim’s biggest motivation was the presentation of important works of art and the support for artists in our city, creating deep friendships with many. 

“Art will be central to our community’s transformation, and the Museum’s project is really our bridge to connect us from our past to our future,” Jim once said at a Board meeting, speaking about the importance of the Connection Campaign. “We are about making a big change for Portland. We can’t lose hope or conviction.”

Jim placed the institution and its mission above all else, and I am forever grateful for his support of my vision and me personally. He will be missed greatly but will certainly be remembered in the important work before us. Our community will benefit from Jim Winkler’s leadership for generations to come.