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News Release
David Harrelson
David Harrelson
David Harrelson appointed to Oregon Arts Commission - 06/08/21

Salem, Oregon – David Harrelson, the Cultural Resources Department manager for The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and a Grand Ronde tribal member, has been appointed to the Oregon Arts Commission by Governor Kate Brown.

Harrelson has championed the use of his people’s ancestral art forms for the purpose of public art. His support for this work has resulted in five public art installations in the last four years throughout Northwestern Oregon. He has worked in the field of cultural resources for 10 years and before that worked as a wildland firefighter.

“We are thrilled to have David join the Arts Commission at this important time,” said Commission Chair Anne Taylor. “As we pursue ensuring greater equity and inclusion in all we do, his experience and expertise in tribal artistic practices will enhance our conversations.”

Besides supporting art in an administrative capacity, Harrelson currently approaches art as a hobby, believing that the process of creating art should be a part of everyone’s life. The primary areas of inspiration for his art include his indigenous heritage and the landscape of western Oregon.

“It is an honor to join the Oregon Arts Commission,” said Harrelson. “I look forward to lifting up indigenous artists and art forms while ensuring broad reach and accessibility of the arts statewide. No matter where you live,” he added, “you are on indigenous land. Seek out and know your area’s indigenous people and their art.”

Harrelson is active in his community and currently sits on the State Advisory Committee for Historic Preservation, is a former board member of the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg and was an editorial board member for Smoke Signals, a free and independent newspaper covering the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. He has a bachelor’s in history from Lewis and Clark College; some of his research interests include ethnobotany, contact era Pacific Northwest history and Western Oregon indigenous art.

His four-year term begins immediately.

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The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. 

The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at: www.oregonartscommission.org.

Attached Media Files: David Harrelson
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