PORTLAND, Oregon — A Laurinburg native has been named the new major gifts officer at the Portland Art Museum.
Goodwin joins the senior leadership team and takes on a role pivotal to the future of the museum and region’s arts community.
A Scotland High School honor graduate, Goodwin is the son of the late Lucille Goodwin and nephew of the late Carrie McLean of Laurel Hill. He graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he was a North Carolina Fellow, Chi Psi fraternity member and the first black senior class president.
Goodwin recently purchased the two-story, 1893 Central Hotel on the corner of Bizzell Street and North Main Streets in Laurinburg, where he plans to renovate it and to have a restaurant similar to the popular Mom’s Diner that Miss Mildred Hayes once had there. He is also considering doing office space or art studios in what used to be the guest rooms on the second floor. The building needs a complete renovation and he welcomes ideas on what should be done so that it best fits that section of Laurinburg — as well as ideas on how to raise funds for the repairs are also welcome.
Goodwin will help spearhead fundraising for the Portland Art Museum’s Rothko Pavilion and associated renovations designed to make the 126-year-old museum more accessible to the public. To date, donors have contributed nearly $33 million for the capital project.
“John Goodwin is a remarkable leader in our city and state,” said Portland Art Museum Director Brian Ferriso. “His deep knowledge of art and its role to educate and inspire is an extraordinary attribute. As a docent, member and a trustee, John’s contributions to this institution have already been significant. I am thrilled that he will now partner with my team and me on a daily basis to realize our exciting vision for the future.”
Goodwin comes to the museum after working six years for the Portland Trail Blazers, where he is currently director for Premium Experience. His previous employment also includes the University Club of Portland and the Benson Hotel.
“John Goodwin will be a fantastic addition to the Portland Art Museum. PAM and the Portland Trail Blazers are wonderful examples of great city organizations that embody community spirit and embrace equity and inclusion,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “As a supporter of the museum and their expansion project, I know that John will bring that same community building, people-oriented ethic to his new role.”
Goodwin describes the museum as a natural next step for him and his career.
“There’s no comparison to being in the Moda Center with 20,000 excited fans, but the Portland Art Museum is also a very special place to me,” Goodwin said. “Although I will miss my good friends I met through the Blazers, I’m dedicated to making sure people of all colors, ages and backgrounds feel welcome, inspired and come to enjoy the museum as much as I do.”
Goodwin’s passion for the arts began when he was a boy growing up in North Carolina. The youngest of seven, Goodwin accompanied his mother to auctions and yard sales.
“I was a bit of a handful,” he said, “and my mom found visual stimulation helped me to focus.”
As a middle-school student, Goodwin went door-to-door selling prints showcasing famous artworks. As an adult, Goodwin believes art should be seen and shared.
Goodwin served as an associate director of the Center Art Gallery in Honolulu. Shortly after moving to Portland in 1994, he became a volunteer docent at the Portland Art Museum. Goodwin joined the museum’s board of trustees in 2015. He also serves on the board of the Oregon Cultural Trust and is a former board member for Disjecta.
His own art collection is “eclectic,” Goodwin said, adding that he is drawn to “art about or by African-Americans.” He loaned “The Crazy Conductor,” a chalkboard painting by Gary Simmons, for exhibit at the Portland Art Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Goodwin will step down from the Museum Board of Trustees when he begins his new job on Monday, Aug. 13.