Re: Cultural Framework

As a pivotal player in the regional arts and culture landscape across greater Portland for the past 28 years, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is proud to reaffirm our mission, impact, and resonance with the Our Creative Future regional framework released on Monday, March 25th. As a regionally formed  independent 501(c)(3) organization, RACC has consistently championed creative endeavors, fostering vibrant communities through arts and culture.

We eagerly anticipate our continued presence in action plans and the investment in our organization to further enhance our support of the regional arts and culture ecosystem.

RACC in the Region:

RACC serves as a vital conduit for the creative economy in the tri-county region by extending funding and services to artists and art organizations, orchestrating a comprehensive regional public art program, and nurturing enduring partnerships. Since its inception in 1995, RACC has operated under an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with five government partners, collectively ensuring robust support for arts and culture across the region. Our initiatives echo the voices of the community, nurturing inclusivity, artistic expression, cultural vitality, and community engagement.

Our work throughout the region, rooted in a values-driven approach and framed through a Racial Equity Lens, revolves around:

  • Raising awareness and visibility, with particular emphasis on uplifting underrepresented and underfunded arts, culture, and creative communities.
  • Increasing access to resources and investments, especially for individuals marginalized by conventional support systems.
  • Enhancing community access to arts, culture, and creative programming.
  • Engaging and supporting underrepresented communities by identifying and dismantling barriers to resources and services.
  • Intentionally investing in projects and individuals that have faced marginalization due to systemic and institutional racism.
  • Providing resources, training, and tools to empower creatives to earn a living wage and build wealth from their artistic endeavors.

Examples of our work:

  1. Public Art: NEA Our Town grant with cultural organizations including APANO, Division Midway Alliance and Slavic Community Center of NW
  2. Public Art murals training project in collaboration with City of Hillsboro
  3. In the last 5 years, RACC has distributed financial resources to over 1200 artists residing or headquartered in 93% of zip codes in our service area.
  4. Received and distributed $500,000 from the NEA, focused on fostering support and growth in Clackamas and Washington County; FY22-23 and FY23-24.
  5. Since 2017 RACC has remained deeply engaged in developing the capacity of organizations led by and serving underrepresented community members through the Arts Education and Access Fund-supported Capacity Building Program.
  6. We awarded $450,000 to 196 artists through the City of Portland’s Urgency/Stability Support for Artists grant program, a part of the American Rescue Plan.

Additional Contributions:

In addition to our ongoing efforts, RACC stands ready to explore further avenues of support, provided there is consideration for capacity. We are prepared to:

  • Expand outreach efforts to ensure equitable access to information about funding opportunities, workshops, and educational programs.
  • Advocate more vigorously for increased public funding for the arts and policies prioritizing equity and inclusion.
  • Strengthen partnerships with corporate sponsors, foundations, and individual donors to secure additional funding for programs and initiatives.
  • Explore innovative projects and partnerships to engage the public and promote arts and culture across sectors and communities.

Call to Action:

As we reflect on the Our Creative Future regional framework, it’s paramount for community stakeholders, thought partners, and supporters to unite in bolstering and supporting our region’s vibrant arts and culture scene. Despite facing challenges such as the City’s decision to discontinue its contract with RACC, we view this as an opportunity to reaffirm our dedication to the sector.

We urge individuals, organizations, and policymakers to actively engage with the Our Creative Future framework and participate in the current feedback sessions.

Published Framework and Executive Summary for the Regional Plan

As mentioned during the meeting the Public has until April 15th to comment.

Online access to the plan online until April 15th.

In-person town hall on Wednesday, April 3, 4:00-6:00 p.m., at the Native American Student and Community Center at Portland State University. (RSVP, note that space is limited)

A virtual town hall on Tuesday, April 9, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (RSVP)

Let’s advocate collectively for increased funding, resources, and support for artists, creatives, and cultural organizations. Together, let’s prioritize equity, inclusion, and accessibility, ensuring that arts and culture remain central to our region’s identity and vitality.

Now is the time to harness our collective voices and actions to shape a future where creativity thrives, diversity is celebrated, and everyone has access to enriching arts experiences.