Meagan Atiyeh appointed as senior advisor to Visual Arts Program effective in January 2020

Roseburg, Oregon, October 8, 2019: The Ford Family Foundation today announced that Kandis Brewer Nunn, long-time senior advisor to its Visual Arts Program, will be stepping down and that Meagan Atiyeh (pictured) will be appointed to the position. 

Meagan Atiyeh

The Visual Arts Program was launched in 2010 to help Oregon’s most promising, established visual artists actively pursue their work and to enrich Oregon’s visual arts ecology. The program, at times in collaboration with state and national partners, supports creative-work time and space, provides resources to artists at a crossroads in their practice, and makes investments in Oregon visual arts institutions.

“Kandis Brewer Nunn spearheaded the development of our Visual Arts Program, and she has overseen and grown the Foundation’s offering of services and initiatives since its inception. We are grateful for her strategic vision and the years she has devoted to managing the program; her passion and intelligence have served to nurture Oregon’s visual arts ecology in unique and powerful ways,” said Allyson Ford, member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and granddaughter of Kenneth and Hallie Ford. 

Meagan Atiyeh, who currently manages the visual arts programs at the Oregon Arts Commission, will take over the Foundation position in January 2020. Anne Kubisch, president of the Foundation, noted “Meagan is ideally suited to step into this role because of her decades of experience in the contemporary arts field and deep ties to artists and arts professionals locally and nationally. Together, Meagan and Kandis will coordinate a smooth transition with an official hand-off effective January 1, 2020. Meagan will continue the past practice of coordinating with Carol Dalu, grants manager of the Foundation.” 


Meagan Atiyeh currently oversees visual arts grants and programs at the Oregon Arts Commission. Through her management of the state’s Percent for Art program, she has brought hundreds of objects into Oregon’s permanent art collection, ranging from important collections of works by national and regional artists to complex site-specific commissions. 

Prior to joining the Arts Commission, Meagan served at the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center as director of the Northwest Film & Video Festival. Atiyeh is active in the community through independent curatorial projects, such as ALL RISE, a two-year program of art and performance for the City of Seattle, and board and advisory service. She currently co-chairs the curatorial committee for Converge 45, a multi-day annual showcase of contemporary art, and served on the boards of the University of Oregon Architecture & Allied Arts and as a founding board member of Disjecta Contemporary Art Center.

Atiyeh’s writing has appeared in The Oregon Review of Arts, Deviant Fictions: An Anthology of Northwest Experimental Writing, and on behalf of artists’ exhibitions internationally. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing, Literature and the Arts from Eugene Lang College of The New School, New York.

Atiyeh has been involved in various aspects of the Foundation’s Visual Arts Program: coordinating opportunity grant funding through the Art Commission’s panel review process, and launching the Visual Arts Ecology Project, a web-based collection of historic to contemporary images, catalogs and ephemera, to which other Oregon partners have also made significant contributions. The site continues to pair visual arts content with new arts writing and provides coverage of current activities in the contemporary art community in Oregon. 


Kandis Brewer Nunn was tapped by the Foundation in 2008 to guide the Visual Arts Program research and development. Her professional practice in strategic 

program development services has spanned 47 years in in-house and consultative roles. She was a member of the management teams of Pacific Development Inc./PacifiCorp, Harsch Investment Properties (working with Harold, Arlene and Jordan Schnitzer on their family business and foundations), and two leading marketing communications agencies before establishing her independent practice.  

Nunn has advised businesses from a range of industries including real estate, transportation and technology. Her clients also have included government entities and Native American tribes. In later years, she has focused more intensely on assisting foundations and non-profit organizations, particularly arts and culture. In addition to her professional practice, she has served in a leadership capacity on local, state and national boards and commissions since the early 1970s.


The Foundation’s Board of Directors recently renewed another five-year investment (2020-2024) in the Visual Arts Program with some modifications and increases to the scope of the program, and this leadership transition coincides with the program’s renewal. Notable changes include an increase in the award amount (to $35,000) for the Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts, support for exhibitions in artist-run spaces to respond to the critical loss of traditional exhibition spaces in Oregon, and support for professional documentation of artists’ works and assistance to strengthen artists’ applications for major arts awards and fellowships. Continuing elements of the program include artist residencies, career opportunity grants, critic and curator tours, and grants for exhibitions, documentation and small capital improvements. See the Foundation website for full details of the program.

Photo credit: Dan Kvitka. Larger image of Meagan Atiyeh available for publication.

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