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Lotte Streisinger

Artist, arts supporter and advocate for peace
Lotte Streisinger. Photo courtesy the Streisinger family.
Lotte Streisinger. Photo courtesy the Streisinger family.

Lotte Streisinger was a fierce advocate, a force for the arts, for the crafts and for this community for more than half a century. She died peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Dec. 6 at age 90. A memorial service will be held 5:30 pm Jan. 6 at Temple Beth Israel.

She and her husband, George, and two daughters, Cory and Lisa, came to Eugene in 1960, drawn by scientists at the University of Oregon, where he helped found the famed Institute of Molecular Biology. Already an accomplished potter, Lotte was also deeply involved in the peace movement; she found a way to combine those two passions in the Eugene Peace Information Center sale, the EPIC holiday sale of local crafts started in 1961 and directed by her for about 10 years.

Peace advocacy was especially important to this woman who grew up a Jewish child in Nazi Germany, the hostile home her family left just before the Holocaust, when she was 10 years old. The Seilmans came to America from Munich in 1937.

The EPIC sale in Eugene grew so successful that Lotte and others saw the need for the Saturday Market, a once-a-week event from spring until Christmas outdoors on public property. The market has become a public institution and a powerful outlet for the crafts community she championed. She also was a regular at the Farmers Market, shopping there long after she needed a walker to maneuver the stands.

Yet another of her legacies is the art in public buildings in Eugene and beyond. Lotte administered the program that decided what art would grace the Hult Center, the 1970s group of science buildings on the UO campus, the Eugene airport and the Knight library. Some of her work has a place in the UO’s Streisinger Hall, named for her husband, who died in 1984, and she is one of the wonderful “flying people” in the airport.

For years she discussed local art on the popular KLCC radio program Viz City. She frequently fired off controversial letters to the editor of the Register-Guard.

Her primary craft, her pottery, will continue to be appreciated for years by so many households in this community who display and use it daily both for its beauty and its functionality.

Lotte Streisinger asked that donations in her name be made to NCAP (Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides), P.O. Box 1393, Eugene OR 97440.