RACC Blog

9/23 SPACE@RACC hosts Tender Table event

We are so excited to announce that we will be hosting Tender Table: Ratnanjali Adhar & Rachelle Dixon as our inaugural SPACE@RACC event!  Join us on the 23rd!!

SPACE@RACC: Setting Purposeful Access & Community Engagement, is a new program designed to create cultural equity through an investment of space for under-served artists and communities.

Tender Table is a storytelling platform featuring women of color and gender nonconforming people of color and their stories about food, family, and identity.

Join us on Saturday, September 23, from 7-9 p.m.,  for stories and food by RATNANJALI ADHAR & RACHELLE DIXON

Artist Bios:

  • Rachelle Dixon is a lifelong “foodie” and a caterer at her company, Antilles Pearl Catering in Portland, Oregon. Rachelle cooks with soul to prepare meals that are deeply satisfying and has been doing so for over 3 decades. See more on Rachelle https://www.tendertable.com/#/rachelle-dixon/

  • Ratnanjali Adhar is a first generation immigrant from India. Her parents grew up in an ashram outside of Agra where most mornings were spent farming as a community. Ratna tries to integrate those values into her life here. See more on Ratnanjali https://www.tendertable.com/#/ratnanjali-adhar/​

All ages are welcome to this event. $5-10 sliding scale to support the artists. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

If you can’t make it, please donate to support the artists: Squarecash: $TenderTable or Paypal tendertable@gmail.com


Celebrating fashion and arts education at SHIFT: An experiment in fashion design

A unique new event showcases garments created from uncommon materials to help raise money for The Right Brain Initiative

PORTLAND, ORE — On September 21, 2017, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and Arlene Schnitzer present SHIFT: An experiment in fashion design at 6:00 p.m. at the Leftbank Annex. This first annual runway show features nineteen local designers debuting runway garments made from recycled materials and found objects in an effort to raise funds for The Right Brain Initiative, RACC’s arts integration program that serves 29,500 students in 70 local K-8 public schools.

SHIFT is not your ordinary runway show; both rookie student designers and established fashion designers alike will compete for first, second, and third cash prizes, and the People’s Choice Award. Included in the 2017 SHIFT designer line-up are two eleven-year-old students of The Right Brain Initiative in the Gresham-Barlow School District.

Each creation will be assessed based on the following five characteristics: innovation, whimsy, level of difficulty, quality of construction, and runway presence. Three local fashion personalities will serve as judges: Adam Arnold is a local fashion designer known for his customized, sophisticated, and inventive clothing line. Nancy Judd is the founder and director of Recycle Runway, creating couture fashion from trash as a way to educate about the importance of conservation. Brooke Olzendam is a local TV celebrity and the current Courtside Reporter for the Portland Trail Blazers.

This exciting evening, full of fashion and ingenuity, will be emceed by the award-winning Rose Empress XLVI, Poison Waters. The event will also feature local food and fare, music from DJ VNPRT and the Obo Addy Legacy Project, and a silent auction with items from local Portland businesses and arts and culture organizations.

WHEN: Thursday, September 21, 2017. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for VIP and 6:00 p.m. for general admission. Show at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Leftbank Annex, 101 N Wiedler Street, Portland, Oregon 97227

COST: $45 general admission and $100 VIP admission. Purchase tickets online at http://therightbraininitiative.org/SHIFT/

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The Right Brain Initiative is a sustainable partnership of public schools, local government, foundations, businesses and the cultural community working to transform learning through the arts for all K-8 students in the Portland metro area. Now entering its tenth year, Right Brain serves 70 schools and approximately 29,500 students from urban, suburban and rural communities in the Portland area. In fall of 2014, Right Brain released data connecting the program to an above-average increase in student test scores, with greatest results for English Language Learners. Right Brain is a program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Operating partners include Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington (Residency Partner), Victoria Lukich (Research & Evaluation Partner), and Deborah Brzoksa of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Professional Development Consultant). Read more online at TheRightBrainInitiative.org.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.


RACC teams up with the The Standard to keep the Portland Building’s public art on display

As City Bureaus begin relocating their offices in advance of the Portland Building renovation RACC has also been working to find temporary storage for the many public art works that will be displaced during construction. Portlandia will stay put on the building’s west façade, but the iconic 35 foot high sculpture will be screened off to protect her copper surface while exterior building repairs are made.

While our city’s symbol is hidden from view tourists and locals will still be able to get a Portlandia fix however, thanks to a generous offer from The Standard insurance company. The Standard is making room on the 2nd floor lobby of their Plaza building—located directly across the street from Portlandia—for the display of artist Raymond Kaskey’s exacting scale model of the sculpture. The model will join several other Portlandia related exhibits that will be relocated from the Public Art Gallery on the Portland Building’s 2nd floor.

In addition to stepping in to display these Portlandia related items during the Portland Building’s three year long renovation, The Standard is also assisting RACC by providing art collection storage space at a friendly rate. This storage will allow RACC to safely house all of the other public art normally located within the Portland Building until the renovation is complete.

“The Standard came through in a big way and has been enthusiastic, generous and helpful. They have a history of supporting arts and culture and RACC, and their assistance with this temporary relocation is sincerely appreciated.” –  Keith Lachowicz, RACC Public Art Collections Manager.

The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue. The relocated Portlandia display will be on view in the L2 lobby of The Standard’s Plaza building, 1134 SW 5th Avenue, beginning September 20th.


Arts Education: Join the Movement

by Maya McFaddin, RACC Arts Education Community Engagement Associate

It seems that each day we are facing new and more difficult challenges than the day before. At times, it is tough to maintain our hope and strength, let alone any sense of normalcy in our families, jobs, and daily routines amidst the overwhelming political and social turmoil that we are all experiencing. The issues often seem so much bigger than ourselves and we begin to wonder how we as individuals, or we as an arts organization, can make an impact. As an arts organization, do we have a role in the resistance? As national support for the arts is being threatened, what can we do? How can we be part of the solution? Sure, we believe in the transformational power of the arts, and yet we still find ourselves asking these questions; wondering how what we do each day fits into the bigger world. It took a conversation with one of our students from The Right Brain Initiative, Tarynn, to remind us that our work and the work of artists across the world not only matters, but is necessary.

“After our Right Brain residency with Korekara Taiko, we don’t look at each other just as classmates. The arts have made us stronger and have made our relationships better with each other.”

Tarynn nailed it on the head. That is power of the arts; that is why we get up each day and come to work at the region’s arts council; that is how we can unite communities and make change. As artists have been for centuries, we are the storytellers and the connectors and we are most definitely part of the solution. We need that sort of creative thinking now more than ever. We need the voices of the artists, the students, the people.

“You might not have ever done something creative, but if you let go of that need for everything to be colored within the lines. It could just be a line on a paper, but you could turn it into so much more if you let go of having to know that everything has to be done a certain way.”

Tarynn reminded us why we’re here and why the arts matter just as much now as they ever have, because the arts are a platform, a vehicle, and an opportunity to make change. And this fall, we are especially digging into the movement.

As we enter our tenth year of supporting schools through Right Brain’s arts integration programming and our fifth year of empowering arts specialists hired through the Portland arts tax, we know that this work is making an impact in our community. This year Right Brain has added two new schools to serve a total of 70 K-8 schools in eight school districts across Portland metro. We’ve added a new school in the east Portland district of Parkrose; a Title I school where 100% of the students receive free and reduced lunch. We are supporting 92 K-5 arts specialists in the City of Portland who are providing arts learning opportunities to nearly 35,000 students in six school districts. With each educator and student partnership we engage, we build a stronger movement.

In just under two weeks, we will be joining Americans for the Arts’ celebration of National Arts in Education Week (September 10-16) with partners across the country. Throughout the week, we will be publishing a blog salon and sharing community voices on the transformative power of arts education. We are initiating conversations with regional, state, and national policy makers to shape a shared vision for equitable education through the arts.

Our efforts in Portland metro do not stand alone. We are joined by our fellow educators and arts organizations who also believe that the solutions lie with creative and equitable educational experiences. We know that this movement is not, and cannot, be exclusive. We need you. We need arts lovers, leaders, students, teachers, and communities. It is our mission to provide the opportunities to collaborate, experiment and discover and your voices are the true leaders in this movement. This is just the beginning. Are you ready? Here’s how you can get involved this month:

  1. Engage with RACC, Right Brain, and Americans for the Arts (AFTA) social media during National Arts in Education Week (September 10-16).
  2. Tune into to #BecauseOfArtsEd and #ArtsEdWeek on all social media platforms.
  3. Register for the daily webinars at 12pm (Pacific Time) during National Arts in Education Week.
  4. Join in for the #ArtsEdChat on Twitter every day at 5pm (Pacific Time) during National Arts in Education Week.
  5. Stay tuned for The Right Brain Initiative’s Blog Salon during National Arts in Education Week (September 10-16).
  6. Write to your local elected officials in the tri-county region and tell them that you care about arts education!
  7. Write to your local school board members in the tri-county region and tell them that you care about arts education.
  8. Join RACC and Right Brain on 9/21/2017 for our first annual runway show SHIFT: An experiment in fashion design.
  9. Keep an eye out for The Right Brain Initiative’s 2017 Progress Report that will be released on September 11, 2017—it’s chock-full of the amazing impacts of arts education in K-8 public schools.

Do you have other ideas you’re ready to bring to the movement? Can we work together?

We’re listening.


Empathy and Creative Expression: Why the Arts are Critical

By Deb Vaughn, Education Coordinator, Oregon Arts Commission

In a 2016 article in The Denver Post, Kurt MacDonald compares the desire to produce competitive 21st century workers to the intent of dog breeders working to produce ideal canines. “Both sought to achieve their ends by refining and concentrating valuable attributes into purebreds (dogs) and national content and standards (education.)” But there are serious consequences to a lack of diversity of thought, just as there are in genetics. “When a majority of tomorrow’s jobs and challenges have yet to be imagined, our students require the diversity of thought necessary to tackle them.”

The arts provide opportunities for students to discover new ideas while raising awareness of the world around them. Empathy is tightly wedded to creative exploration, a link articulated clearly by Oregon’s Poetry Out Loud state champions in a video released by the Oregon Arts Commission called “Why is Poetry Out Loud Important? 2012 Oregon state champion Jillian Frakes puts it this way: “[Poetry is] a way to help [students] find their voice. You’re able to use another person’s words to express ideas that you have.” Brynn Tran, 2010 winner adds, “[The poem] doesn’t belong to me, but I get to hold it for a couple minutes.”

The benefits of creative exploration are supported by research conducted by the national Creating Connection initiative, which defines four core benefits of arts engagement: self-expression, personal growth, well-being and happiness. For students, opportunities to explore the arts promote these benefits, as well as support multiple modes of engagement in overall learning, pushing back against over-standardization of instruction.

In Oregon, access to in-school arts opportunities vary greatly between school buildings. Using information provided by the Oregon Department of Education, the Oregon Arts Commission maintains a database on the availability of arts classes in Oregon schools. This information can be used to develop strategies for expanding creative outlets for students. Until we know where the gaps are, we can’t fill them.

Thanks to the work of arts organizations and artists around the state, many students benefit from creative exploration in classrooms. For example, the Architecture Foundation of Oregon brings professional architects in 3rd-5th grade classrooms around the state to help students explore the built environment, the history of their community and the fundamentals of 3-dimensional design. Elementary students in Hood River use basket weaving and storytelling to promote art, math and literacy skills through the Story Baskets project offered by Arts in Education of the Gorge. And, thanks to the Corvallis Arts Center’s efforts last year, visiting artists blended printmaking with an investigation of microbiomes to help students connect laboratory research to understanding of geometric shapes and color theory. Regular readers of this newsletter will be familiar with the integrated approach to learning that The Right Brain Initiative promotes through ongoing professional development for teachers and artists to provide coordinated arts experiences for students. All of these projects were supported by Arts Learning grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, one of several funders supporting arts education work.

Do you know about an exciting creative opportunity for students in your area? Now is the time to shout about it! National Arts in Education Week begins September 10, 2017. Led by Americans for the Arts (AFTA), the entire country will be recognizing the role of the arts in schools. AFTA offers a list of suggested ways to celebrate and provides advocacy tools on their website. The Regional Arts & Culture Council will be joining the celebration with a social media campaign (Facebook, Twitter) and beginning conversations with local policy makers on the importance of advocating for arts in education at all levels of the community and government.

As students assume increasing responsibility for the challenges of the 21st century, the best foundation we can give them is creativity, confidence and the ability to see things in a new way. Arts education promotes all these skills as well as motivates students to persevere as they seek answers to questions that generations before them have failed to answer, as well as those that haven’t been asked yet.


Night Lights presents site-specific outdoor media monthly through April

Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal to host projections from local artists

PORTLAND, ORE — Night Lights, a monthly public art event, continues into its third year of urban intervention. A special launch party will be held at Open Signal on Wednesday, September 20 before the First Thursday series begins on October 5, showcasing projections of digital media from local artists and art students. Open Signal and the north wall of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) offices will serve as the sites for this year’s events, with artists presenting works tailored specifically for those locations.

Night Lights represents an ongoing relationship between RACC’s public art program and Open Signal, celebrating the crossroads of local talent and technological innovation. The series illustrates the organizations’ inventive spirits, featuring presentations that include large-format projections, and interactive performances. Finalists were chosen through an open call and a community panel process, receiving a stipend for their participation.

The full Night Lights schedule is listed below, showcasing a different work each month. Emcee and performance artist Pepper Pepper inaugurates this year’s events on October 5, debuting an immersive project that will transform its audience into a kaleidoscopic collage.

This year, artists-in-residence Amy Chiao & Chloe Cooper will have full access to Open Signal’s resources for four months, developing a new work about their experiences parading a fifteen foot puppet through public and private settings. The documentary will premier on April 5, 2018 at Open Signal’s parking lot, and attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with the puppet used for filming.

Night Lights schedule

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Launch Party
Open Signal
2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland
7:00pm-9:30pm
Free RSVP

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Pepper Pepper
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Stephanie Mendoza
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Wednesday November 29, 2017
PSU Presentation with Professor Dave Colangelo
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, December 7, 2017
Ezekiel Brown
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Julia Calabrese
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Portland State University Showcase
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Amy Chiao & Chloe Cooper (Artists in Residence)
Open Signal
2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Learn more about Night Lights at nightlightspdx.tumblr.com


About Open Signal
Open Signal is a media arts center making media production possible for anyone and everyone in Portland, Oregon. Launched in 2017, the center builds upon the 35-year legacy of Portland Community Media to create a resource totally unique in the Pacific Northwest. Open Signal offers media workshops, an equipment library, artist residencies and programs five cable channels with locally produced content. Open Signal delivers media programming with a commitment to creativity, technology and social change. Learn more at opensignalpdx.org

About Regional Arts & Culture Council
The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. Learn more at racc.org.


As the Portland Building renovation approaches RACC looks back at 23 years of the Installation Space, August 14 – September 1

PORTLAND, ORE – As the three year long renovation of the Portland Building approaches RACC will take an opportunity to present A Look Back: 23 Years at the Portland Building Installation Space. This “venue retrospective” will celebrate the rich and varied history of art installations in the modest gallery space that adjoins the Portland Building lobby. Each of the 200+ site-specific installations dating back to 1994 will be represented in images and text. The famous (infamous?) Installation Space Comment Book that has accompanied exhibitions over the years will be converted into a wall sized “comment chalkboard” where visitors can endorse past favorites or offer their thoughts on this eclectic and successful public art forum.

Early on in its history the Installation Space developed a reputation both as a venue for well established artists and as an incubator space for emerging artists and students. RACC’s commitment to presenting engaging, challenging, and diverse work has remained constant for 23 years, as has the City of Portland’s support for the program through funds for the honorarium that accompanies each installation to support materials and artist fees. A new location for the Installation Space is envisioned on the 2nd floor of the redesigned Portland Building. In the meantime RACC is looking at temporary location possibilities during the renovation hiatus—stay tuned to www.racc.org for periodic updates.

About the Portland Building: As many Portlanders already know the Portland Building was designed by noted architect Michael Graves. Built in 1982 to serve as the City of Portland’s central administrative office building, the exterior design is considered one of the first examples of Post Modern architecture and the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Significant exterior façade and interior operational systems needs have arisen over time however, and the city is undertaking the $195 million project to renovate the façade, replace failing building envelope issues, redesign interior work spaces and create new, more welcoming community spaces. To accommodate the renovation the Portland Building will close in November of this year, the reopening is scheduled for the end of 2020.

Viewing Hours & Location The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Friday. A Look Back: 23 Years at the Portland Building Installation Space opens Monday, August 14 and runs through Friday, September 1. For more information on the Installation Space series go to www.racc.org/installationspace.


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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.


A look back: 23 years at the Portland Building Installation Space, August 14 – September 1

As the two year long renovation of the Portland Building approaches RACC will take an opportunity to look back at the rich, 23 year long history of art installations in the gallery that adjoins the building lobby. Over 200 exhibitions have taken place here over the years, all dedicated exclusively to site-specific installation art. The “techy” part: images and text from all the installations dating back to 1994 will be presented on a large format viewing screen. The analog part: the main wall will be converted to a large “Comment Chalkboard” where visitors can endorse their favorites, wish the Installation Space well as it begins its two year renovation hiatus, or simply comment on the nature of a program that has successfully presented engaging, challenging, and diverse artwork in a public forum for 23 years straight.

The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Friday. A Look Back: 23 years at the Portland Building Installation Space opens Monday, August 14 and runs through Friday, September 1. For more information on the Installation Space series go to www.racc.org/installationspace.

RACC’s exhibition highlighting the 23 year history of the Portland Building Installation Space opens Monday, August 14. Pictured below: David Nechak, 1994, Meg Rowe 1997, Heidi Fiechter 2001, Chandra Bocci 2003, Amos Latteier 2003, Paula Rebsom 2008, Michael Endo 2011, Shu-Ju Wang 2012, Elijah Hasan 2017


RACC’s evolution continues

By Jeff Hawthorne, Interim Executive Director

The Regional Arts & Culture Council is an ever-changing organization, leading initiatives that help artists and arts organizations thrive in the Portland metro area, and using arts and culture as powerful tools to respond to a wide variety of community needs. Once a city bureau, RACC became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in 1995 so that we could, among other things, be more entrepreneurial in pursuing our mission of enriching the community through arts and culture. Since that time, and under the leadership of Eloise Damrosch, RACC has expanded its services and its relevance in dramatic ways – today we are serving more people and having a greater impact on our community than ever before.

Most people know RACC for its extensive history of providing grants and services for artists and arts organizations in three counties, and managing a vast public art collection for Portland and Multnomah County. We significantly expanded our advocacy role in 2005 by launching Work for Art, a workplace giving program that now raises $750,000/year for local arts organizations, and we responded to a critical decline in arts education in 2007 by pairing teaching artists with classrooms teachers to help them integrate the arts into other classroom subjects. Ten years later The Right Brain Initiative is serving more than 26,000 K-8 students/year, and research shows that participants have dramatically improved test scores in reading, math, and English language proficiency.

In 2012, Portland voters reaffirmed the importance of arts education and healthy arts organizations when 62% of them approved the arts tax. This innovative dedicated funding stream raises more than $10 million a year – enough money for every school in Portland to have an art, music or dance teacher, and significantly increasing the funds that RACC has available to invest in General Operating Support and Project Grants – though persistently $2 million short of what organizers (including RACC) had planned. RACC is working to not only fill this gap, but to explore funding from other sources, and to ensure that all of our resources are distributed equitably – and that means setting aside funding for emerging organizations, culturally specific organizations, and other vital community groups that deliver extraordinary arts and culture offerings in our community but may not have benefited from RACC funding in the past.  Our arts and culture ecosystem is evolving, and RACC must continue to evolve along with it.

Which brings us to the search for a new Executive Director. Our board, chaired by Mike Golub, and our search committee, led by Steve Rosenbaum, have been working diligently to ensure that the entire search process, from the job description to our final selection, reflects the organization’s values and priorities – placing equity, inclusion and diversity at the center. I am proud of the work these volunteers have done to gather input from the community and staff, and to build a comprehensive new job description that will intrigue, inspire and entice the right candidates.

There is so much for our new Executive Director to build on. The staff is hard at work transforming our organization to be more accessible, and actively adapting our programs to eliminate barriers and deliver services more equitably. From our new “Fresh Paint” collaboration with Open Signal that develops emerging muralists from communities of color, to the user-friendly adjustments we have made to our Project Grant program … from our new capacity building initiative for culturally specific organizations, to the new emphasis we are placing on emerging leaders of color in our Art of Leadership Program, we hope you are seeing – and benefitting from – the continued evolution of RACC. We know there is much more work to do, including the need for clear direction and decisive action on the affordability crisis that is wreaking havoc on our artists and arts organizations, which is why we are excited about the prospects of a new leader with innovative ideas, a commitment to collaboration, and a strong passion for this work.

We expect that the Executive Director search will officially launch next month with the publication of a new job description, and you can follow the committee’s process in the meantime by checking out the public updates that are posted at racc.org/executive-director-search-update. In a post dated July 14, the committee announced that they have finalized the following core competencies they are looking for in a new Executive Director:

  • Equity, Inclusion & Diversity
  • Executive Level Management
  • Change Management
  • Commitment to the Arts

The committee lists Communication, Advocacy, Fundraising, and Grantmaking experience as secondary competencies, and they continue to welcome input by emailing EDsearch@racc.org.

Meanwhile, the RACC staff and board remain hard at work, and there’s plenty more progress coming your way in the months ahead. RACC’s continued evolution is certain, and the next 12 months will be especially exciting. Please be in touch if you have any comments, questions, suggestions or concerns along the way!

 

 

 


8/8 RACC co-sponsors “Race Talks”

RACC is co-sponsoring the next RACE TALKS, Tuesday, August 8, 2017; “Williams Avenue Black History Corridor”; at McMenamins Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Avenue; Portland, OR 97211; Doors open at 6 pm; Newcomers Intro 6:45 pm; Food and drink available for purchase.

About Williams Avenue’s Black History Corridor

N Williams is changing. A lot. What many now living, working and playing in the area don’t know is that for the majority of the 20th century, N Williams/Albina was Portland’s largest African American community. Join our speaker panel to learn how the Historic Black Williams Project highlights this chapter of Portland history through a multimedia public art project. Speakers share the history of Albina, the impetus for the Historic Black Williams Project and how art can be a catalyst for Social Justice action and reform.

Speakers are:

  • Tom Robinson, Photo Historian
  • Mychal Tetteh, Fix Our Streets Program Manager, Portland Bureau of Transportation
  • Kayin Talton-Davis, Artist / Project Manager
  • Cleo Davis, Artist / Project Lead

See RACE TALKS.


2017-18 RACC Professional Development Grants (Cycle 1)

The Professional Development Grant Program assists artists or arts administrators with opportunities that specifically improve their business management development skills and/or brings the artist or the arts organization to another level artistically. The RACC Board approved these awards on May 24, 2017. (*First time grant recipients)

Here are the 2017-18 Professional Development grant awards (cycle 1) to both individuals and organizations:

*Bidegain, Ray – Work with master photographer in Raleigh, North Carolina. – $1,500

Chilstrom, Robin – Attend vocal improvisation workshop in Rhinecliff, New York. – $1,700

Chou, Hong – Perform at College Music Society’s International Music Conference in Sydney, Australia. – $1,950 (Washington)

Cohen, Stephen – Travel to attend music residency at Music OMI in Ghent, New York. – $775

*Connelly, Muffie  – Travel to participate in Ponderosa Artist Residency in Stolzenhagen, Germany. – $1,200

*Cosper, Anna – Attend Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in LA. – $1,500

*Creamer, Alissa Nicole – Create artist website. – $1,500

*Deandrade, Donna – Travel to study with Grupo Afro-Cuba in Matanzas, Cuba. – $1,750

*Doughton, Steven – Digitize work and attend exhibition open at MOMA in New York City. – $1,500

*Hickey, Leslie – Attend Civita Fellowship in Civita di Bahnoregio, Italy. – $1,750

*Hill, Will – Attend California Brazil Camp in Cazadero, California. – $1,500

*Houston, Taino – Create artist website and marketing materials. – $1,500

*Kuhlman, Laura – Attend Viols West workshop in San Luis Obispo, California. – $1,200

*Leavitt, Matt – Research and training on the use of CNC router. – $1,500

*Lewis, Ellen – Present work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. – $1,800 (Clackamas)

*Lewis, Katherine – Attend Dell’Arte Theater Summer Intensive in Blue Lake, California. – $1,000

Martin, Yuki – Create artist website. – $1,000

*Newman, Hannah – Exhibit work at GRIN, a gallery in Providence, Rhode Island. – $925 (Washington)

*Nikolai, Tabitha – Travel to create work with collaborators in Tokyo. – $1,200

Nye, Whitney – Update artist website. – $1,300

*O’Neal, Sidony – Work with consultant Jesse Mejia on sound design and audio synthesis. – $1,150

*Ostapenko, Tatyana – Present work at the Odessa Biennasle in Ukraine. – $1,250

*Oyervides, Alejandra – Attend apparel construction workshops at the Portland Fashion Institute. – $1,500

*Parker, Brian – Attend Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in LA. – $1,750

*Rose, Alicia J. – Create artist website. – $1,650

Sivley, Paul – Attend Pro Drone Workshop training in Minneapolis, Minnesota. – $1,450 (Clackamas)

Stiles, Noelle – Attend Fundación El Mirador residency in Buenos Aires, Argentina. – $1,500

Tran, Minh – Travel to work with master dance teachers in Bali, Indonesia. – $1,500

*Woodring, Ryan – Attend Signal Fire Residency “Canoe: Big Bend” on the Rio Grande River in Texas. – $850

*Action/Adventure Theatre – Create new organizational website and brand. – $1,350

*Beaverton Symphony Orchestra – Attend League of American Orchestras management training in LA. – $1,500 (Washington)

*Tavern Books – Attend American Literary Translators Association Conference in Minneapolis. – $1,500

For more information on Professional Development grants click here.


2017-18 Arts Equity Grants

Arts Equity Grants provide financial support to organizations that are conducting arts and culture projects and programming for communities of color, immigrants, refugees, underserved neighborhoods, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ communities, people experiencing homelessness and houselessness, and other communities that have historically been marginalized.

The RACC Board of Directors approved the final 24 grant awards on May 24, 2017. (*First-time RACC Grant recipient)

  • Autism Society of Oregon – Art workshops for adults on the autism spectrum. $1,250
  • Cinema Project – Social justice film screenings at correctional facility in partnership with Liberation Literacy. $1,480
  • Cymaspace – Oregon Arts & Accessibility Festival to showcase the work of deaf and hard of hearing artists. $6,500
  • Fuse Theatre Ensemble – OUTwright Theatre Festival, celebrating the contributions of the LGBTQI+ community to the art of theatre. $5,000
  • Girls Inc of the Pacific Northwest* – Five week summer documentary filmmaking program that inspires girls to share the stories of Portland women. $6,500
  • Hmong American Community of Oregon* – New Year Celebration at Glenhaven Park. $6,000
  • Instituto de Cultura y Arte In Xochitl In Cuicatl – Dia de los Muertos ceremony and accompanying workshops/programming. $5,000
  • Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival* – 5th Annual Festival featuring and supporting Native American/First Nations artists, activists, and vendors. $6,000
  • Kukatonon Children’s African Dance Troupe – After-school African dance and drumming program, including partnership with The Portland Ballet. $6,500
  • Latino Network – Multi-media video art project with Latino youth in East County. $6,500
  • Morpheus Youth Project – Breakdancing workshop in partnership with Department of Community Justice, Juvenile Services.  $6,500
  • NAYA Family Center – Neerchokikoo Honoring Powwow, an annual celebration honoring Native American Cultural Arts. $5,000
  • New Expressive Works – Weekend of workshops and activities highlighting the experiences of urban South Asians. $6,500
  • Outside the Frame* – Intensive filmmaking workshop and subsequent weekly programming for youth experiencing homelessness. $6,000
  • Portland Art & Cultural Center* – Annual Chinese New Year Cultural Fair. $6,000
  • Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir* – Free community concert at St. Andre Bessette Catholic Church. $4,500
  • PreSERVE Coalition* – 12-week collaborative arts series with The Geezer Gallery for older African Americans. $6,500
  • Public Annex* – Two terms of art classes for people with disabilities and arts community. $5,000
  • Right 2 Survive – Support Ambassador Project to host writing and art workshops integrating housed and homeless people. $6,500
  • ROSE CDC* – Comprehensive music education, production, and performance program in partnership with Holla Mentors. $6,500
  • Slavic Community Center of NW* – Cultural music event for Slavic immigrants featuring local musicians performing music by Russian composers. $5,000
  • The Giving Tree – 4 session class for residents to explore their mental health diagnosis in relation to their creativity and art-making. $1,810
  • The Rosewood Initiative – Role Models Apply Positive Peer Pressure (RAPP) Music Program. $4,000
  • World Stage Theatre – Imagination Express Arts Education mobile outreach program in East County. $6,000

After funding two cycles of Arts Equity Grants in 2016 and 2017, RACC has decided to integrate the Arts Equity Grant program in our larger Project Grant program. Learn more about Arts Equity & Access Project Grants on our Project Grant page.


Regional Arts & Culture Council elects new board members

PORTLAND, ORE – The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) board of directors has elected two new members. They include:

  • Leslie Heilbrunn is director of the Business Customer Group at Portland General Electric. Prior to joining PGE, Leslie was Governor John Kitzhaber’s speechwriter and she also spent more than a decade in the magazine industry.

  • Eduardo Puelma is the lead account and program manager at Infinity Images. His efforts have helped ensure the rapid growth in revenue, staffing and physical footprint of Infinity Images.

RACC board officers for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2017 include Mike Golub, board chair; Linda McGeady, vice chair; Eileen L. Day, treasurer; and Steve Rosenbaum, secretary and co-chair of the Equity Committee. Joining these officers on the Executive Committee are Osvaldo “Ozzie” Gonzalez, chair of RACC’s Grants Review Committee; Parker Lee, co-chair of RACC’s Business Committee for the Arts; Anita Menon, chair of RACC’s Leadership Development Committee; and Frances Portillo, co-chair of RACC’s Equity Committee.

Other continuing RACC Board members include Raymond C. Cheung, CPA, Eve Connell, Katherine Durham, Representative Lew Frederick, Debbie Glaze, Angela Hult, Brenda L. Meltebeke, Mitchell Nieman, Joanna Priestley, James Smith, Shyla M. Spicer and Anita Yap.

Board and staff profiles are available online at racc.org/about/staff-and-board.

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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.


Artist and filmmaker Elijah Hasan presents “12 Degrees Black” at the Portland Building Installation Space, July 10 – August 4

PORTLAND, ORE – The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to present an installation by artist Elijah Hasan in the exhibition space adjacent to the Portland Building lobby. Hasan’s installation, which runs from July 10 to August 4, combines a set of the artist’s stunning films with a suite of still images. The two mediums work together to poetically explore themes of race, place, and social consciousness.

Using Portland as his stage and backdrop Hasan’s work comments on universal themes, but is rooted deep in the African American experience in Portland and the Northwest. The three films on view at the Portland Building, all written and directed by the artist, are united by their ability to reframe and freshen critical conversations about social injustice, social consciousness, and who records history. The delicate, non-verbal sound tracks (written and performed by Hasan) that accompany the visuals complement content that is at turns challenging, comedic, dramatic and poignant.

“Every one of these pieces represent a degree of departure from the pervasive mindsets that perpetuate cycles of ignorance (darkness). Each of the works have a title as well as a unique symbolic category in which they exist. Whether a work expresses the sorrows of standing in the shadows of capitalism, or the exhaust of lugging around the weight of externally imposed artificial blackness, my challenge is the same. That is, how do I navigate through the flames of these hostile environments and retain my vitality and purity as a Human Being? A worthy question for which I present 12 symbolic realms of reflection.” – Elijah Hasan

About the Artist: Portland artist Elijah Hasan is an award winning filmmaker, photographer, writer and composer. While primarily known for his films and still photography, he describes what he does more universally—as “making art.” His films often employ experimental techniques that work to blend complex concept with powerful, graceful storytelling. Hasan is also an educator and has taught videography, 3-D animation, and photography to inner city youth for many years. His film Is That Me, which is included in 12 Degrees Black, was honored at the 36th Northwest Film Festival with both the Judges Choice Award and the Audience Choice Award for Best Experimental Film. www.elijahhasan.com

Meet the Artist: Join us for an opportunity to meet Elijah Hasan and discuss his work in person at the Portland Building Installation Space on Thursday, July 20, at 4:00 pm.

Viewing Hours & Location The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Ave. and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Friday. 12 Degrees Black opens Monday, July 10 and runs through Friday, August 4. For more information on the Installation Space series go to www.racc.org/installationspace.

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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.


Williams Avenue Honoring History Project Celebrated

On June 3, there was a community celebration for the Black Williams History Project public art installation. Many community members were on hand to share reminiscences of the neighborhood. Over the summer, take a tour of the project using this map.

Artist Cleo Davis (center) with Honoring History of Williams Ave. Committee members Gahlena Easterly (left) and Deborah Leopold-Hutchins (right)

Paul Knauls (center) photobombing artist Cleo Davis and Kent Ford.

For more information see:

https://racc.org/2017/05/26/williams-avenue-art-community-celebration/

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/641672


Now’s the time

ELOISE BLOG:

The time has come for me to bid goodbye to my wonderful RACC family and close an exciting 30 year chapter here. It has been quite a journey from our early days in the Portland Building with a staff of 6 or so to the complex, non-profit we have become with great digs on the North Park Blocks, a brilliant and talented staff managing new and thriving programs, a hard-working and inspiring Board, and an ever increasingly diverse and rapidly growing arts community.

Over the years I  have maintained fantastic friendships and professional relationships with people across so many elements of our community and I treasure them all. Thank you for what you have brought to me and to our work at RACC. We have made progress on many fronts by working together.

People ask me every day, “What’s next?” I have a list that includes not living by a schedule, yoga, walking, bike riding, travel with my husband, lots more time with my delightful year plus granddaughter and her adoring parents (in Eugene), relearning piano if that’s possible at my age, hanging out with friends, maybe some classes, and of course projects that pop up that I cannot resist. I am not moving away.

And I have no intention of turning my back on the arts community I love. That’s inconceivable to me. So it isn’t really “goodbye,” but more like “see you around town.” And to prove that I mean that, my new email is Eloise.damrosch@gmail.com. 503.307.3600.


At the Portland Building Installation Space: Elijah Hasan’s “12 Degrees Black”

RACC is pleased to present an installation by artist and award winning film maker Elijah Hasan at the Portland Building. Using Portland as his stage and backdrop Hasan’s work skillfully and poetically explores themes of race, place, and social consciousness. 12 Degrees Black, which runs from July 10 to August 4th, combines a set of the artist’s stunning films with a suite of related still images.

Hasan’s films, all written and directed by the artist, are united by his ability to reframe and freshen critical conversations about social justice, history, and social consciousness. The delicate, non-verbal sound tracks (written and performed by Hasan) that accompany the visuals complement content that is at turns comedic, dramatic, powerful and poignant. www.elijahhasan.com

The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. The Installation Space can be found on the first floor directly adjacent to the building lobby. For more information on the Installation Space series go to www.racc.org/installationspace.


First “Fresh Paint” mural finished

Fresh Paint is a pilot project of the Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Public Art Murals program in partnership with Open Signal: Portland Community Media.

From May 2017 – May 2018, three emerging artists will have the opportunity to paint a temporary mural that will be up for a period of four months on Open Signal’s west-wall facing the highly visible MLK Boulevard.

The first local artist to be featured is Molly Mendoza, an illustrator and graduate of the Pacific Northwest College of Art. As stated in her bio, Molly is “captivated by the relationships that she has built with friends, family, and foes alike over the course of her life. She sets out to emulate those relationships through her chaotic yet rhythmic style to make some dang-good drawings.”

To view a time lapse video of the mural’s installation, click here. The mural will be on display through September 2017.

 

Molly Mendoza painting mural. Photo courtesy of Open Signal.

 


Art Spark on July 21

Art Spark is back the evening of of July 21st, 6-9 p.m. Join us for another evening of education and celebration. This time we will be located at Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center (8371 N Interstate Ave​) for an indoor/outdoor event.

Enjoy the summer vibes and learn about community partners DUG (Deep Underground), Just Seeds, and more!

Connect with Portland Emerging Arts Leaders (PEAL) and network with Portland creatives.

As always, our Art Spark DJ, VNPRT will be providing the the music. “Like” Art Spark by RACC on Facebook to get new information on the event as it is announced.

Event is all ages and free.  We Look forward to seeing you there!

See details at http://bit.ly/2s3h1vZ


Local nonprofit arts and culture organizations generate $330 million in annual economic activity

A new study reveals that the nonprofit arts industry in the Portland tri-county region also supports 11,505 full-time jobs and returns more than $27 million in revenue to state and local coffers

PORTLAND, ORE – The nonprofit arts and culture sector in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties generated more than $330 million in annual economic activity in fiscal year 2015 according to Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, a comprehensive economic impact study released by Americans for the Arts, the Oregon Arts Commission and the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) with additional support from the Clackamas County Arts Alliance and the Westside Cultural Alliance.

“We all know that culture and the arts are essential to our neighborhoods, our schools and our way of life,” said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of RACC. “The arts are also a powerful generator of economic activity, and now we have impressive data to prove it. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations attract tourists, buoy local businesses and support jobs throughout the Portland metro region.”

The study reveals that 183 local nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $214.4 million during fiscal year 2015. This spending is far-reaching: organizations pay employees, purchase supplies, contract for services and acquire assets within the community.

In addition, these nonprofit arts and culture organizations leveraged $116 million in event-related spending by their audiences. As a result of attending a cultural event, attendees often eat dinner in local restaurants, pay for parking, buy gifts and souvenirs, and pay a babysitter. Attendees from out of town spend even more, including overnight stays in local hotels.

The combined spending by both arts organizations and their audiences results in a total economic impact of $330.4 million – a 30% increase since the last study was published in 2012. A summary of the report is attached, and the report is available online at www.racc.org/economicimpact.

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish was impressed with the results. “Portland is proud to be a creative city, one that honors and celebrates art and culture,” he said. “It’s in our DNA, and part of what makes Portland special. The economic impact of the arts, quantified in this report, helps to drive our local economy, creating good jobs and supporting a vibrant and growing city.”

Statewide, Oregon’s nonprofit arts and culture sector contributed $687 million and 22,299 jobs to Oregon’s economy in 2015. Nationally, the nonprofit arts industry produced $166.3 billion in economic activity, supporting 4.6 million full-time equivalent jobs and generating $27.5 billion in revenue to local, state and federal governments – a yield well beyond their $5 billion in collective government allocations for the arts.

“This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ local, regional, and statewide project partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. Financial information from organizations was collected in partnership with DataArts™, using a new online survey interface. For a full list of the communities who participated in Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org/AEP5Partners.


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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.