Arts Education

A Portland elementary school student digs into their watercolor.

RACC supports arts education by directly funding artists residencies in schools and is working on a comprehensive solution to provide integrated Arts Education learning for every student in the region.


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.


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.

We support 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 relationship with The Kennedy Center since 2010 brings several programs into the fold of Arts Education: Any Given Child and the Partnership for Education. We are one of nine sites across the United States selected in 2018 to participate in a 3-year program called artlook® with Chicago-based Ingenuity. The Kennedy Center’s artlook® program creates an arts-based interactive mapping data base platform that allows school districts to better understand the arts landscape in their communities with the intention of creating more equitable and accessible arts education opportunities for all students and help school districts and educators better navigate the “artscape” of their communities.



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


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


The Right Brain Initiative wins Game-Changing Project award from “Portland Monthly” magazine

PORTLAND, ORE —The Right Brain Initiative was honored on Tuesday night by the Portland Monthly magazine’s prestigious Light a Fire awards, an annual recognition for some of the best non-profits in the city. Right Brain received the Game-Changing Project award, which celebrates a unique collaboration that drives community transformation. Designed by a cross-section of Portlanders in […]

The Right Brain Initiative receives increased funding from the National Endowment for the Arts

PORTLAND, ORE —The Right Brain Initiative, the arts integration program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, has received its largest-ever grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA will award $30,000 to increase creative capacity for teachers and teaching artists. This is Right Brain’s fourth grant from the NEA. NEA Chairman […]

The Right Brain Initiative offers nationally recognized arts education training this summer

Imagine This! A Creativity Symposium for Educators Tuesday, June 16 – Thursday, June 18, 2015 Portland Art Museum  |  1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon 2015 Theme: How Place Inspires Thinking Designed for K-8 educators of all subjects and arts disciplines. See full schedule of sessions and register at: 3-day registration: $250 | Single-day option: […]

Arts education linked to student achievement in the Portland area

A new report ties The Right Brain Initiative to an increase in student test scores Portland, Ore – There is a meaningful and quantifiable link between integrated arts education and student learning, according to a report released today by The Right Brain Initiative in advance of National Arts in Education Week next week (September 14-20). […]

Marna Stalcup named Director of Arts Education

PORTLAND, ORE — The Regional Arts & Culture Council has promoted Marna Stalcup to Director of Arts Education, a new position that is funded in part by the City of Portland’s Arts Education & Access Fund. For the last seven years, Marna has served as the program manager for The Right Brain Initiative, RACC’s public-private partnership for […]

RACC announces arts education job opportunities

PORTLAND, ORE – The Right Brain Initiative, an arts integration program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) in partnership with Young Audiences of Oregon and Southwest Washington, is hiring staff and contractors. Current job openings include: Teaching Artists Arts Integration Coach Program Assistant Additional positions will become available throughout the summer, and complete descriptions […]

The Right Brain Initiative wins major funding from The Oregon Community Foundation

PORTLAND, ORE – The Right Brain Initiative has received a $210,000 grant from The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF). The Studio to School grants are a new arts education project made possible by the $150 million Fred W. Fields gift to OCF in 2012. The grants were awarded to just 18 non-profit programs across the state. […]

The Right Brain Initiative releases Brain Food, a creative activity deck for kids

A unique collaboration between non-profit and design industries raises funds for the arts in schools PORTLAND, ORE — The Right Brain Initiative has released Brain Food, an exploratory activity deck designed for use at home and school by children ages 4 and up. The fifty activities reflect the integrated and creative learning that Right Brain […]

The Right Brain Initiative receives third grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

$25,000 grant supports integrated arts programming in public schools Portland, Ore – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that The Right Brain Initiative, an arts education partnership of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, is one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide selected for an NEA Art Works grant. This […]

The Right Brain Initiative slated to serve 14,000 children this school year

In honor of National Arts in Education Week, The Right Brain Initiative has announced that six new public school partners are joining the program for the 2013-14 school year. Between September and June, the integrated arts program will bring music, dance, theatre, visual and media arts to 14,000 K-8 students in 49 schools and six […]

Student show celebrates national arts education partnership

Who: The Right Brain Initiative and King PK-8 SchoolWhat: Student art showWhere: Community Room at North Portland Library, 512 N KillingsworthWhen: Reception Tuesday, July 23, 5-7 p.m. Show on view through Aug. 31, 2013 Starting Tuesday, July 23, the North Portland Library will feature stunning black-and-white images of local 1st and 2nd graders and their […]

The Right Brain Initiative receives renewed support from the National Endowment for the Arts

The Right Brain Initiative, a Portland area arts education partnership, has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This program of the Regional Arts &Culture Council was selected from a pool of 1,547 eligible applications. The renewed support follows Right Brain’s first NEA award in 2011. The Right Brain […]

The Right Brain Initiative challenged to raise $25,000 from individuals

The Right Brain Initiative, an arts education program of the Regional Arts &Culture Council, has been awarded a significant matching challenge grant from the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund. This grant incentivizes program staff and stakeholders to raise $25,000 through individual gifts of $250 and higher by June 2013. Ready to meet this challenge, Right Brain […]

Rebecca Burrell elected to Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leaders Council

The Regional Arts & Culture Council today announced that Rebecca Burrell, outreach specialist for The Right Brain Initiative, has been elected to the Emerging Leaders Council of Americans for the Arts. AFTA is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. In addition to developing communications and coordinating community engagement programs for […]

The Right Brain Initiative grows by 45 percent

One new school district and 14 new schools have signed up for The Right Brain Initiative’s unique arts education services in 2012-13, marking the program’s largest growth since it first entered classrooms in 2009. This year the initiative will serve a total of 45 elementary schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. Corbett School District […]

The Right Brain Initiative provides tools to build creative classrooms in its third arts education seminar

3rd Annual Imagine This! A Seminar on Bringing Creativity to ClassroomsMonday, June 18 – Wednesday, June 20, 2012Portland Art Museum | 1219 SW Park Avenue, PortlandOpen to educators of all subjects and disciplines Register at www.imaginethis2012.eventbrite.comCost: $250; single-day option $100Advanced registration: April 17 – 30General registration: May 7 – June 13 This summer, The Right […]

Major private funders renew support for The Right Brain Initiative

The Collins Foundation and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation have renewed their support for The Right Brain Initiative with major two-year grants, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) announced today. Each foundation awarded the program a total of $100,000 to be used over the next two years. A unique community-wide partnership […]