RACC invests in ten nonprofit organizations to expand arts access in Portland

PORTLAND, ORE – The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) has awarded $25,695 in special grants to ten Portland-based nonprofit organizations, using funding from the city’s voter-approved Arts Education and Access Fund (AEAF). The grants are designed to expand Portland residents’ access by investing in organizations that are serving underserved artists, communities of color, immigrants, refugees, Disabled and LGTBQ communities.
“Arts and culture are for everyone, but some people in our community haven’t had equal access in the past because of cultural barriers, financial constraints, geographic considerations, and a number of other reasons,” said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of RACC. “We at RACC have been working to dismantle these barriers with programs like Arts for All; translating our materials into other languages; building new relationships with culturally specific communities; and meeting regularly with residents and organizations in East Portland. Now, with help from the Arts Education and Access Fund, we are honored to support the collective efforts of ten organizations who are specifically working to help more Portlanders participate in the arts.”
The Arts Education and Access Fund generated enough revenue in 2013 for RACC to provide $150,072 in general operating support for 44 Portland-based arts organizations (see our 1/29/14 press release) plus these grants as described in the AEAF tax code: for “nonprofit organizations that are making arts and culture experiences available to more Portland residents, with particular emphasis on programs directed to communities who are underserved by local arts providers.”
RACC issued a Request for Proposals in February of 2014. Twenty-three eligible proposals were received, with requests totaling $116,598. A special panel reviewed and ranked all proposals – its members were Alan Alexander, local musician and RACC board member; Jedidiah Chavez, Ethos Music Center; Kathy Coleman, Disability Art and Culture Project; Eloise Damrosch, RACC executive director; Eric Hormel, Perkins & Company shareholder and RACC board member; Jennifer Kalez, Office of Commissioner Nick Fish; and Cynthia Knapp, RACC director of operations.  
Ultimately the panel recommended three proposals for full funding and seven proposals for partial funding. The RACC board of directors approved the panel’s recommendations on May 28, 2014.
The funded proposals are:
  • Cascade AIDS Project (CAP), $2,000 to present Concientízate, a day long festival in Portland to raise awareness of HIV prevention while celebrating Latino art, music and culture.
  • Center for Intercultural Organizing, $3,000 to host a workshop series and performance developed by CIO’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) group, Resilient Communities.
  • Fusionarte, $1,495 to present FUSE ME/collect-relate-integrate, a multi-disciplinary one day showcase featuring Latina artists celebrating individuality, the idea of freedom and their becoming identities; challenging clichés and cultural conventions.
  • Know Your City, $3,500 to host De-Gentrifying Portland, an 8-session video production workshop held at Portland Community Media; 10 young people from communities of color will learn production skills and work in pairs to create 5 final videos.
  • Latino Network, $2,750 to present a series of summer workshops for gang-affected youth, the highest risk youth in the Latino community and their siblings, Summer Academia; culminating in an end of summer event for the youth and their parents. 
  • Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), $3,800 to present a community event that highlights and promotes the arts and culture of the Native American community at the 2014 Neerchokikoo Honoring Powwow.
  • PassinArt: A Theatre Company/Juneteenth Oregon, $2,000 to present the 2014 Portland Juneteenth celebration—a celebration commemorating the true ending of slavery in America; June 19, 1865—designed for the entire family.
  • ROSE Community Development, $2,350 to engage diverse cultural communities through an interactive place-based project called Lents Grown-Our Stories (LG-OS) by utilizing photography, video, and storytelling to strengthen neighborhood connections and celebrate the vibrant culture of outer southeast Portland.
  • Visegrad Group PDX, $1,000 to host the first International Children’s Day in Portland to honor and celebrate the diverse cultures that exist, co-exist, and thrive in Portland and surrounding areas “through the children’s eyes” with the goal of celebrating children from around the World, all ethnic, cultural, religious and language backgrounds and from any heritage who live in Portland.
  • Zenger Farm/Lents International Farmers Market, $3,800 to present free weekly live music performances, occasional dance performances, and three bilingual poetry readings during the Lents International Farmers Market’s (LIFM) 2014 season.
For more information about the Arts Education and Access Fund visit www.racc.org/aeaf. To learn more about RACC’s equity initiatives visit www.racc.org/equity. Information on the events listed above will be made available at www.racc.org/calendar as they are scheduled.