David Harrelson

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David Harrelson, the Cultural Resources Department manager for The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and a Grand Ronde tribal member, was appointed to the Arts Commission in June 2021.

David has championed the use of his people’s ancestral art forms for the purpose of public art. His support for this work has resulted in five public art installations in the last four years throughout Northwestern Oregon. He has worked in the field of cultural resources for 10 years and before that worked as a wildland firefighter.

Besides supporting art in an administrative capacity, David currently approaches art as a hobby, believing that the process of creating art should be a part of everyone’s life. The primary areas of inspiration for his art include his indigenous heritage and the landscape of western Oregon.

David is active in his community and currently sits on the State Advisory Committee for Historic Preservation, is a former board member of the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg and was an editorial board member for Smoke Signals, a free and independent newspaper covering the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. He has a bachelor’s in history from Lewis and Clark College; some of his research interests include ethnobotany, contact era Pacific Northwest history and Western Oregon indigenous art.

“No matter where you live,” says David, “you are on indigenous land. Seek out and know your area’s indigenous people and their art.”

Grand Ronde, Dundee
Term Expiration Date: 
Monday, May 12, 2025
Staff or Commissioner?: 

Oregon Arts Commission

(503) 986-0082 (phone)
(503) 581-5115 (fax)
775 Summer Street NE, Ste 200
Salem, OR 97301-1280