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The Dalles Art Center Hires Sally Johnson as Executive Director

The Dalles, Oregon (May 12, 2023) – The Dalles Art Center has hired a new executive director, Sally Johnson. Volunteering since March 2023 as interim director and leading a successful financial sustainability plan for The Dalles Art Center with the board of directors, Johnson moves into the permanent role.

“The Dalles Art Center is a community treasure. We were lucky to have Sally living in our community with the leadership skills to help us paint a resilient future,” said Board Chairwoman Pam Westland. “Sally will lead us to develop a strategic plan to keep The Dalles Art Center sustainable for years to come, increasing community connections, education programs, vital exhibits, and fundraising and development.”

Johnson, a former REI executive where she most recently headed local marketing, brand engagement, & partnerships, holds Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Sustainable Business from Presidio Graduate School and bachelor of arts from Bennington College where she majored in visual arts and literature. From 2020-22 she was director of business development at Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center in Carnation, Washington, building corporate partnership programs, growing members and subscribers, helping the organization to inspire people to eat healthy, sustainably grown food and to steward natural resources for future generations. She is a graduate of Essentials of Development Training from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

“During my short time at The Dalles Art Center, I've been inspired by the passion of the founders for learning, for creating art and for coming back after a day outside painting or drawing to discuss and critique each other's creations,” said new Executive Director Johnson. “I hope that the founders would be proud of what TDAC has become and the positive impact the organization has had on generations of community members. I am honored to step forward as the next executive director to help the Center flourish today and for future generations.”

This week, The Dalles Art Center opened registration for its Summer Art Camp, which engages and empowers youth entering grades two to six through the arts so they may explore their natural creative gifts, learn new techniques, build confidence, and of course, have fun. There are five sessions, July 11-August 11, including paper and bookmaking, exploring color through nature, working with clay and Creative Clay Mug-making, and more.

The Center is extending its popular current exhibit, “William Gary Harvey: Paintings, Drawings & Sculptures” through Saturday, June 3. Unbeknownst to the world, the Wasco County fence builder, who lived alone, created more than 60 abstract paintings and drawings and 4 miniature sculptures from found objects. A selection is on display to the outside world for the first time. Friday night, May 12, it will host “Gary Harvey A Life '', a talk with Tim McClure and Lee Weinstein at

7 pm. Johnson will interview Tim and Lee, who will share personal stories, anecdotes and insights into Harvey’s work and life. This will be a special event and not to be missed and attendees will receive a special gift. Tickets are available at Proceeds from this event will benefit The Dalles Art Center.

“We are extremely grateful to people in The Dalles, Wasco County and our surrounding Gorge community and friends for all their continued support. We are entering a new era at The Dalles Art Center, and the best is yet to come,” said Westland.

“I can't think of a better time to join The Dalles Art Center,” added Johnson. “I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with the Board of Directors over the last few months and their commitment to revitalizing the Center is contagious. I'm thrilled that Lee Weinstein has recently joined the Board and that a number of other community leaders are stepping forward to share their interest in being a part of the Center. The energy at the Arts Center is vibrant and I am looking forward to a strong 2023 and an expansion of program offerings in 2024 and 2025.”

About The Dalles Art Center: What was begun in 1959 as The Dalles Art Club by local artists who wanted to come together and share their artistic expertise and lear

nings, becoming The Dalles Art Association in the late 1960s, at which time it took over management of the 1910 Carnegie Library where it is housed and now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Dalles Art Center is a connecting hub to inspire and engage with art because a connected community thrives together. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Center serves the communities of The Dalles, Wasco County and the Columbia Gorge with opportunities for artists to develop their practice and display their work. Through public art, art classes for adults and students and performance we connect people to creativity and the positive outcomes for personal growth and connection provided through creative expression.

The Dalles Art Center Facts:

● Serves the Columbia Gorge and is currently the only dedicated arts organization between Troutdale and Pendleton.

● Over 2,500 youth and adults have participated in the The Dalles Art Center education programs including Summer Art Camp.

● Over 1,000 artists have been showcased through exhibits, publications, and media platforms supported at the Art Center.

● The Dalles Art Center returned over $60,000 in commissions to local artists in 2022.

● The historic Carnegie Library building which houses the Art Center has been restored and cared for by our own community members, one of the responsibilities of the nonprofit organization. Over $75,000 and 5,000 volunteer hours have helped restore and maintain the building.

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