Description: This is Part 5 of 10 of an interview with Peter F. Donnelly. This interview was conducted by Maxine Cushing Gray and an unidentified interviewer in August 1985. This part was conducted by an unidentified interviewer on August 19, 1985.
Peter F. Donnelly (1938 – 2009) was an American patron of the arts, and a pivotal figure in the development of the arts community in Seattle. A Massachusetts native, Donnelly arrived in Seattle in 1964 on a fellowship to work with the fledgling Seattle Repertory Theatre. Soon, he was hired as the first managing director and later as producing director, a position he held until 1985, when he left Seattle to become the Executive Managing Director of the Dallas Theatre Center. He returned to Seattle in 1989 to head the Seattle Corporate Council for the Arts,which later became ArtsFund, where he served as President and CEO until retiring in 2005. During his tenure, the fund more than doubled its annual distributions and raised over $10 million in endowments. Donnelly also served on the Board of Directors for the Frye Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, the 5th Avenue Theatre, the University of Washington School of Drama Advisory Committee and Classic KING-FM Radio Station. In 2001, the Seattle Central Library named its Art and Literature Collection after Donnelly, in recognition of his decades of art advocacy in Seattle.
This interview is part of the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection. Don Schmechel, who was a member of the Seattle Public Library Foundation board, began this project with Seattle Public Library in 1984, with the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) brought on board as a partner in early 1985. Schmechel himself worked to raise the funding for the project, and volunteered his time to manage the project, and to conduct interviews along with a crew of volunteers. Originally titled the Videotaping Historic Figures (VHF) Program, the project interviewed 91 people, and MOHAI holds the interviews for 32 of these individuals.The interviews conducted with these Seattle civic, business and cultural leaders in 1985 are valuable first-hand accounts that provide insight into developments taking place in the mid-twentieth century.
Digitization of this videotape material has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Transcribed from handwritten notes on videotape case:
Rep Theatre Wells organized; Development of Board; wit, wisdom, wealthy, work; Stuart Ballinger; Duncan Ross; Selection of Board
This oral history recording may be used for research only. For other uses, please contact the Museum of History & Industry at firstname.lastname@example.org.