Portland arts organizations receive special, one-time funding investment due to the City’s collection of past-due arts tax dollars

PORTLAND, ORE — The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) has awarded a total of $2,464,000 to 52 arts organizations throughout the City of Portland thanks to the city’s efforts in collecting several years’ worth of past-due Art Education and Access Fund (AEAF) dollars, often referred to as the “arts tax.” This special one-time allocation of unanticipated arts tax revenue is in addition to the annual general operating support these organizations receive.

This spring, the city’s collection of back-taxes resulted in more than $3 million of unanticipated revenues. RACC’s Grants Review Committee and Executive Committee discussed appropriate allocations, applying an equity framework to city code that regulates how RACC distributes arts tax proceeds. The final amounts were approved by the RACC Board of Directors on June 27. In addition to providing $2,464,000 for General Operating Support organizations, RACC is also allocating:

  • $300,000 to RACC’s Project Grant program to fund proposals in the Arts Equity & Access category throughout Fiscal Year 2018-19
  • $275,000 to RACC’s Equity Investments program, which provides supplemental funds to General Operating Support organizations for equity programming and organizational development
  • $250,000 to RACC’s Capacity Building program for Culturally Specific Organizations
  • $100,000 to RACC’s arts education coordination work, including professional development opportunities for arts specialists and a new arts education inventory and mapping project

“We commend the city for collecting millions in overdue arts tax payments, and we are thrilled to be providing this one-time extra boost to a wide variety of arts organizations in our community,” says Jeff Hawthorne, RACC’s Interim Executive Director. “Portland’s vibrant nonprofit arts organizations rely on public and private support to inspire and engage us all, and the arts tax continues making their programs more accessible to everyone.”

Since it was first approved by voters in 2012, the Art Education and Access Fund has generated over $50 million to support arts education and accessible arts and culture programs throughout the city. While collection amounts still fluctuate, the general revenue raise has improved since 2012. An independent citizen oversight committee ensures funding expenditures, progress, and outcomes follow city code. After covering administrative costs and distributing net revenues to public schools to pay for certified art and music teachers, the City of Portland distributes remaining revenue to RACC for arts organization funding.

Allocation amounts

Artist Repertory Theatre              64,500
August Wilson Red Door Project              18,500
Blue Sky Gallery              14,000
Bodyvox              64,500
Cappella Romana, Inc.              18,500
The Circus Project              42,000
Chamber Music Northwest              64,500
Children’s Healing Art Project              18,500
CoHo Productions              18,500
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center              18,500
Echo Theater Company              33,000
Ethos Music Center              42,000
Friends of Chamber Music              33,000
Hand 2 Mouth              14,000
Hollywood Theatre              64,500
Imago Theatre              18,500
Independent Publishing Resource Center              14,000
Literary Arts, Inc.              64,500
Live Wire! Radio              33,000
Metropolitan Youth Symphony              33,000
Miracle Theatre Group              42,000
My Voice Music              18,500
Northwest Children’s Theatre              64,500
Northwest Dance Project              64,500
NW Documentary Arts & Media              14,000
Oregon Ballet Theatre            126,000
Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestra              33,000
Oregon Children’s Theatre              64,500
Oregon Symphony Association           200,000
PDX Jazz              42,000
Pendulum Aerial Arts              14,000
PHAME Academy              42,000
Playwrite, Inc.              14,000
Polaris Dance Theatre              18,500
Portland Art Museum/Northwest Film Center            200,000
The Portland Ballet              42,000
Portland Baroque Orchestra              42,000
Portland Center Stage            126,000
Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra              18,500
Portland Gay Men’s Chorus              33,000
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art              64,500
Portland Opera            126,000
Portland Piano International              33,000
Portland Playhouse              42,000
Portland Youth Philharmonic              42,000
Profile Theatre Project              33,000
Third Angle New Music Ensemble              14,000
Third Rail Repertory Theatre              33,000
Triangle Theatre              18,500
White Bird              64,500
Write Around Portland              18,500
Young Audiences of Oregon              64,500

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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, arts organizations, and artistic projects 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 works 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.


Jeff Hawthorne, Interim Executive Director: jhawthorne@racc.org | 503.823.5258