Jack Eyerly was a resident of Portland for almost all of his life, and was continuously involved in the art of the Northwest from an early age. Starting in the 1950s and continuing until his death, Eyerly was the foremost artists advocate, facilitator, and friend of the arts in the Northwest. He maintained consistent correspondence with hundreds of artists from the Northwest but also with others from across the country. Though he was an artist himself, Eyerly was a prolific connector of artists, often offering extensive lists of artists, galleries, museums, and non-profit programs to his various correspondents. Among his many achievements, Eyerly was a board member of the Northwest Film Study Center during its early years at the Portland Art Museum. He was a consultant for the Portland Art Museum, a long time supporter of Wacky Willy’s, and collaborated with many individuals and groups in both an artistic and consultation role.
Eyerly’s support of the arts went far beyond being a facilitator of more traditional styles of creating art. Beginning in the early 1970s he was a member of many different video art groups, giving his time to support the development of films and photographs as a respected modern art mode. However, this is not to say that he neglected painters, printers, sculptors, poets, and musicians. His work to connect the artists of the Northwest led to many interactions between different mediums, bringing together the more traditional modes with experimental modes, such as puppet theatre or dancing for the disabled.
This collection encompasses seven decades of notes, correspondence, artists papers, gallery showcards, posters, artworks, and other assorted pieces of historical material exchanged between Eyerly and artists from across the Northwest and beyond. With more than 200 artists represented in the collection, there is a clear sense that Eyerly crafted this archive over his lifetime with the goal of establishing a definitive catalogue of Northwest artists.
The Jack Eyerly papers were processed by McKelvey Mandigo-Stoba ’17. Processing of this collection was funded in part by generous donations from Jack Eyerly’s friends and supporters. A special thank you to Sybil Westenhouse for investing in experiential learning through the Sybil Westenhouse Archives Excellence Fund.
Part of the Jack Eyerly papers remains to be processed and more will be added to the finding aid as processing is completed. For more information on the collection please see the finding aid.