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Art Notes Electronic Edition
Two Studies will measure the value of arts and culture
Image - Feature Article
India Summer Festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square

RACC, the Creative Advocacy Network (CAN) and Business for Culture & the Arts (BCA) will collaborate with Americans for the Arts (AFTA) on two major studies of the local arts industry in 2011. Arts & Economic Prosperity IV will evaluate the impact of spending by nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences, while the Local Arts Index will measure the health and vitality of the arts in our region and help us compare our arts community to those in other cities across the United States.

“Arts and culture provide countless intrinsic benefits – positive effects on society and the soul that can be difficult to measure,” said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of RACC. “But there are also many significant benefits of a vibrant arts and culture community that we can measure, and these reports will help us do just that.”

“Business leaders and elected officials are especially interested in measuring the return on their investment in the arts,” said Virginia Willard, executive director of BCA. “The Arts & Economic Prosperity report is useful in showing the arts’ contribution to economic vitality and job creation, and the Local Arts Index report will help us track how this significant sector is holding up compared with national measurements.”

Local participation in these two national studies is made possible with funding from the City of Portland, other local governments, and private investments in the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Jeff Hawthorne, RACC’s director of community affairs, will serve as project manager for both studies.

RACC is seeking interns (volunteers) to assist with collecting and analyzing data for these studies from Mach through April of this year. A job description is available at http://racc.org/2011ResearchIntern.

About Arts & Economic Prosperity IV
“In the past, our Arts & Economic Prosperity studies have demonstrated that the arts are a formidable industry that stimulates the economy in cities and towns across the country,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Although much has changed since our last study as a result of the economic downturn, we expect that we will still be able to demonstrate that the arts remain a formidable industry that helps local businesses thrive.”

As one of 200 study partners across all 50 states, RACC and BCA will gather detailed economic and event attendance data from nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. In addition, CAN and dozens of local arts organizations will help collect surveys from at least 800 arts and culture attendees in the region. When the information is tabulated and analyzed by AFTA, it will help us to evaluate the impact of the recession on the employment and government revenues that are generated by the nonprofit arts industry.

The study will specifically include the following information:

  • The total dollars spent by the region’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations
  • The total dollars spent by audiences as a direct result of their attendance at an arts event
  • The number of full-time equivalent jobs, and the amount of resident income, including salaries and wages, that are supported by arts spending
  • The amount of local and state government tax revenues generated by arts spending.

The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts is helping support the costs of this study. In addition, each participating local and statewide partner contributes time and financial support. The last local Arts & Economic Prosperity study (2007) is available online at http://bit.ly/eKu7VU, and the 2011 study will be published in early 2012.

About the Local Arts Index

The Local Arts Index will gather public and private data for a variety of arts-related indicators in 100 communities across the country. These measures will help quantify the strength of the local arts community and the broader creative sector every year. Because the same data is being collected from every participating community at the county level (including separate reports for Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties), participating counties throughout the United States will be able to compare these measures and the overall strength of their arts community on a county-by-county, per capita basis.

The Kresge Foundation awarded Americans for the Arts a $1.2 million grant to conduct the Local Arts Index, as well as the supporting workshops and materials necessary to assist communities in the effective application of the local data. Research for the Local Arts Index is directed by Roland Kushner, PhD, through support from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. The Clackamas County Arts Alliance is taking the lead on collecting the data for that county; RACC and BCA will take the lead on collecting data for Multnomah and Washington Counties.

A national version of the Arts Index is available online at http://bit.ly/7ZvJ4D. The findings from all Local Arts Indexes will be reported in the fall of 2011.

From RACC Executive Director Eloise Damrosch

Eloise Damrosch

Please help us pack City Hall

Every year RACC makes a presentation to Portland’s City Council about how the city’s investments in arts and culture have benefitted the region -  its residents and visitors. Please save the date and plan to help us pack the house – Wednesday March 9th at 9:30 am, City Hall Council Chambers, 1221 SW 4th Avenue. 

RACC’s Board Chair, Carol Smith, and I will give a slide presentation, followed by a few testimonials on personal experiences with RACC-funded arts and culture programs. There will, of course, be art experiences to round out the program and inspire us all. Last year we had standing room only and would love to repeat that enthusiastic turn-out.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate solidarity within the arts community; thank Council for ongoing generous support; and celebrate the vibrancy, excitement, stimulation, and pleasure artists and arts organizations contribute to our lives.  The audience is a vital part of this occasion!  Please join us; arrive early for a seat; and rsvp to: RSVP@theArtsCAN.org.

RACC’s 2010 Report from the Community will be the basis for our Council presentation in March. It provides a handy summary of the organization’s accomplishments in the past year, including a complete list of grants that have been awarded, public art projects that have been commissioned, and volunteers who have provided invaluable help to us over the past year. The report is available now. To view it online, click here. To receive a printed copy of the report, email mbauer@racc.org or call 503.823.5426. 

We hope to see you at City Hall and thanks in advance for making time.

Eloise can be reached at edamrosch@racc.org

Help determine the future of arts education in the Portland area

RACC and The Right Brain Initiative invite residents of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties to participate in one of three surveys taking stock of local arts education resources. These surveys are part of the first phase of the Any Given Child initiative, a national program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts spearheaded locally by Right Brain. The results of the surveys will help the Any Given Child Community Arts Team create a long-range plan to ensure comprehensive arts education for all K-8 students in the Portland region.

Please fill out the survey most appropriate to you:

  • Licensed staff currently employed by K-8 schools in the Gresham-Barlow, Hillsboro, North Clackamas or Portland Public School districts (deadline 2/7). Click here.
  • Artists and arts organizations who currently provide K-8 education in the tri-county region (deadline 2/14). Click here.
  • All other community members (deadline 3/20). Click here.

Read more about this project

Upcoming RACC Artists Workshops

Website RACC Workshop in 2010

RACC is offering ten professional development workshops for artists in all disciplines through June of 2011. In February two relevant and affordable learning opportunities for artists will occur:

February 12: Websites, language and tools for Artists and Arts Organizations. A workshop for artists and arts administrators who want to start (and/or maintain) a website. Should you hire a designer? Can you do it yourself? Presenter: David Vanadia. 9:30am – 1:30pm. Location: Art Institute of Portland, 1122 NW Davis Street. Cost: $30. Click here to register

February 26: Success strategies for Artists in this Changing Art Market (a panel discussion). This workshop will cover portfolio building and presentation, methods for utilizing the internet for self promotion and processes for exploring viable exhibition opportunities. Facilitator: Lorna Nakell. Panelists: Chris Haberman, Barry Mack, Marci MacFarlane, Mark Smith and Linda Womack. 9:30am–12:30pm. Location: Place at Pioneer Place Mall, 700 SW Fifth Ave., third floor, atrium building. Cost: $20. Click here to register

See a listing of all Workshops at www.racc.org/workshops or call 503.823.5111. Take 5 workshops and save 20%. Register soon as classes fill up fast.
RACC 2010 Annual Report now available

Read all about us! RACC’s Annual Report for 2010 takes the form of a Report from the Community featuring comments from artists and members of the community on how they have benefited from RACC funding and services. There are listings of RACC grants to artists and arts organization; updates on Work for Art and The Right Brain Initiative; a summary of advocacy and fundraising endeavors; a special map noting recent public art projects and a budget summary for 2010. The report can be viewed, downloaded and printed here. To request a hard copy email Mary Bauer at mbauer@racc.org.

Henk Pander: Memory and Modern Life at Hallie Ford Museum of Art

Henk Pander View of Portland (1981), Oil on linen, 54” x 64.” City of Portland Portable Works Collection

Henk Pander has lived in Oregon for 45 years but to this day describes himself as a “reluctant immigrant” from his native Holland. Over the decades, he has maintained a cultural double vision: he documents and interprets American technology, materialism, topography, and disaster in paintings and drawings that recall the grand tradition of Dutch art.  Henk received the RACC 2006 RACC Artist Fellowship in Visual Arts.  He also inspired the creation of the Visual Chronicle of Portland, has served on numerous panels and committees at RACC and is well represented in the Public Art Collection. This exhibit, curated by art historian Roger Hull, will continue at the Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery at Hallie Ford, 700 State Street, Salem, OR through March 27.

At the Portland Building Installation Space

From Hsin-yi Huang’s Collective

Now Showing through February 11:

Artist Hsin-yi Huang’s exhibition Collective features over 470 handmade ceramic spheres installed on the wall from floor to ceiling.  Each sphere is formed by hand and is then kiln fired multiple times. Despite their similarity, no two pieces are the same. The artist sees a direct parallel in society—as our likeness binds us together, it is the uniqueness of each individual that gives character to the group.

Next up from February 21 through March 18:

Hood River artist Susan Murrell’s Subduction  will employ three-dimensional sculptural forms to create an overlapping landmass puzzle. The installation will not only lend form and emotional weight to our concept of the forces that shape continents, but will push us to examine our relationship with ideas and institutions that feel as impermeable and static as the ground beneath our feet.

The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland and is open 7 am to 6 pm, Monday – Friday. For more information on Portland Building installations featured since 1994 go to www.racc.org/installationspace.

Art Spark now bi-monthly

Art Spark is now a bi-monthly networking event for artists, and there will be no gathering in February. The next Art Spark is scheduled for Thursday, March 17 and will focus on Jewish arts and artists. The location will be announced at www.portlandartspark.com where you can also find photographs from past gatherings.



  • Research Assistant. This unpaid position will assist RACC staff in gathering data about the local arts and culture community. The data will be used in two reports being coordinated by Americans for the Arts in 100 communities nationally: The Local Arts Index and Arts & Economic Prosperity IV (see feature article above). The job description can be accessed here. To apply, submit cover letter and qualifications by email to Jeff Hawthorne, jhawthorne@racc.org. Deadline: 2/7/11.


  • Opportunity Grants for Portland-based nonprofit arts and cultural organizations to help meet special opportunities or assist with emergencies that arise. Visit www.racc.org/GrantsOnline for more information. Deadline for Intent to Apply: 2/16/11.
  • Artist Fellowship Award will honor one extraordinary artist in the visual arts, with a $20,000 fellowship this spring. Review criteria for the Fellowship Award includes proof of sustained high artistic quality in the applicant’s work, as well as evidence of the applicant’s involvement in the community and the importance of his/her work to the local culture. Artists who are current residents of Clackamas, Multnomah or Washington counties are eligible to apply. Guidelines and online application at www.racc.org/GrantApps. Deadline for Intent to Apply: 4/6/11.
  • Professional Development Grants FY 2011-12 (cycle 1) assist artists or arts organization administrators with opportunities that specifically improve their business management development skills and/or brings the artist or the arts organization to another level artistically. These grants are available to residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. More information will be available 2/4/11 at www.racc.org/GrantsOnline. Deadline for Intent to Apply: 4/13/11.

The events listed below were funded in part by RACC.

Portland Opera: Turandot

Photo: Adrian Malloch/New Zealand Opera

February 4-12

Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay, Portland, 503.241.1802

Puccini’s Turandot, with its familiar tunes and riveting tale of an icy princess and a young lover willing to risk his life to win her love, make this a must see production.

Portland Opera receives General Support funding from RACC
Portland Art Museum: Riches of a City: Portland Collects

Jingdezhen kilns, Jiangxi Province, China, Baluster vase, 15th century. Porcelain with blue underglaze painting and yellow overglaze enamel. Lent by Richard Louis Brown

February 5- March 22

1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, 503.226.2811

Portland’s rich tradition of art collecting began with its earliest citizens and continues to the present day with a wide-ranging collection from Asian art to European silver. Curated by Bruce Guenther.

Portland Art Museum receives General Support funding from RACC
NW Film Center: 34th Portland International Film Festival

From the film, Whistleblower (Canada)

February 10-26

For Festival Screening Locations visit www.nwfilm.org or call 503.221.8327

Drawing an audience of over 35,000, the Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is the biggest film event in Oregon, premiering more than 100 international shorts and feature films to Portland audiences each February.

Northwest Film Center, through the Portland Art Museum, receives General Support funding from RACC

Pacific Crest Sinfonietta: Sherman: A Jazz Opera

S. Renee Mitchell and Thara Memory

February 18-27

Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 North Interstate Avenue, Portland, 503.283.8467

This original opera is loosely based on the life of saxophone player Sherman Thomas and celebrates the legacy of post-war North Williams Avenue when it was known as "Black Broadway." Musical score: Thara Memory; libretto: S. Renee Mitchell (pictured).

This project was funded in part by a RACC Opportunity Grant
Portland Vocal Consort: Best of the Northwest concert

February 26

First Presbyterian Church 1200 SW Alder, Portland, 503.209.7539 www.portlandvocalconsort.org

Conducted by Ryan Heller, the ambitious Portland professional chamber chorus offers new works by Cascadia Composers, Robert Kyr, Bryan Johanson, Timothy Stephens, other Pacific NW composers, and the world premiere of the winner of the Portland Vocal Consort Young Composer contest.

This project was funded in part by a RACC Project Grant

For more, visit the RACC Calendar

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