Arts Education

A Portland elementary school student digs into their watercolor.

OUR VISION

A community that ensures a rich education in and through the arts for every K-12 student.

We commit to an arts-literate culture in every school with rich, diverse arts learning experiences for every child, every day, in every community. We value opportunities for all children to create, to communicate, to think critically, to collaborate, and to learn to think in new ways. In our vision, arts education starts early and lasts a lifetime.

WHAT WE DO

The region benefits from a strong creative economy and STEAM education strategies. The Regional Arts & Culture Council works to achieve our vision through several equity-based arts education efforts:

We support teachers in arts education: music, visual arts, drama and dance hired with the Arts Education & Access Fund (Arts Tax) to serve K-5 schools in the City of Portland (see map below). Today, every K-5 school in Portland has at least one Arts Education teacher—currently more than 95  certified arts specialists, compared to 31 in 2012 before the fund was approved by voters.

RACC supports schools by connecting them to cultural resources in Portland and offering professional development workshops for the Art Education teachers hired with Arts Education & Access Funds. RACC also advocates with school districts to help ensure equitable, sustained, and progressive arts education for students in middle and high school. Read more about the Arts Education and Access Fund here.

RACC’s on-going relationship with The Kennedy Center since 2010 brings several programs into the fold of Arts Education: Any Given Child and the Partnership for Education. One of nine sites across the United States to participate in a 3-year program called ART look with Chicago based Ingenuity, RACC is creating an arts-based interactive mapping data base platform that allows school districts to fully understand the arts landscape in their communities with the intention of creating more equitable and accessible arts education opportunities for all students. The program also brings together arts organizations and public schools, assembled in the same space to better navigate the “artscape” of their communities.

RACC continues its partnership with the Right Brain Initiative, now led by our partners at Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington. The Right Brain Initiative is a public-private partnership that exists to transform learning through creativity in all K-8 classrooms in the region. Founded in 2008, Right Brain was designed by the community in response to the needs of our students and schools. It focuses on training classroom teachers to integrate the arts with other subjects (“arts integration”) through intensive workshops, residencies with professional teaching artists, and on-site coaching. With increased arts integration, schools learn to independently make creativity the foundation for all learning in the classroom. Right Brain has grown to serve nearly 30,000 students and their teachers in 70 schools across eight school districts in three counties in the Portland region. The map below shows the reach of the Right Brain Initiative in the 2018-19 school year. Read more about The Right Brain Initiative here.

WHO WE SERVE

Check out the map below to see which schools are currently being served by RACC Arts Education.

Map Icon Key

school building icon schools served by The Right Brain Initiative (Right Brain)
running students icon schools served by Arts Education & Access Fund (AEAF or Art Tax)
graduation cap icon schools served by both Right Brain and AEAF

Map Color Key

light blue Centennial School District
light purple Corbett School District
dark green David Douglas School District
orange Gresham-Barlow School District
teal Hillsboro School District
light green North Clackamas School District
yellow Oregon Department of Education sponsored
brown Oregon Trail School District
maroon Parkrose School District
salmon Portland Public Schools
dark blue Reynolds School District
dark purple Riverdale School District

PORTLAND ARTS TAX TEACHERS & STUDENTS IN ACTION

Watch the video below to get a sneak peek of a Centennial School District kindergarten music class.

News

Chanda Evans, our new Arts Education and Access Fund Specialist

A note from Chanda Evans the new Arts Education and Access Fund Specialist (AEAF) at RACC. What is the role of the Arts Education and Access Fund Specialist at RACC? A large part of my role at RACC is to support and advocate for our arts education teachers. RACC teachers are in six school districts […]

Worrying is Just Another Form of Storytelling

Metal tin open, face up, with contents inside of it. On the left there's a photo of two youth smiling at the camera. On the right there are miscellaneous items including a red ball, small box, and paper.

How Kathleen Lane is working with youth to understand anxiety as a universal human experience by Lokyee Au, Communications Manager It’s estimated that we create anywhere between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day. These tens of thousands of thoughts running through our head every day have the ability to reinforce, dictate, or alter our actions, […]

The Right Brain Initiative awarded $45,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts

PORTLAND, ORE — National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants in its second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $45,000 to The Right Brain Initiative, the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s (RACC) arts integration program. […]

Help kids discover their creative voice

The Right Brain Initiative is one month into the 2017 Willamette Week Give!Guide, Portland’s innovative online fundraising campaign. Give!Guide showcases 149 local non-profits of various sizes whose missions fall into eight categories: Animals, Civil & Human Rights, Community, Creative Expression (you can find Right Brain here), Education, Environment, Health and Human Services. Give!Guide In thirteen […]

Celebrating fashion and arts education at SHIFT: An experiment in fashion design

A unique new event showcases garments created from uncommon materials to help raise money for The Right Brain Initiative PORTLAND, ORE — On September 21, 2017, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and Arlene Schnitzer present SHIFT: An experiment in fashion design at 6:00 p.m. at the Leftbank Annex. This first annual runway show […]

Arts Education: Join the Movement

by Maya McFaddin, RACC Arts Education Community Engagement Associate It seems that each day we are facing new and more difficult challenges than the day before. At times, it is tough to maintain our hope and strength, let alone any sense of normalcy in our families, jobs, and daily routines amidst the overwhelming political and […]

Empathy and Creative Expression: Why the Arts are Critical

By Deb Vaughn, Education Coordinator, Oregon Arts Commission In a 2016 article in The Denver Post, Kurt MacDonald compares the desire to produce competitive 21st century workers to the intent of dog breeders working to produce ideal canines. “Both sought to achieve their ends by refining and concentrating valuable attributes into purebreds (dogs) and national […]

National Endowment for the Arts awards $30,000 for The Right Brain Initiative

PORTLAND, ORE — National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $30,000 to The Right Brain Initiative, the arts integration […]

Portland, Oregon: An Arts & Science City of Distinction

Phi Beta Kappa has named Portland a City of Distinction, recognizing the exceptional artistic vitality, cultural vibrancy and scientific engagement of our community. “To have a city be recognized not for any political reason, but for the depth of its cultural life, is a very significant thing,” said Frederick M. Lawrence, CEO of Phi Beta […]

Invest in imagination through the Give!Guide until December 31

Each winter, Willamette Week produces Give!Guide, an online campaign that encourages and facilitates year-end giving for nearly 150 local nonprofit causes. Over the last 10 years, Give!Guide has raised nearly $10 million for hundreds of nonprofits in the Portland metro area. RACC is thrilled to be teaming up with the Oregon Cultural Trust to co-sponsor […]

RACC celebrates National Arts in Education Week

PORTLAND, ORE —The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) joins colleagues across the country to celebrate National Arts in Education Week, September 11-17, 2016. Throughout the week, RACC and The Right Brain Initiative will share stories on social media about how arts education has impacted our community, including perspectives from staff, as well as the […]

National Arts In Education Week is September 11-17

Issued by Americans for the Arts on September 6, 2016. As a reminder, please join us in celebrating National Arts In Education Week from September 11-17, 2016. Take two minutes to issue a Letter to the Editor to your local papers and tell them why the arts matter in education! Designated by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 names the […]

The Right Brain Initiative: another year of investing in imagination

This time of year the sun is setting before 8:00 p.m., a new season of your favorite television series premieres, and wide-ruled notebooks are selling for 70 cents each. It is September and a new school year is officially upon us. At the Regional Arts & Culture Council, The Right Brain Initiative is back in […]

Right Brain Teaching Artist Info Sessions

The Right Brain Initiative and Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington have teamed up to provide one application process for artists who work with schools. Complete the Intent to Apply Form to be eligible to submit a full application to either or both organizations. The Intent to Apply Form is open until July 15, 2016. Application is open until July […]

The Right Brain Initiative receives funding from National Endowment for the Arts to catalyze change in public schools

The Right Brain Initiative has received a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to deliver systemic and equitable arts programming to local K-8 schools. Right Brain, a program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, works in partnership with local school districts to transform learning through robust arts programming that integrates with […]

Every Portland elementary school now has an arts teacher, thanks to the arts tax

Find stories about the impact of the tax online in April at #pdxlovesart PORTLAND, ORE —In November 2012, 63% of Portland voters overwhelmingly passed Ballot Measure 26-146 to create the Arts Education & Access Fund, now known as the “arts tax.” The tax directly funds 72 K-5, music, dance and visual art teachers in the […]

3/12 RACC Workshop | Fundamentals of being a Teaching Artist

Have you heard the term teaching artist and wondered what that meant and what qualifies someone to take on that role? This workshop will cover the fundamentals of this position in the world of education. Participants will engage in the creative process, much like students in an assortment of learning environments. Walk away with an […]

Huge Victories for Arts Education

Eloise’s Blog: I love it that we can collectively celebrate the close of 2015 with two milestones in arts education for the USA. Our Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici was key to the first big win in early November with the unanimous passage of her amendment to integrate the arts into “STEM” education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) […]

The Right Brain Initiative and Work for Art release reports

PORTLAND, ORE — Two programs of the Regional Arts & Culture Council – The Right Brain Initiative and Work for Art – have published summaries of their accomplishments and finances for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015.  The Right Brain Initiative’s 2015 Progress Report illustrates RACC’s unique approach to supporting K-8 educators in the […]

Willamette Week awards Skidmore Prize to Right Brain staffer

PORTLAND, ORE —The Right Brain Initiative’s Outreach Specialist Rebecca Burrell has received a Skidmore Prize, an award delivered annually by the Willamette Week to four outstanding non-profit leaders under the age of 36. This award is presented in conjunction with Willamette Week’s Give!Guide, a year-end fundraising campaign for Portland area organizations, which launched today and […]