Theater Alumnus Drives Great Art for Great Communities

Sean Andries’s commitment to bringing arts and culture to every corner of Oregon has landed him on the board of directors of the Oregon Cultural Trust, a funding engine for arts and culture established in 2001 by the Oregon legislature.

His appointment couldn’t come at a more critical time, as the trust works to ensure that arts organizations get back on their feet following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Getting the arts and culture in Oregon back on track is my number one priority,” says Andries, executive director of the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg.

As a kid whose parents introduced him early and often to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Andries (BS ’06, theater arts) appreciates the value the arts can bring to rural communities.

“I have so much passion for making sure that kids who grow up in rural areas experience art and culture,” he says. “Every kid deserves to have access to that kind of experience.”

Andries’s fascination for theater was kindled during his freshman year. After participating in a student-written play, the pre-med major discovered his true calling was theater arts.

Andries credits his faculty mentors, John Schmor and the late Jack Watson, of the London Theatre Program, with guiding his career goals. “My experience at the university and in Villard Hall was wonderful,” he says. “It meant so much to be part of such a supportive community.”

That spirit of community is what Andries believes art and culture can offer, especially after the isolation of the pandemic.

Says Andries: “Art and culture have an amazing ability to bridge the divides in our communities.”

By Sharleen Nelson, BS ’06 (journalism: magazine, news/editorial), University Communications