Art Notes E-Newsletter

December 2006


The November 2006 issue of Oregon Business Magazine featured an article by the Regional Arts & Culture Council's Executive Director, Eloise Damrosch, entitled Will Work for Art. We would like to share the article in its entirety with our Art Notes' subscribers.

Will Work for Art

Innovative partnerships benefit businesses and the arts — and the people they care about.

By Eloise Damrosch

Oregon has some great opportunities and challenges as young creative people move here in droves. They come because this is a beautiful and somewhat affordable place with a reputation for a lively arts scene, good transportation and outdoors experiences galore. Businesses of all kinds want and need to attract and retain creative workers. What better way to do that than by weaving the arts and innovation into corporate thinking and action?

Having worked in the arts in this state for 35 years, I have seen the highs and lows of arts prosperity. Organizations have flourished and floundered. Public and business support have fluctuated with the economy, tax revolutions and personalities. Despite this rollercoaster ride, I believe we are in a productive and positive time for the business and art worlds to support each other.

Oregon is almost dead last in per capita public funding for the arts, but the Oregon Arts Commission, together with its parent Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, has prepared for the 2007 Legislature an innovative funding package to use the arts as a tool for economic growth. Portland ranks in the lower third nationally for corporate arts support but giving has increased for the third year in a row. Freightliner, the top company this year on the Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts' list of major corporate benefactors, is a newcomer to arts giving. The company contributed because arts support was the employees' cause of choice.

Why is this support so critical? If a symphony orchestra can sell out its seats, why does it have financial woes? We know that arts groups rely on a funding mix to survive and thrive. Ticket sales for performing arts organizations generate at best 50% of their revenue, with the rest raised from contributions. Add to that challenge the fact that many arts organizations, whose primary missions are not teaching children, are tapped to fill in for defunct arts education in schools. These problems are not unique to Oregon. All arts nonprofits face similar funding challenges no matter the discipline. Just ask their development directors.

Certainly, more public and private money helps, but real progress happens with good new ideas, often by joining forces. Recently, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) instituted Work for Art, a workplace giving program to support regional arts activities. We know that individuals fervently support the arts in their own and their children's lives. So we make it easy for them to give through payroll deductions and we make it fun by bringing artists into workplaces.

Many companies match employee gifts to worthwhile causes. At The Standard, employees gave $9,200, which became $18,400 with the company match. That then became $36,800 with a match by the City of Portland. Thanks to a foundation grant, RACC passes every dollar raised on to arts organizations -- with no overhead. The Work for Art "arts card" gives participating employees discounted tickets to treat their families to live arts experiences. And we have proof that when employees have giving options they give more to all causes, so everyone wins.

"Percent for art" programs have been around for decades, ensuring that arts are part of major publicly funded capital construction projects. This is art for everyone without museum admission and art that the public owns. Now some private developers are following suit. They fund sculptures for publicly accessible plazas and partner with other private and public entities for art in mixed-level housing projects. They provide major support for new cultural venues and even hire artists for creative construction mitigation. These business people appreciate that art will give special character and interest to places, attract and instill pride in residents, bolster their own reputations as good citizens, and add value -- all the while keeping artists working.

It is time for business and arts leaders to keep the new ideas flowing. If all those people moving to Oregon find workplaces where innovation is celebrated, they will stay. They will also insist that their kids have art in the schools, attend cultural events, write checks, pump up the economy and help us all thrive in this wonderful state.

Eloise can be reached at

Support More than 75 Local Arts Organizations with a Single Gift


RACC's Work for Art Program, now in its third year, raises money for the tri-county arts community. Thanks to a generous challenge grant from the City of Portland, RACC is poised to raise over $200,000 through employee campaigns at more than 50 local companies this year. And although it is primarily a workplace giving program, individuals at large can also participate online and enjoy the benefits of giving through Work for Art. Through June 30, 2007, the City of Portland is matching all contributions to Work for Art, dollar for dollar, up to $200,000. RACC passes on 100% of the money we raise to nonprofit arts organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties that demonstrate artistic excellence and fiscal responsibility through RACC's existing general support grants and project grants. Donors who give $60 or more, receive an Arts Card, providing a year of 2-for-1 tickets and other discounts at many local arts events. To make a gift that will be matched dollar for dollar by the City of Portland and distributed to more than 75 local arts organizations, visit

Don't Forget to Give to the Oregon Cultural Trust before December 31st


The Cultural Trust gives to Oregon arts, heritage and humanities. Contribute to any of Oregon's 1,200 cultural nonprofits (see list at Then, make a matching gift to the Trust to receive a 100% tax credit. Oregon Cultural Trust, 775 Summer Street, #200, Salem, OR 97301, 503.986.0088,,

Registration Open for RACC 2007 Artists Workshop Series

RACC will be offering 6 professional development workshops for working artists in all disciplines from January to June 2007. The workshops include:

  • 1/19 Artists Wanted: Public Art from A to Z
  • 2/16 The Balancing Act: Making Art and Making Money
  • 3/17 Making Art/Work for a Public Space: the Ins and Outs of Public Art Fabrication
  • 4/20 Legal Issues for Artists
  • 5/18 Grantwriting for Success
  • 6/29 Going Digital: Submitting Application Materials in New Media Formats.
Registration begins December 1 and space is limited. A 20% discount will be available to artists who subscribe to the entire series. For more information or to register go to; email or call 503.823.4698

RACC Launches new Arts Resource Database at RACC Website

RACC's Arts Resource Links has re-launched this month as a searchable database that offers a variety of resources locally, nationally and internationally for the artist and interested art supporter. RACC hopes these links will enhance or supplement information on art and culture which would be of value to our constituents. Over 700 links are listed including most of our local art and culture organizations, arts education resources, artists' websites, art galleries and professional services for the working artist such as legal, insurance, and marketing assistance. The viewer may search according to locale and in a variety of artistic disciplines. RACC encourages individuals and organizations who offer resources, opportunities and/or services specific to artists to submit listings to Mary Bauer at

Call for Volunteers

RACC and Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts (NW/BCA) are wrapping up the research phase of Arts & Economic Prosperity II, a comprehensive economic impact study of the metropolitan art community that will be released next spring. As a final push to collect information about arts-related spending by audiences, we are seeking 3-5 volunteers who can help conduct surveys at a variety of local arts events throughout the month of December. If you'd like to assist with this important effort (and receive complimentary tickets to the events being surveyed), please contact Laura Becker at NW/BCA,, 503.228.2977.

All the Art That Fits: 10th Annual City/County Employee Art Exhibit, 12/1-1/5

Employees from the City of Portland and Multnomah County were invited to submit one original piece of artwork that was installed on a first-come-first-served basis. See the exhibit at the Portland Building Lobby Space at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland. The Building is open to the public from 7am - 6pm, Monday through Friday. For more information contact Karen Christenson,

Public Art to be Removed from the Portland Mall during Construction


On November 7, Kvinneakt (pictured) -- the sculpture by Norman Taylor made famous by the "Expose Yourself to Art" poster -- was temporarily removed to make way for the Portland Mall MAX Light Rail Project. The removal was supervised by staff at RACC, which is responsible for the City's public art collection. The remaining sculptures from the transit mall collection will be removed in January 2007 and placed in storage until the construction of the track and streetscape is completed. The sculptures will then be re-sited on the Central Mall with an additional 8-10 new sculptures by NW artists. For more information visit or email Kristin Calhoun at

RACC Grant Update

RACC Project Grant and Professional Development Grant Award notification letters will be going out after December 6th, following the RACC Board's final approval of the awards.

Current RACC Opportunities

Public Art

  • Portland Building Installation Space 2007: Art Students. RACC invites art students/teams at the college/university level in Oregon to submit proposals for temporary installations in a designated space located in the lobby of the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Avenue. Three student installations will be featured in one-month installations in 2007 (3/26-4/20; 4/30-5/25; 6/4-29). Students selected will receive a $250 honorarium. Download the Request for Student Proposals at Deadline: 12/11/06.
  • in situ PORTLAND- On the Streets. RACC will issue a call for qualifications by mid-December for a new temporary outdoor installations program in neighborhoods around Portland. The deadline will be in late January. Interested artists should put themselves on the RACC Public Art Listserv or contact Kristin Calhoun, Put in situ PORTLAND in your subject line to make sure it gets through.
  • Visual Chronicle. Guidelines for the purchase of artwork for the Visual Chronicle of Portland, an archival collection of works on paper, will be available in December on RACC's website,


  • The RACC Public Art Department is seeking a Registrar Intern. This is an unpaid position starting immediately. Click here to download a description.

December Events Funded in part by RACC

Artist M.K. Guth, photo by Marne Lucas
Sitting City: Portland Artist Portraits, Photographs by Marne Lucas

December 1-30
Mark Woolley Gallery at the Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell, Portland

The series was shot entirely on location, and each artist is represented by elements that reflect their style of work, mediums or the personal inspirations of those individuals either within their studio environment, in nature or in a fantasy projection that is a collaborative mutation of these ideas.

This project was funded in part by a RACC Project Grant

Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert
BodyVox's First Impressions

December 7-16
BodyVox Studio, 1300 NW Northrup, Portland, 503.229.0627

Curated by BodyVox Artistic Directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, the goal of First Impressions is to invigorate and inspire both dancers and audiences by exposing them to a diverse array of concepts and styles all within a single program.

BodyVox receives General Support funds from RACC

Photo by Serena Davidson
Cydney Wilkes' A Certain Facilitation of Impasse

December 8-10
Disjecta, 5 SE 3rd Avenue, Portland

The powerful duo of Mike Barber and Cydney Wilkes present their first shared full evening of new work that uses obstacles in the form of confined space and restraint to present a human, thought provoking, and engaging performance experience.

This project was funded in part by a RACC Project Grant

Photo by Andy Batt
Oregon Ballet Theatre: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

December 8-24
Keller Auditorium, SW Third at Clay, Portland

Join Marie and the Nutcracker Prince on their magical journey to the colorful realm of the Sugarplum Fairy, where candy confections spring to life and holiday dreams come true.

Oregon Ballet Theatre receives General Support funds from RACC

Do Jump Theatre! At Such a Dizzy Height

December 15-29
Newmark Theatre (PCPA), 1111 SW Broadway, Portland

At Such a Dizzy Height, Artistic Director Robin Lane's newest work, is inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall. In addition, Do Jump! will perform highlights from its celebrated long-running holiday show, Do Jump for the Holidays.

Do Jump! receives General Support funds from RACC
For a listing of many more events in the
metropolitan Portland area funded in part by RACC see

Cultural Calendar

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