White Bird in the Community- Celebrating George Thorn Day at Portland City Hall, February 5th
An event to honor George Thorn, who has inspired and impacted the lives of countless artists and arts organizations in the Portland region. City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly read a Proclamation at the end of the evening declaring Monday, February 5, 2018 as George Thorn Day. White Bird was thrilled to participate in the planning of the event as George and his wife Nancy helped found White Bird as a nonprofit and served on the White Bird Board for 18 years. Missed the celebration? Read the Mayor’s proclamation:
“George Thorn was born in Indiana in 1936 and studied at both Butler and Yale Universities.
A life-long fan of the arts, particularly dance and performance, in 1959 George headed to NY where he managed several Broadway and off-Broadway productions. This is also where he met his wife of 49 years, Nancy, while she was performing as a Rockette. They have worked together professionally for decades and have parented two children together, Peter and Jennifer.
Following a career on Broadway and as Managing Director at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Thorn’s moved away from the “Big Apple” to Tennessee in 1974. A noted cat enthusiast and rescuer, George proves he is part feline himself, indeed living multiple lives and in 1982 he and Nancy headed to Virginia where they bought a farm and did a short stint “homesteading”. They soon decided to move on after a short while because as Nancy puts it: “George didn’t care for shearing the sheep” and went back to their arts-centric professional lives.
From 1977 to the present, George has served as an organizational consultant to arts and cultural institutions all over North America and in 1991 George Thorn and his business partner, Nello McDaniel, created Arts Action Research. George has an incredible organizational development skill-set which is coupled with a tremendous amount of emotional intelligence. These qualities afford him an instinct for understanding the needs of artists and encouraging them to build upon their own unique assets.
George and Nancy arrived in Oregon in 1996 and moved to NW Portland, continuing to collect art over the last 2+ decades. Their home is embellished with some of the Pacific North West’s most accomplished as well as emerging artists, and a visit to their space is awe-inspiring.
George approaches each and every organization and artist with the same kindness, generosity and encouragement, regardless of size or fiduciary considerations, and that is why he is considered one of the most celebrated and respected arts consultants in the field.
Often lovingly referred to as the “arts therapist” George has been the main instructor for the Art of Leadership program formerly administered through Business for Culture and the Arts as well as the Cultural Leadership program through the Regional Arts and Culture Council. George has provided guidance to hundreds of artists and institutions and shows no sign of slowing down or retiring!
George has contributed countless hours and energy to Portland’s arts community – strengthening the ecosystem and encouraging volunteers, investors and the public to invest in the city’s vibrant culture. George rarely seeks the spotlight for his work, so it is only fitting that we provide this opportunity to highlight his enormous contributions to the city of Portland and its arts and culture community.
Now, therefore: I, Ted Wheeler, Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses,” do hereby proclaim February 5th 2018 to be GEORGE THORN DAY in Portland and encourage all residents to observe this day.”
Pictured below, George celebrates with Portland’s own Ms. Pepper Pepper and Poison Waters!