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Arts Council of Lake Oswego names new executive director

Nicole Nathan brings 20 years of experience as an arts and culture advocate

SUBMITTED PHOTO: AARON LEE - Nicole Nathan has been named executive director of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego.Portland native Nicole Nathan, a longtime arts and culture advocate with more than 20 years of experience at institutions across the Northwest, was named Tuesday as the new executive director of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego.

Nathan replaces Nancy Nye, whose resignation from the council for family reasons became effective on June 30.

“I’m thrilled to be here in Lake Oswego and to work with the nationally recognized and acclaimed programs of the Arts Council,” Nathan told The Review. “The diversity of offerings, artists represented and commitment to the arts in Lake Oswego is clear.”

Trained in curatorial practice and collections care, Nathan has worked for a variety of institutions in the Northwest, including the Museum of Contemporary Craft and the Oregon Nikkei Endowment in Portland, Experience Music Project in Seattle and the High Desert Museum in Bend. She has developed a host of exhibitions, including “Quality is Contagious: John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works" and "State of Oregon Craft.”

Nathan received her bachelor’s in anthropology and art history from Linfield College and her master’s in museum studies from the University of Washington, focusing on exhibitions and collections management. She has held positions throughout her tenure focusing on the public’s interaction with objects in settings ranging from museums to historical sites.

Nathan currently serves on the boards of the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and Oregon Women’s History Consortium.

“We are excited to have someone with the breadth of experience and knowledge from art and design to how a small nonprofit operates,” Arts Council Board President Liane Cabot said.

Nathan takes the helm of one of the area’s most respected arts organizations. The Arts Council offers a rich landscape of cultural opportunities, including a series of rotating exhibits at its 510 Museum and ARTspace. Its Public Art Committee oversees the city’s permanent art collection, and its Arts in Education program brings a variety of activities to local schools.

But the council is perhaps best known for the Gallery Without Walls, a unique collection of sculptures that are on display in public spaces throughout the city. Each year, the public is invited to honor one of those sculptures with the People’s Choice Award; the winner is then added to the city’s permanent collection.

Nathan’s appointment is effective immediately.