- Public Art
- Arts Education
RACC announces a new year’s worth of project grants
The holidays came early for many local artists when The Regional Arts & Culture Council announced record funding for project grants in 2013. On December 19th, the RACC board approved $732,440 for an exciting variety of artistic projects taking place between January 1 and December 31, 2013 – including grants to 94 individual artists and 66 organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties.
Seventy community volunteers served on 18 different panels to vet a record number of proposals – 352 in all. Applications were evaluated based on artistic merit, citizen engagement opportunities, and the financial responsibility of the applicant. In the end, 45% of the proposals received were funded.
From Forest Grove to Sandy, including downtown Portland and the 82nd Avenue corridor, RACC’s project grants continue to support artists working in a variety of disciplines and cultures.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Clackamas County received a first-time RACC grant for Stand Up for Mental Health and will present comedy classes to individuals living with chronic mental health issues. The Hillsboro Farmers’ Market in Washington County will present a series of summer cultural festivals in celebration of the diversity of the Hillsboro community featuring performances and crafts highlighting the Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Indian communities.
Other culturally-specific artistic projects include performances of Lyndee Mah’s memoir piece E-B’an, Damaris Webb’s solo show The Box Marked Black, and Boom Arts’ puppet musical Tunde’s Trumpet. RACC continues to fund diverse organizations like India Cultural Association, RASIKA, The Obo Addy Legacy Project, Painted Sky, and Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival.
The number of applications to RACC’s Media Arts category continues to grow every year, and Grand Detour received its first RACC award to produce the 2nd annual Experimental Film Fest at venues throughout the city. Other projects funded in this category include Sway of the Knife by Vu N. Pham and Cooped, a hand-drawn animated short film by Mike A. Smith.
RACC also funded a number of multi-discipline projects that included strong media or technology elements, including Water in the Desert’s interdisciplinary performance AMERICAN ME, and Bill Holznagel’s Daisy Shorts using film and puppetry. Kelly Rauer’s Underbelly and Jacob Pander’s Incident Energy are both multi-channel video installations, and Ben Darwish’s Adobe Globe is a long-form musical composition incorporating multimedia elements.
For the first time, RACC convened a visual arts panel focused solely on photography projects, which resulted in several first time project grant recipients including Teresa Christiansen, Anna Daedalus, Loren Nelson and TJ Norris.
RACC-funded projects will continue to engage youth in many ways, ranging from Staged! Portland’s Musical Theatre Series’ professional premiere of “Ablaze: an a cappella musical thriller” written by local playwright and composer Matthew Zrebski, to the Girls Rock Institute at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, and the Kukatonon Children’s African Dance Troupe program.
In addition, an anonymous donor continues to provide special funding for an annual “Innovation Prize” of $2,500. This year’s award for outstanding, innovative, media-oriented project goes to Orlund Nutt for a short movie based on the James Broughton poem, “Bear of Heaven.”
“We were amazed and inspired by the proposals we received this year,” said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of RACC. “It is especially gratifying to see that our outreach to artists and arts organizations is resulting in a significant increase in new applications. These grant awards will bring exciting variety to the region’s artistic offerings next year.”
Funding for project grants is up 5% over last year because of solid public investments from the City of Portland, Clackamas County, Multnomah County, Washington County, and Metro; and continued growth of Work for Art, RACC’s workplace giving program. It wasn’t quite enough to keep up with the pace of demand, however – RACC received 12% more applications than a year ago. But more projects will be funded starting next year thanks to the passage of Portland’s new arts education and access fund.