Project grants impact artists and our community

By Sara Farrokhzadian

Summer time is project grant season at RACC and staff is spreading the word about the upcoming “Intent to Apply” deadline on August 3, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. This year $650,000 in funding is available for artistic projects and events that are scheduled to take place in calendar year 2017. Project grant awards range from $1,000 to $7,000 each.

RACC encourages individual artists and nonprofit organizations in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas Counties to apply.  Successful proposals will involve the creation or presentation of a performance, exhibit, or other work of art that is available to the general public sometime in 2017. There are two categories of project grants: Artistic Focus and Community Participation & Access. For more information on project grant guidelines, please visit

RACC project grants support artistic projects in our community

RACC funded 131 project grants for 2016, , supporting a wide range of projects in a variety of disciplines including literature, media arts, dance, multi-discipline and social practice. This funding has provided important opportunities for artists and our community.

Fumi’s Floral Shoppe


From “Fumi’s Flora Shoppe”

Chris Parkhurst, a Portland media artist, received a RACC project grant to film a short documentary about 93 year old Fumi Itatmi and the flower shop she and her family have operated in Portland for the last 70 years. Fumi’s Floral Shoppe depicts Portland’s history and transformation through the challenges and change Fumi and her flower shop experienced, including Fumi’s forced placement in an internment camp during World War II. For Parkhurst, the film tells a powerful story of five generations of Japanese women keeping their family and community connected through their flower shop. The film presents the audience with real and tangible experiences from our collective history in Portland.

For Parkhurst, the RACC project grant award has had a huge impact on his art making. “RACC project grant funding allows me to practice my passion of documentary films,” Parkhurst said. Parkhurst has been making documentary film since 2004 and, like many other artists he knows, does not make his living through documentary film making. “I encourage every artist I know who has a project they feel strongly about to apply for the RACC grant,” Parkhurst explained. “Even more than that, if they don’t receive a grant the first time out to make sure to apply again during the next cycle and not to give up.”

Fumi’s Flora Shoppe will premiere in fall 2016.



Christine Martell and her Artosauer Project.

Christine Martell, a visual artist based in Hillsboro, received a Community Participation & Access project grant for her Artosaur Project in 2016. The Artosaur, a robotic dinosaur sculpture, is an arts advocate and educator with a mission to show us that art is everywhere. The project took the Artosaur out into the community to hold art making experiences for the public at library events. These art making experiences incorporated a technology component ranging in complexity from simple folding to create book marks with small children to building LED lit vibrating bugs with older children. Martell held all six of her events in Washington County and reached more than 1,800 participants. Martell also incorporated youth volunteers from the Youth Advisory Council to assist with facilitating the events increasing the community reach of her project.

The RACC project grant was instrumental for Martell and her work. “Through the project grant I am reaching very, very different communities than I have in the past.” Martell said. “I used to hold shows in galleries, but through Artosaur, I embed myself where the population is.”

Through the project grant, Martell feels supported as a community based artist. “RACC not only understands community based art, but RACC funds it as well,” she says. Although Martell has completed her RACC-funded project, she has already begun building on her project grant work. Martell and the Artosaur will hold a weekly pop up makerspace at the Tuesday Night Market in Hillsboro this summer.

How to apply

A great first step in the application process is reading the eligibility guidelines available online at This will give applicants an opportunity to determine whether they are eligible for a project grant.

Applicants will submit an “Intent to Apply” form online by Wednesday, August 3, 2016 by 5:00 p.m. through First time applicants will need to create a new account through the sign up feature and will be able to access the project grant guidelines and forms. The “Intent to Apply” is a simple form that helps to determine basic eligibility before applicants are invited to submit a full proposal.

All applicants will be notified by email within a few days whether they are invited to submit a full proposal, due August 17, 2016 by 5:00 p.m.

Eligible proposals will be grouped by discipline and adjudicated by a panel of community volunteers who have interest and experience in arts and culture programming. For a listing of project grant awards in 2016, visit

Awards will be announced in late December.

RACC staff is there to help

RACC staff are committed to making the grants program accessible to all applicants and to support candidates through the application process. Grants staff Helen Daltoso, Ingrid Carlson and Jack MacNichol are available to assist applicants in a variety of ways.

RACC will host free orientation sessions in July, walking applicants through the guidelines and the process of submitting a competitive application. Applicants can meet grant staff and will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Free Grant Orientations:

Thurs, July 7| 9:00-11:00am
RACC Office (411 NW Park Ave #101 in Portland)
for Nonprofit Organizations

Tues, July 12 | 5:30-7:00pm
North Portland Library (512 N Killingsworth St in Portland)
for All Applicants

Tues, July 19 | 5:30-7:00pm
RACC Office (411 NW Park Ave #101 in Portland)
for Individual Artists

Wed, July 20 | 3:00-5:00pm
RACC Office (411 NW Park Ave #101 in Portland)
for Nonprofit Organizations

Thurs July 21 | 5:30-7:00pm
East Portland Neighborhood Office (1017 NE 117th Ave in Portland)
for All Applicants

Tues, July 26 | 9:00-11:00am
RACC Office (411 NW Park Ave #101 in Portland)
for Individual Artists

If you plan to attend you can register at

RACC also has a series of online video tutorials that can help guide applicants through the application process—available at

Parkhurst has noticed RACC’s focus on accessibility. “There are increased resources that are readily available,” said Parkhurst. During his application process, Parkhurst found it helpful to ask questions. “Part of what is instrumental is to ask questions,” he said. “It encourages dialogue between the applicant and the program.”

Martell, a first time project grant recipient, found the orientation sessions provided practical information on how to approach the application. She also submitted her grant application early enough to arrange for staff feedback on her proposal. Her advice to applicants is: “Do everything – attend the orientations, ask questions, and submit your proposal early and get feedback.” Martell feels that the project grant application process she has given her a better understanding of how to obtain funding that will help her as she moves forward.

RACC staff emphasizes that they want to make themselves available to support applicants. If applicants cannot attend the information sessions, have questions, or would like one-on-one support, they can call or email grant staff for assistance. First time applicants should contact Ingrid Carlson at 503-823-5417 or, and returning applicants should contact Helen Daltoso at 503-823-5402 or

RACC also provides technical and translation assistance for applicants who require it. RACC can help with computer access issues and will translate application materials and provide over-the-phone interpretation services when needed. Applicants can contact Jack MacNichol at 503-823-2928 or for technical assistance.

Guidelines and “Intent to Apply” forms are now available at