Nine Portland arts organizations receive additional support from RACC to advance equity work

Nine Portland arts organizations receive additional support from RACC to advance equity work

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) has awarded nine Equity Investment grants to arts organizations in Portland. These grants, totaling $239,550, are made possible through funding from the City of Portland’s Arts Education and Access Fund, or Arts Tax.

“Portland taxpayers voted in 2012 to expand arts education and access in Portland,” said RACC’s executive director, Madison Cario. “We appreciate this important funding source, which helps RACC help organizations that are working to make their programs more equitable and accessible.”

RACC Equity Investments grants, established in 2017, provide additional funding to RACC’s General Operating Support partners for initiatives that are expanding access for Portland residents. Organizations may apply for support to build internal capacity to address issues of equity, to engage new audiences, or develop new programming models.

“Collaboration and learning are key when it comes to equity work, and we are excited to be supporting organizations that are doing rich learning with their staff and board related to diversity, equity, inclusion and access work,” said Ozzie Gonzalez, vice chair of the RACC board and chair of RACC’s Grants Review Committee. “We are also eager to support organizations that are expanding their programming and collaborating with community partners to expand Portlanders’ access to the arts.”

Following a panel review process and approval by the board, RACC will invest in the following organizations and projects:

  • Artists Repertory Theatre, $25,000 to support a two-day equity workshop for staff, resident artists, and staff of resident companies.
  • Independent Publishing Resource Center, $31,050 over three years to support a paid residency program for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
  • Oregon Children’s Theatre, $10,000 to continue work with consultants to advance the organization’s work on diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
  • PHAME, $20,000 to support partnership programming with other arts organizations.
  • Portland Center Stage, $52,500 over three years to support PCS’s  commitment that at least half of the partners hired in community engagement programs will be people of color and/or culturally specific organizations.
  • Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, $9,000 to fund an equity assessment with consultants.
  • Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, $40,000 over two years to support SPACE program events in 2019–2021.
  • Portland Playhouse, $40,000 over two years for the creation of a staff position.
  • Portland Youth Philharmonic Association, $12,000 to fund an equity assessment with consultants.

These grants are consistent with RACC’s ongoing commitment to more equitable distribution of resources. Other changes announced by RACC over the last two years include a new structure for project grants with more frequent deadlines; a plan to increase the number of arts organizations that receive general operating support; a capacity building program for organizations that are led by and serving historically underrepresented communities; and a new progressive funding model designed to increase the amount of general operating support provided to small to midsize arts organizations.

RACC will offer a second cycle of Equity Investments in May.  Application materials will be distributed to GOS partners the first week of April and will be due by 5pm on Wednesday, May 8. Funding decisions approved in late June.