In a recent “Eye on Northwest Politics” segment on KOIN 6, Carol Tatch, Executive Director of the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), addressed Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan’s decision to terminate the city’s contract with RACC. Carol spoke with Ken Boddie about how this action raises critical concerns about the future of arts and cultural development in Portland at an especially pivotal moment.
RACC is a community-based organization that stands for the values and desires of the community. The organization was formed 28 years ago with a mission to foster artistic expression in the Portland metro area, and this mission is reflected in everything we do. Since then, RACC has been at the forefront of arts and culture, leading the region in understanding what our artists and creatives need.
The decision to terminate the contract is particularly concerning for several reasons. First, it removes arts funding decisions from the hands of the community and places them within government agencies. RACC was established to ensure that arts funding is decided by the community.
Second, RACC is more efficient and faster in its operations than what can be replicated at the government level. RACC uses community reviewers who are familiar with the arts and have specialized knowledge. This ensures that funding decisions are equitable and reflect the voices of the community. We also offer professional development opportunities and engage with the community at levels that cannot be replicated at the City level. RACC is a nonprofit, non-partisan group that has been responsive to the community’s needs.
Furthermore, it is essential to understand that RACC is not a government agency. We work with our communities to ensure that there is a diverse and equitable lens in our approach to arts and culture. We have garnered community trust over time and have become a leading voice in the arts and culture ecosystem in the Portland metro area.
As we move forward, we remain focused on the larger community and are exploring how best to continue in our role. What’s more important is the loss of community input and the community’s voice in making decisions about which artists and arts organizations have their voices lifted or diminished. We were created by the people for the people, and today’s RACC is the culmination of long-time community regional needs.
We are excited to be part of the solution for the City of Portland and all our partners. Portland is at a pivotal point in its economic recovery, and we look forward to being part of the solution. We are the fabric of the Portland Metro region that threads together art and cultural communities, and we are ready to face the challenges ahead with the expertise, heart, and vision that RACC has sustained for over a quarter-century.
Thank you for your continued support. We encourage you to watch the full segment to learn more about our efforts to support the arts community, our plans for the future, and the significance of a centralized organization serving artists, creatives, and the broader creative economy. Despite the upcoming changes, we remain diligently committed to our mission.