Clearly spring is here and with its glorious arrival come our annual rounds of budget advocacy. Over the past five months a highly convincing group of arts leaders and advocates from the private sector, ably led by Chris Coleman, has visited with Mayor Hales, Commissioners Fish, Novick, Fritz and Saltzman as well as the two leading contenders for our new Mayor, Jules Bailey and Ted Wheeler. These meetings focused on the vital role the arts play here and the need to fill the gap in the Arts Tax funding so that all the benefits voters supported actually come to fruition.
This same group also met with Multnomah County Chair, Deborah Kafoury, and soon RACC will be checking in with our other friends at the County during their budget process. We were thrilled last year when the Chair included in her budget (with urging from Commissioners Shiprack and Bailey)an increase to RACC to support the Right Brain Initiative and arts services to underrepresented communities.
In Washington County interest is high to coordinate arts services better going forward, to clarify funding processes and sources, and to increase the County Commissioners’ investments in arts and culture, through RACC and several key arts organizations in the county.
The main thrust in Clackamas County is to restore a $20k cut from several years ago in order to strengthen arts education and specifically the Right Brain Initiative, a favorite program of this Board of Commissioners.
And last but not least we are meeting with Metro Councilors to hopefully invigorate our relationship and mutual interest in the region whose footprint we share.
This is time consuming work, but rewarding to have meaningful discussions with the talented people who are serving in elected office.
What can you do to help? Please mark your calendars and join us for our annual State of the Arts presentation to Portland City Council! Thursday, April 21 @ 2:00 pm. We promise a lively event if you will help us pack City Council Chambers once again! Thank you.