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Perfect guides for LO's art scene

Lori Goldstein, Nicole Nathan combine credentials and fervor

STAFF PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lori Goldstein, left, and Nicole Nathan get a great view of downtown Lake Oswego when they look through Fat Tire, a work by Lance H. Carleton on the corner of A Avenue and State Street.

Since Lake Oswego has such a dynamic art scene, are Lori Goldstein and Nicole Nathan the dynamic duo?

Certainly. Step outside any downtown building, and you see that Lake Oswego is positively rolling in art, and as the top position holders at the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, Goldstein and Nathan deserve much credit for Lake Oswego’s ever-rising position in the municipal art world. Both women praise the people who built the foundation for this over the past several decades. But if you are looking for unsung heroes in this city, it would be wise to start with them.

“I’ve been here for nearly three years, but so much has happened it seems like 23 years,” says Goldstein, who serves as public art and program manager. “The amount of art for a city this size is outstanding. If they want, people here can see art 24 hours a day.”

Nathan has just come on board as the new executive director for the Arts Council, succeeding Nancy Nye in July. But in just a few months, this veteran of more than 20 years of working in the art and culture world already has a solid grasp of the special place art holds in this community. That makes her very glad she came here.

“The people of Lake Oswego have a great sense of ownership of the arts,” Nathan says. “It is easy to see that this community embraces art. That lets us do more and helps us fund raise. It has not been like that in every place where I’ve worked.”

Goldstein is like a little engine that never quits. She is in charge of operations for any place that shows a piece of city-owned art, whether it’s the “Royal Blue” heron statue next to Chuck’s Place or the paintings that line the walls of Lake Oswego Public Library. Just a couple of her assignments are being in charge of the Plein Air Exhibit and the Chronicle Exhibit at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. Of all the things she does, though, Goldstein likes LO’s Gallery Without Walls the best.

STAFF PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Nicole Nathan, left, and Lori Goldstein predict that Lake Oswegos art scene will only become greater and greater in the years ahead.

“Outdoor art is my passion,” Goldstein says. “You get to work with bigger tools and you get to be outside. There is no other place like Lake Oswego. I like the physicality of the art world. People don’t realize how physical art is. You go up and down on ladders, and you use drilling equipment.”

Although she works with many big pieces of art, for Goldstein it’s the little things that count.

“I get excited by the things the public doesn’t notice, like renovating the footing on a statue,” she says. “The hidden victories are what we get excited about here.”

While Goldstein is getting physical with art, Nathan is working to raise the money that keeps Goldstein so busy.

“My job is to make sure we have the support that lets us have all of these programs,” Nathan says. “Making sure our relationships with the community are really good and making sure we have a good membership program, handling events, and getting the money we need so we can do new things for the community.

“I want to get our story out to the world.”

To help her do this, Nathan heavily depends on Goldstein.

“We’re it,” Nathan says. “We’re what makes the whole thing work. We have to really rely on each other to do our best and to make this a really fulfilling program. We really work well together.”

When it comes to Lake Oswego’s art history, Goldstein and Nathan look back with amazement.

“There were always people bringing art to this city as early as the ’60s,” Goldstein says. “We couldn’t have this program without financial support from the city and we couldn’t run it without our volunteers. They are what sets Lake Oswego apart from similar sized communities.”

“The unique relationship the Arts Council has with the city is atypical,” Nathan says. “There are under 50,000 people who live here yet the city has invested so much in art. There are 170 pieces within this city.”

It is easy to get the art spirit in Lake Oswego. Not only from the always-growing number of sculptures in the Gallery Without Walls but by going out to Luscher Farm at its recent Harvest Celebration and seeing the hillside covered with artists with the Plein Art Exhibit.

As good as Lake Oswego’s art scene is, Nathan and Goldstein believe it will only get better in the years ahead.

“There’s no turning back,” Goldstein says. “We are only going to reach a wider and wider audience. There is so much momentum for the art program here, and we are excited to be part of that momentum.”

For more about the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, go to artscouncillo.org or call 503-675-3738.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

STAFF PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Nicole Nathan has a strong reaction to the painting being hung by Lori Goldstein at the Arts Council of Lake Oswegos museum on First Street.