Yoko Ott, a curator and longtime champion of Northwest art and artists, who worked at a number of Seattle organizations, died Oct. 19.
Yoko Ott, a curator and longtime champion of Northwest art and artists, died on Friday, Oct. 19. She was 47 years old.
Ms. Ott became the executive director of Yale Union, a center for contemporary art in Portland, this spring.
She graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor of fine arts in photography, and went on to work with — in the Seattle area — One Reel, Frye Art Museum, Seattle University, Open Satellite and the New Foundation Seattle; she has also worked at the Honolulu Biennial Foundation and other organizations.
“She was an uncompromising advocate for artists and their work,” Yale Union’s board of directors wrote in a statement, “and made transformative contributions to many institutions … she will be profoundly missed by all at Yale Union.”
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In a 2013 Seattle Times profile, Ms. Ott recalled her early years working as an administrator with One Reel, but offering (sometimes unsolicited) advice about what art its curation committee should choose to present.
“I was very opinionated,” she said. “I felt like I had something to say.” The next year, a supervisor at One Reel suggested she take over the operation. Soon, she’d bring her curatorial voice to several significant Northwest arts organizations.
A memorial service will be held at Ala Moana Beach Park, in Honolulu, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 26.