RACC Blog

Senate Restores NEA Arts Funding for FY’18

Issued by Americans for the Arts on November 20,2017.

Thanks to you and thousands of Arts Action Fund members, we advanced another big victory today in the United States Senate to #SAVEtheNEA. Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who received our Congressional Arts Leadership Award this year, soundly rejected President Trump’s attempt to terminate the nation’s cultural agencies by fully restoring FY 2018 arts funding to $150 million for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Congress extended its deadline to December 8th to pass legislation to fund government agencies and programs, including the NEA.  At that time, they will need to either pass or further extend that deadline again in order to keep the government running. Other key factors still in play this fall include possible veto threats from the President, focus on tax reform, recovery funding, money to “build a wall,” and not reaching agreement on increasing the looming debt ceiling caps.

We’re close to the finishing line.  Help keep the pressure on Congress. Watch the above one million-plus viewed video featuring members of our Artist Committee speak out and then please come visit our online Action Center to send a message to Congress. See the Arts Action Fund blog for a detailed chart of the Senate-proposed budgets of the various federal arts agencies.


“Portlandia” display goes up at The Standard Plaza Building

The $195 million, three year long renovation of the Portland Building has begun! Many already know that the City of Portland’s main administrative building is considered one of the first examples of Postmodern architecture, and that its western façade is the home of Raymond Kaskey’s iconic Portlandia, it is less well known however, that hundreds of additional public art works are normally housed within the building. This summer and fall RACC Public Art Collections staff prepared for the renovation by clearing the walls on all 15 floors of the Portland Building. Most of the contents of the 2nd floor Public Art Gallery also went into storage, but a few of the largest and most popular Portlandia related items will continue to be on display right across the street in The Standard’s Insurance Company’s Plaza Building.

This summer RACC reached out to The Standard to see if they would be interested in exhibiting Portlandia related artwork on the 2nd floor lobby of their Plaza Building at 1100 SW 5th Avenue. The L-2 lobby, with its towering floor-to-ceiling windows, looks directly across the street at Portlandia and the Portland Building. The response from The Standard was enthusiastic. Their team created space in the lobby, constructed additional display furnishings, and assisted RACC staff with the reinstallation of Kaskey’s original form and mold for Portlandia’s face. A tall pedestal and prominent location was also made for the 1/10th scale model created to guide the fabrication of the full sized sculpture.

What happens to the full-scale Portlandia during the renovation? The 35 foot tall symbol of our city will be completely covered for 15 months while work on the Portland Building façade takes place. During that time a “Portlandia fix” can be had at The Plaza Building where Kaskey’s delicately crafted scale model will serve as a stand-in. For a limited time, until the day Portlandia gets covered by her protective screening (sometime in late January) the public will have a unique opportunity to view both the large and small versions of the statue from the same spot on SW 5th Avenue.

Our sincere thanks go out to The Standard for their ongoing support of the arts and for making this display possible while the Portland Building is renovated!  www.standard.com.


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 years, G!G has raised over $20 million for hundreds of local nonprofits. Last year, Give!Guide donors gave nearly $4.25 million to 141 Portland organizations and the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Last year, 270 incredible Right Brain donors helped us raise $19,121, equipping us with the funds to support four schools and 1,500 students with arts education programming. This year, we are on a mission to empower over 29,000 students and 1,700 educators to discover their creative voices. We’re encouraging our stakeholders to express their own voice by supporting young creative thinkers. We need our entire community to work arm-in-arm with us to create lasting change within our schools so that every kid has the chance to discover their inner artist!

Between now and December 31st you can discover your voice at:
www.GiveGuide.org/#RightBrainInitiative

View the Right Brain Give!Guide  testimonial video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yDtkqouC5g&feature=youtu.be

Need more reasons to give? No problem. You get all sorts of sweet incentives when you give through the Give!Guide. There are incentives to donors no matter how big or small your gift (hint: every gift, of any size, makes a BIG difference for Right Brain)! Give!Guide incentives come in three forms:

  1. Donors who give between $10-999 receive a code to access their incentives in the Chinook Book mobile app, including items like:
  1. Donors who give $1,000 or above will receive bags filled with incentives delivered to their home.
  2. Willamette Week Give!Guide originally began in an effort to encourage young people to engage in philanthropy. They have a mission of getting the 3,500 Portlanders under the age of 35 to give back to their community by making it really easy to give (149 nonprofits all on one online platform with an easy interface). There’s also a competition among the nonprofits within each category of the Give!Guide to have the most “young donors” by the end of the campaign, earning that organization an extra bonus of $2,000.
  3. There are also numerous Big Give Days (and in which every donation you make enters you into a raffle to win all sorts of great prizes:
    • December 4: (for anyone 35 years old and under) Sony Alpha a6300 camera and a 16-50mm zoom lens from Pro Photo Supply
    • December 7: Trek FX bike from Bike Gallery
    • December 14: Two tickets to the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets, two tickets to the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Philadelphia 76ers games, and a jersey signed by Evan Turner
    • December 21: a 60-person Salt & Straw ice cream and ping pong party at Pips & Bounce
    • December 28: the Oregon Cultural Trust challenges donors to “Give Big and Get Out” across this amazing state of ours by offering a vacation package

So, now’s the time to discover your voice and support young critical thinkers by donating to Right Brain before December 31st at:


Four additional arts organizations to receive General Operating Support from RACC

PORTLAND, ORE — The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) has approved the addition of four nonprofit organizations to its roster of “General Operating Support” organizations that receive annual unrestricted funding from RACC in support of their mission. The four new “GOS” organizations are:

  • August Wilson Red Door Project, $12,000
  • CoHo Productions, $12,800
  • Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestras, $14,600
  • Polaris Dance Theater, $12,300

These organizations bring to 55 the number of arts organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties that receive annual, unrestricted operating support from RACC. GOS grants range in size from $8,000 to $427,000 per year depending on the size of the organization. A list of other GOS organizations and their historical funding amounts is available online at http://bit.ly/2y79puH.

“Last year we indicated our intention to distribute RACC resources more equitably, and to provide more groups with general operating support regardless of public and private funding increases,” said Jeff Hawthorne, RACC’s interim executive director. “Thanks to modest improvements in arts tax collections last year, and several internal budgeting adjustments, we are able to add these groups without reducing grants to other GOS organizations. We are also investing in a new capacity-building initiative for culturally specific arts organizations, and providing additional funds to groups that are doing deep equity and inclusion work within their organizations.”

Eleven organizations applied to be included in GOS this year. A panel of RACC board members, Angela Hult, Anita Menon, James Smith and Katherine Durham, ranked all organizations on established criteria that include financial health, artistic innovation and audience engagement. Among the four organizations recommended for funding, the panel noted a strong commitment to engaging with underserved communities, and plans to strengthen their ongoing equity work. The panel’s recommendations were approved by the RACC board on October 25.

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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.


RACC launches national search for new Executive Director

PORTLAND, ORE — The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) Board of Directors, together with its executive search firm Koya Leadership Partners,has released the job description for a new Executive Director. Applications are being accepted now, with a goal of having the new Executive Director in place next spring.

The position profile is available online at https://koyapartners.com/search/racc-executive-director-21/.

All inquiries about the position and search for candidates should be directed to Koya Leadership Partners, a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm. The search committee selected Koya Leadership Partners because of their track record placing leaders in mission-driven organizations; their experience conducting searches for public arts agencies; and alignment with RACC on equity, diversity and inclusion.

“The RACC search committee and Koya Leadership Partners took an inclusive approach to designing the job description and the search process,” said Steve Rosenbaum, RACC’s board secretary and chair of the search committee. “We are confident that the search process will yield a new leader for RACC who is strategic and visionary, equity-focused and capable of building consensus.”

In June, RACC’s long-time Executive Director Eloise Damrosch retired, and the board spent the summer conducting a series of community conversations and surveys to reimagine and redefine the role of Executive Director going forward. RACC’s Director of Community Engagement, Jeff Hawthorne, has been serving as executive director in the interim. For more details on RACC’s executive director search process, including a timeline and summaries of community input, visit www.racc.org/executive-director-search-update.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit www.racc.org.


Mauricio Robalino’s “Bird” sculpture was dedicated at Luuwitt View Park on 10/21

Mauricio Robalino’s “Bird” sculpture was dedicated on Saturday, October 21st  as part of the Grand Opening of Luuwit View Park.  The Grand Opening was put on by Portland Parks & Recreation and ran from 11 am to 2 pm.  Attendance was high despite the rain. Events were officiated by Commissioner Amanda Fritz and began with a blessing by Native American Ed Edmo, a Shoshone-Bannock poet, story teller and educator. The artist, Mauricio Robalino, was introduced to the crowd by Parks Director Mike Abbaté and was enthusiastically cheered.

Mauricio’s abstracted “Bird” sculpture, which features glass mosaics sides, stands 16 feet high on a promontory on the western side of the park. Luuwit is the Native (Upper Cowlitz) word for Mount Saint Helens.

The park is located directly north of NE 127th Avenue and NE Fremont Street next to Shaver Elementary School.

For more information on Mauricio Robalino visit www.artpeople.com,  and for more information on Luuwit View Park https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/65392.


Fresh Paint sponsored by RACC & Open Signal

Fresh Paint, a temporary mural wall project, began in early 2017 as part of a new professional development initiative of RACC’s Public Art Murals programming. Three artists have been selected to paint a temporary mural on an area of the exterior west-wall of Open Signal facing the highly-visible Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Each mural will be up for a period of four months and then painted over in preparation for the next mural.

The pilot program for Fresh Paint is a partnership between RACC’s Public Art Murals program and Open Signal, a community-driven media arts center. Artist participation required living in the Portland metropolitan area, having a consistent studio or mural practice, and not having received any public art commission through RACC nor having created an exterior mural in the City of Portland. The selected artists will receive a stipend for their participation and are offered the opportunity to engage with the myriad of resources at Open Signal.

Alex Chiu is the artist currently on display. His mural is a nod to stop motion animation, one of the many media classes offered by Open Signal. In addition, he will be teaching a youth animation class this fall.

 

Illustrator Molly Mendoza was the first artist to participate. On display from May – September, her mural was a nod to Open Signal’s youth programs with a vibrant image of Portland youth engaging with the community through broadcasting and video media. The third artist will be featured in early 2018.


Portland’s arts tax is a good deal

by Jeff Hawthorne, the interim executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council.
Published in The Oregonian on October 8, 2017. 

The arts tax is supported by Portland taxpayers because it benefits Portland’s public school students, yields economic dividends and makes our community better. The Oregonian/OregonLive’s recent editorial, “Portland’s arts tax should go back to the ballot,” lacked important context.

Ninety-three percent of Americans believe arts education is critical to a well-rounded education. But when school budgets are squeezed, arts education invariably finds itself on the chopping block. That is why 62 percent of Portlanders voted to tax themselves to ensure that public grade schools in the city have at least one art or music teacher. Mission accomplished.

So then why does The Oregonian brazenly assert that the arts tax “specifies arts for only certain students?” In fact, every K-5 public school student in Portland benefits. Before the arts tax, there were 31 arts specialists. Today there are 92, that’s one teacher for every 381 students, and a vast improvement from the 1:997 ratio that existed before the arts tax. We agree that state government and local school boards should fully fund arts education for every student, but until that happens, the arts tax is the only thing keeping many art and music teachers on staff, plain and simple.

Furthermore, the arts tax provides critical resources through the Regional Arts & Culture Council for Portland’s nonprofit arts and culture sector. Prior to 2012, Portland’s general fund invested about $6 per capita in the council for the nonprofit arts sector. Today, with additional revenue from the arts tax, Portland’s investment is $9.38 per capita. That’s still below the national average and trailing other cities that compete for creative talent, including $12 per capita in Austin, Texas, and almost $14 per capita in Seattle. Portland is still playing catch-up.

Cities across the country understand that investments in artists and arts organizations produce better results in education, a higher quality of life for residents and a more creative workforce. These investments are fully consistent with Portland’s goals to ensure a healthy, prosperous and equitable community.

The organizations funded by the Regional Arts & Culture Council provide an array of programs that bring diverse communities together and enhance the educational experience for tens of thousands of schoolchildren every year. Artists and arts organizations provide services for people experiencing homelessness, bring disenfranchised communities and police together to discuss public safety issues, expand opportunities for people with disabilities and provide $5 tickets for low-income Oregonians through the Arts for All program. Public funding makes all of this possible.

Public investments in the arts yield economic dividends as well. In addition to the tax, the city and Multnomah County last year invested a combined $8 million in the council that was distributed in grants and services. Those investments resulted in more than $294 million of economic activity, supporting 10,146 full time jobs with taxable income that returned $12.5 million back into local government coffers, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study we recently published with Americans for the Arts. That’s a 156 percent return on investment, supporting other vital city and county services.

Portlanders are getting a great deal through the arts tax. If spending an additional $200,000 from the city’s general fund helps the city collect another $1 million to $2 million, which can be invested in arts education and access initiatives that benefit all Portlanders, I’d say that’s a good deal, too.


SHIFT: An experiment in fashion design was an evening for the books!

It was more than a runway show. It was a community celebration. It was the start of a new tradition.

On Thursday, September 21, 2017 SHIFT: An experiment in fashion design brought together some of the region’s most innovative design thinkers to celebrate equitable education and sustainable fashion and benefit our arts integration program The Right Brain Initiative.

Nineteen novice and experienced designers alike debuted garments made from recycled materials and found objects in effort to win three cash prizes and the People’s Choice Award. The energy of the runway show extended into our silent auction and paddle raise, contributing to a final net income of nearly $25,000 raised for The Right Brain Initiative.

Read a full recap of the event and see more photos on the Right Brain blog: https://therightbraininitiative.org/shift2017recap/.


RACC awards Literature Fellowships to Samiya Bashir and Rene Denfeld

PORTLAND, ORE — The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to announce its 2017 Fellows in Literature – Portland writers Samiya Bashir and Rene Denfeld. RACC’s fellowship program honors local artists of high merit. Recipients receive a cash award of $20,000 to sustain or enhance their creative process.

Samiya Bashir is a collaborative artist who brings her poetry off the written page in multi-disciplinary projects that involve video art, sculpture, installation, and performance. She has presented her work nationally and internationally and has received many awards including the 2011 Aquarius Press Legacy Award recognizing women writers of color who actively provide creative opportunities for other writers. The RACC Fellowship panel recognized the generosity in her work; both in how her writing speaks to her specific experience as a queer, first-generation Somali-American poet/maker, yet is accessible to wide audiences, and in how her readings and performances open the space to welcome others artists. Her book Field Theories was published this year by Nightboat Books. Samiya has two projects she is currently working on, a multi-media poetry field guide on the creation of the East African diaspora and an unconventional memoir that will lace episodes of her own history with historical moments from 19th century New York City Draft Riots and the 21st century run up to the Gulf War. Find out more at www.samiyabashir.com.

Rene Denfeld is a novelist whose social justice work is at the heart of all her writing. She has written nonfiction books, essays, and her second novel The Child Finder was released this September by Harper. She grew up in North Portland, where she makes her home today with her three children. Her work tells the stories of the marginalized and dispossessed, examining issues critical to our times, including poverty and child abuse, while bringing hope to the most challenging situations. The Fellowship panel recognized that Rene is a phenomenal writer that produces visceral, gorgeous work with a flow and fluency which easily takes you to the worlds she is describing. Rene would use the Fellowship funds to support more time writing and finishing her third novel, which will go deeper into the criminal justice system and how our society fails to protect children. Find out more at www.renedenfeld.com.

Established in 1999, RACC’s Artists Fellowship Award remains one of the largest and most prestigious awards to individual artists in the Pacific Northwest, supporting exceptional artists who exemplify RACC’s mission of enriching the local community through arts and culture. RACC rotates the disciplines it honors each year—performing arts, visual arts, media arts, and literature.

To be eligible for consideration, professional artists must have worked in their field for at least 10 years and have lived in the Portland tri-county area for five years. Applications, which include three
narrative questions, artist resume, two letters of recommendation, and examples of the artist’s work, are reviewed through a panel process of community representatives from the discipline being honored. This year’s panelists in the literature category included Mo Daviau, Merridawn Duckler, Christopher Luna, Orit Ofri, and Olivia Olivia.

Bashir and Denfeld join a prestigious group of local artists who have been named RACC Fellows in the past, including Mary Oslund, Obo Addy, Christine Bourdette, Terry Toedtemeier, Jim Blashfield, Michele Glazer, Tomas Svoboda, Keith Scales, Judy Cooke, Michael Brophy, Chel White, Craig Lesley, Thara Memory, Henk Pander, Joanna Priestley, Kim Stafford, Robin Lane, Eric Stotik, Lawrence Johnson, Sallie Tisdale, Linda Austin, Anita Menon, David Eckard, Ellen Lesperance, Vanessa Renwick, and Brian Lindstrom. A gallery of past RACC fellows are listed at www.racc.org/grants/individual-artist-fellowships.


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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.


Art Spark is on October 19

October’s installment will take place at Toffee Club, 1006 SE Hawthorne Blvd, on October 19th from 6-8 PM. For this event we will pair with RACC’s Arts Education Department, including The Right Brain Initiative, to focus on resources for artists engaged in youth mentorship and passing on knowledge for the future success of our community.

Furthermore, because at this moment the education and future of 800,000 young people in the US are threatened by deportation due to the end of DACA, we also think it is important to use this platform to rally and educate community​. Programming will hold space for education and DACA resources.

Community Partners and Featured Organizations for October 19th include Marrow, Latino Network, Momentum Alliance, The Center, LAX Ideal, Artist and Craftsman North Portland, Young Audiences and artists; Helday de la Cruz, Emilly Prado, and Ayita Malila Copper Nadi.

Join us for an evening of celebration and education. Music Provided by VNPRT and documentation by Renee Lopez of Miss Lopez Media. Events are always free, open to the public and all ages. Hosted bar for 21 + while supplies last.

Here are the links to the Facebook Event  and the (NEW!) website​


Next muralist for “Fresh Paint:” Alex Chiu

Alex Chiu is the next artist to be featured in Fresh Paint, our temporary mural program in partnership with Open Signal.

The mural is on an area of Open Signal’s west-wall facing Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Chiu is the second artist to be showcased in the pilot program and will also be teaching a youth animation class at Open Signal.

Chiu’s sketch of the finished mural.

For more information.


A statement from RACC regarding the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision on the arts tax

PORTLAND, ORE – This morning, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals in Wittemyer v. City of Portland (Supreme Court Case No. S064205) and held that the Arts Income Tax is not a prohibited “poll or head tax” under the Oregon constitution.

“We are grateful to the Oregon Supreme Court for affirming the legality of the arts tax once and for all,” said Jeff Hawthorne, interim executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council.  “As a result of this decision, every grade school in Portland will continue to have at least one art, music or dance teacher on staff, and RACC can continue investing in nonprofit organizations that are providing exceptional arts experiences for every Portland resident. Everyone deserves access to arts and culture, and 62% of Portlanders voted to help make that happen.”

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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.

Media stories on 9/21-22 on this decision:

With Legal Challenge Over, What’s Next For Portland’s Arts Tax?

 Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Portland’s Arts Tax

Oregon Supreme Court Says Portland Arts Tax Is Legal   This Associated Press story appeared in newspapers around the country, including Kansas, Miami, FL.

Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Portland Arts Tax

Portland arts tax is legal, Oregon Supreme Court rules

Portland Has a $35 Tax For Arts Education—Here’s Why It’s So Controversial


9/23 SPACE@RACC hosts Tender Table event

We are so excited to announce that we will be hosting Tender Table: Ratnanjali Adhar & Rachelle Dixon as our inaugural SPACE@RACC event!  Join us on the 23rd!!

SPACE@RACC: Setting Purposeful Access & Community Engagement, is a new program designed to create cultural equity through an investment of space for under-served artists and communities.

Tender Table is a storytelling platform featuring women of color and gender nonconforming people of color and their stories about food, family, and identity.

Join us on Saturday, September 23, from 7-9 p.m.,  for stories and food by RATNANJALI ADHAR & RACHELLE DIXON

Artist Bios:

  • Rachelle Dixon is a lifelong “foodie” and a caterer at her company, Antilles Pearl Catering in Portland, Oregon. Rachelle cooks with soul to prepare meals that are deeply satisfying and has been doing so for over 3 decades. See more on Rachelle https://www.tendertable.com/#/rachelle-dixon/

  • Ratnanjali Adhar is a first generation immigrant from India. Her parents grew up in an ashram outside of Agra where most mornings were spent farming as a community. Ratna tries to integrate those values into her life here. See more on Ratnanjali https://www.tendertable.com/#/ratnanjali-adhar/​

All ages are welcome to this event. $5-10 sliding scale to support the artists. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

If you can’t make it, please donate to support the artists: Squarecash: $TenderTable or Paypal tendertable@gmail.com


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 features nineteen local designers debuting runway garments made from recycled materials and found objects in an effort to raise funds for The Right Brain Initiative, RACC’s arts integration program that serves 29,500 students in 70 local K-8 public schools.

SHIFT is not your ordinary runway show; both rookie student designers and established fashion designers alike will compete for first, second, and third cash prizes, and the People’s Choice Award. Included in the 2017 SHIFT designer line-up are two eleven-year-old students of The Right Brain Initiative in the Gresham-Barlow School District.

Each creation will be assessed based on the following five characteristics: innovation, whimsy, level of difficulty, quality of construction, and runway presence. Three local fashion personalities will serve as judges: Adam Arnold is a local fashion designer known for his customized, sophisticated, and inventive clothing line. Nancy Judd is the founder and director of Recycle Runway, creating couture fashion from trash as a way to educate about the importance of conservation. Brooke Olzendam is a local TV celebrity and the current Courtside Reporter for the Portland Trail Blazers.

This exciting evening, full of fashion and ingenuity, will be emceed by the award-winning Rose Empress XLVI, Poison Waters. The event will also feature local food and fare, music from DJ VNPRT and the Obo Addy Legacy Project, and a silent auction with items from local Portland businesses and arts and culture organizations.

WHEN: Thursday, September 21, 2017. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for VIP and 6:00 p.m. for general admission. Show at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Leftbank Annex, 101 N Wiedler Street, Portland, Oregon 97227

COST: $45 general admission and $100 VIP admission. Purchase tickets online at http://therightbraininitiative.org/SHIFT/

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The Right Brain Initiative is a sustainable partnership of public schools, local government, foundations, businesses and the cultural community working to transform learning through the arts for all K-8 students in the Portland metro area. Now entering its tenth year, Right Brain serves 70 schools and approximately 29,500 students from urban, suburban and rural communities in the Portland area. In fall of 2014, Right Brain released data connecting the program to an above-average increase in student test scores, with greatest results for English Language Learners. Right Brain is a program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Operating partners include Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington (Residency Partner), Victoria Lukich (Research & Evaluation Partner), and Deborah Brzoksa of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Professional Development Consultant). Read more online at TheRightBrainInitiative.org.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.


RACC teams up with the The Standard to keep the Portland Building’s public art on display

As City Bureaus begin relocating their offices in advance of the Portland Building renovation RACC has also been working to find temporary storage for the many public art works that will be displaced during construction. Portlandia will stay put on the building’s west façade, but the iconic 35 foot high sculpture will be screened off to protect her copper surface while exterior building repairs are made.

While our city’s symbol is hidden from view tourists and locals will still be able to get a Portlandia fix however, thanks to a generous offer from The Standard insurance company. The Standard is making room on the 2nd floor lobby of their Plaza building—located directly across the street from Portlandia—for the display of artist Raymond Kaskey’s exacting scale model of the sculpture. The model will join several other Portlandia related exhibits that will be relocated from the Public Art Gallery on the Portland Building’s 2nd floor.

In addition to stepping in to display these Portlandia related items during the Portland Building’s three year long renovation, The Standard is also assisting RACC by providing art collection storage space at a friendly rate. This storage will allow RACC to safely house all of the other public art normally located within the Portland Building until the renovation is complete.

“The Standard came through in a big way and has been enthusiastic, generous and helpful. They have a history of supporting arts and culture and RACC, and their assistance with this temporary relocation is sincerely appreciated.” –  Keith Lachowicz, RACC Public Art Collections Manager.

The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue. The relocated Portlandia display will be on view in the L2 lobby of The Standard’s Plaza building, 1134 SW 5th Avenue, beginning September 20th.


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 social turmoil that we are all experiencing. The issues often seem so much bigger than ourselves and we begin to wonder how we as individuals, or we as an arts organization, can make an impact. As an arts organization, do we have a role in the resistance? As national support for the arts is being threatened, what can we do? How can we be part of the solution? Sure, we believe in the transformational power of the arts, and yet we still find ourselves asking these questions; wondering how what we do each day fits into the bigger world. It took a conversation with one of our students from The Right Brain Initiative, Tarynn, to remind us that our work and the work of artists across the world not only matters, but is necessary.

“After our Right Brain residency with Korekara Taiko, we don’t look at each other just as classmates. The arts have made us stronger and have made our relationships better with each other.”

Tarynn nailed it on the head. That is power of the arts; that is why we get up each day and come to work at the region’s arts council; that is how we can unite communities and make change. As artists have been for centuries, we are the storytellers and the connectors and we are most definitely part of the solution. We need that sort of creative thinking now more than ever. We need the voices of the artists, the students, the people.

“You might not have ever done something creative, but if you let go of that need for everything to be colored within the lines. It could just be a line on a paper, but you could turn it into so much more if you let go of having to know that everything has to be done a certain way.”

Tarynn reminded us why we’re here and why the arts matter just as much now as they ever have, because the arts are a platform, a vehicle, and an opportunity to make change. And this fall, we are especially digging into the movement.

As we enter our tenth year of supporting schools through Right Brain’s arts integration programming and our fifth year of empowering arts specialists hired through the Portland arts tax, we know that this work is making an impact in our community. This year Right Brain has added two new schools to serve a total of 70 K-8 schools in eight school districts across Portland metro. We’ve added a new school in the east Portland district of Parkrose; a Title I school where 100% of the students receive free and reduced lunch. We are supporting 92 K-5 arts specialists in the City of Portland who are providing arts learning opportunities to nearly 35,000 students in six school districts. With each educator and student partnership we engage, we build a stronger movement.

In just under two weeks, we will be joining Americans for the Arts’ celebration of National Arts in Education Week (September 10-16) with partners across the country. Throughout the week, we will be publishing a blog salon and sharing community voices on the transformative power of arts education. We are initiating conversations with regional, state, and national policy makers to shape a shared vision for equitable education through the arts.

Our efforts in Portland metro do not stand alone. We are joined by our fellow educators and arts organizations who also believe that the solutions lie with creative and equitable educational experiences. We know that this movement is not, and cannot, be exclusive. We need you. We need arts lovers, leaders, students, teachers, and communities. It is our mission to provide the opportunities to collaborate, experiment and discover and your voices are the true leaders in this movement. This is just the beginning. Are you ready? Here’s how you can get involved this month:

  1. Engage with RACC, Right Brain, and Americans for the Arts (AFTA) social media during National Arts in Education Week (September 10-16).
  2. Tune into to #BecauseOfArtsEd and #ArtsEdWeek on all social media platforms.
  3. Register for the daily webinars at 12pm (Pacific Time) during National Arts in Education Week.
  4. Join in for the #ArtsEdChat on Twitter every day at 5pm (Pacific Time) during National Arts in Education Week.
  5. Stay tuned for The Right Brain Initiative’s Blog Salon during National Arts in Education Week (September 10-16).
  6. Write to your local elected officials in the tri-county region and tell them that you care about arts education!
  7. Write to your local school board members in the tri-county region and tell them that you care about arts education.
  8. Join RACC and Right Brain on 9/21/2017 for our first annual runway show SHIFT: An experiment in fashion design.
  9. Keep an eye out for The Right Brain Initiative’s 2017 Progress Report that will be released on September 11, 2017—it’s chock-full of the amazing impacts of arts education in K-8 public schools.

Do you have other ideas you’re ready to bring to the movement? Can we work together?

We’re listening.


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 content and standards (education.)” But there are serious consequences to a lack of diversity of thought, just as there are in genetics. “When a majority of tomorrow’s jobs and challenges have yet to be imagined, our students require the diversity of thought necessary to tackle them.”

The arts provide opportunities for students to discover new ideas while raising awareness of the world around them. Empathy is tightly wedded to creative exploration, a link articulated clearly by Oregon’s Poetry Out Loud state champions in a video released by the Oregon Arts Commission called “Why is Poetry Out Loud Important? 2012 Oregon state champion Jillian Frakes puts it this way: “[Poetry is] a way to help [students] find their voice. You’re able to use another person’s words to express ideas that you have.” Brynn Tran, 2010 winner adds, “[The poem] doesn’t belong to me, but I get to hold it for a couple minutes.”

The benefits of creative exploration are supported by research conducted by the national Creating Connection initiative, which defines four core benefits of arts engagement: self-expression, personal growth, well-being and happiness. For students, opportunities to explore the arts promote these benefits, as well as support multiple modes of engagement in overall learning, pushing back against over-standardization of instruction.

In Oregon, access to in-school arts opportunities vary greatly between school buildings. Using information provided by the Oregon Department of Education, the Oregon Arts Commission maintains a database on the availability of arts classes in Oregon schools. This information can be used to develop strategies for expanding creative outlets for students. Until we know where the gaps are, we can’t fill them.

Thanks to the work of arts organizations and artists around the state, many students benefit from creative exploration in classrooms. For example, the Architecture Foundation of Oregon brings professional architects in 3rd-5th grade classrooms around the state to help students explore the built environment, the history of their community and the fundamentals of 3-dimensional design. Elementary students in Hood River use basket weaving and storytelling to promote art, math and literacy skills through the Story Baskets project offered by Arts in Education of the Gorge. And, thanks to the Corvallis Arts Center’s efforts last year, visiting artists blended printmaking with an investigation of microbiomes to help students connect laboratory research to understanding of geometric shapes and color theory. Regular readers of this newsletter will be familiar with the integrated approach to learning that The Right Brain Initiative promotes through ongoing professional development for teachers and artists to provide coordinated arts experiences for students. All of these projects were supported by Arts Learning grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, one of several funders supporting arts education work.

Do you know about an exciting creative opportunity for students in your area? Now is the time to shout about it! National Arts in Education Week begins September 10, 2017. Led by Americans for the Arts (AFTA), the entire country will be recognizing the role of the arts in schools. AFTA offers a list of suggested ways to celebrate and provides advocacy tools on their website. The Regional Arts & Culture Council will be joining the celebration with a social media campaign (Facebook, Twitter) and beginning conversations with local policy makers on the importance of advocating for arts in education at all levels of the community and government.

As students assume increasing responsibility for the challenges of the 21st century, the best foundation we can give them is creativity, confidence and the ability to see things in a new way. Arts education promotes all these skills as well as motivates students to persevere as they seek answers to questions that generations before them have failed to answer, as well as those that haven’t been asked yet.


Night Lights presents site-specific outdoor media monthly through April

Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal to host projections from local artists

PORTLAND, ORE — Night Lights, a monthly public art event, continues into its third year of urban intervention. A special launch party will be held at Open Signal on Wednesday, September 20 before the First Thursday series begins on October 5, showcasing projections of digital media from local artists and art students. Open Signal and the north wall of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) offices will serve as the sites for this year’s events, with artists presenting works tailored specifically for those locations.

Night Lights represents an ongoing relationship between RACC’s public art program and Open Signal, celebrating the crossroads of local talent and technological innovation. The series illustrates the organizations’ inventive spirits, featuring presentations that include large-format projections, and interactive performances. Finalists were chosen through an open call and a community panel process, receiving a stipend for their participation.

The full Night Lights schedule is listed below, showcasing a different work each month. Emcee and performance artist Pepper Pepper inaugurates this year’s events on October 5, debuting an immersive project that will transform its audience into a kaleidoscopic collage.

This year, artists-in-residence Amy Chiao & Chloe Cooper will have full access to Open Signal’s resources for four months, developing a new work about their experiences parading a fifteen foot puppet through public and private settings. The documentary will premier on April 5, 2018 at Open Signal’s parking lot, and attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with the puppet used for filming.

Night Lights schedule

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Launch Party
Open Signal
2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland
7:00pm-9:30pm
Free RSVP

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Pepper Pepper
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Stephanie Mendoza
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Wednesday November 29, 2017
PSU Presentation with Professor Dave Colangelo
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, December 7, 2017
Ezekiel Brown
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Julia Calabrese
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Portland State University Showcase
Regional Arts & Culture Council, exterior north wall
411 NW Park Avenue @ Glisan Street, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Amy Chiao & Chloe Cooper (Artists in Residence)
Open Signal
2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland
Begins After Dusk, Lasts 2 Hours

Learn more about Night Lights at nightlightspdx.tumblr.com


About Open Signal
Open Signal is a media arts center making media production possible for anyone and everyone in Portland, Oregon. Launched in 2017, the center builds upon the 35-year legacy of Portland Community Media to create a resource totally unique in the Pacific Northwest. Open Signal offers media workshops, an equipment library, artist residencies and programs five cable channels with locally produced content. Open Signal delivers media programming with a commitment to creativity, technology and social change. Learn more at opensignalpdx.org

About Regional Arts & Culture Council
The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. Learn more at racc.org.


As the Portland Building renovation approaches RACC looks back at 23 years of the Installation Space, August 14 – September 1

PORTLAND, ORE – As the three year long renovation of the Portland Building approaches RACC will take an opportunity to present A Look Back: 23 Years at the Portland Building Installation Space. This “venue retrospective” will celebrate the rich and varied history of art installations in the modest gallery space that adjoins the Portland Building lobby. Each of the 200+ site-specific installations dating back to 1994 will be represented in images and text. The famous (infamous?) Installation Space Comment Book that has accompanied exhibitions over the years will be converted into a wall sized “comment chalkboard” where visitors can endorse past favorites or offer their thoughts on this eclectic and successful public art forum.

Early on in its history the Installation Space developed a reputation both as a venue for well established artists and as an incubator space for emerging artists and students. RACC’s commitment to presenting engaging, challenging, and diverse work has remained constant for 23 years, as has the City of Portland’s support for the program through funds for the honorarium that accompanies each installation to support materials and artist fees. A new location for the Installation Space is envisioned on the 2nd floor of the redesigned Portland Building. In the meantime RACC is looking at temporary location possibilities during the renovation hiatus—stay tuned to www.racc.org for periodic updates.

About the Portland Building: As many Portlanders already know the Portland Building was designed by noted architect Michael Graves. Built in 1982 to serve as the City of Portland’s central administrative office building, the exterior design is considered one of the first examples of Post Modern architecture and the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Significant exterior façade and interior operational systems needs have arisen over time however, and the city is undertaking the $195 million project to renovate the façade, replace failing building envelope issues, redesign interior work spaces and create new, more welcoming community spaces. To accommodate the renovation the Portland Building will close in November of this year, the reopening is scheduled for the end of 2020.

Viewing Hours & Location The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Friday. A Look Back: 23 Years at the Portland Building Installation Space opens Monday, August 14 and runs through Friday, September 1. For more information on the Installation Space series go to www.racc.org/installationspace

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The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.