RACC Blog

Executive Director search update

The search committee has been finalized. The members are:

We continue to encourage broad community participation in our Executive Director Search Survey, open through May 10. An executive summary of our findings will be posted on this page shortly thereafter.

 

Previous updates:

POSTED ON APRIL 18, 2017 AT 9:12 AM.

The RACC search committee has hired executive search firm Aspen Leadership Group to lead the process to find the successor to outgoing executive director Eloise Damrosch, who will be retiring June 30. The committee considered several search firms and was most impressed with Aspen’s diversity experience, extensive network and impressive track record of high level arts searches, including many successful arts appointments in Oregon.

Aspen Leadership Group’s lead project manager, Anne Johnson, will be in Portland on May 1 and 2 to meet the Search Committee and representatives of RACC staff and the arts community to begin the formal due diligence process. In addition the search committee has just released an online questionnaire, open to anybody interested in providing input on the search for RACC’s next Executive Director. You can participate in the survey here.

 

POSTED ON MARCH 29, 2017 AT 12:37 PM.

With the retirement of our longtime executive director Eloise Damrosch, the RACC board has begun the process of finding her successor. We are committed to a transparent and inclusive search process resulting in the appointment of an outstanding individual to lead RACC into the future and continue to realize our mission of enriching our communities through arts and culture.

The RACC Board has appointed a Search Committee to steward the process of identifying and hiring the new executive director. In April the Search Committee will select an executive search firm who will help us manage the process of identifying, screening, interviewing and recruiting the new ED from a wide and diverse pool of candidates.

In the coming weeks we will be sharing in this space and in correspondence with our many constituents, the job posting, job description and ways to provide input on the search and selection process. There will be many opportunities for comment and suggestions, including a questionnaire, direct contact with the search committee at EDsearch@racc.org and regular progress reports in our newsletter and on the RACC website.

Once a finalist or finalists have been chosen there will be opportunities for community members to meet them and provide feedback to the Search Committee before a final choice is made. We are hopeful to have a new executive director in place late Summer or Early Fall.

We thank you for your ongoing support of RACC and our wonderful arts and culture community. We are excited about this new chapter of RACC and are grateful for your interest and input.

 

POSTED ON FEBRUARY 8, 2017 AT 4:40 PM.

RACC’s executive director Eloise Damrosch announces plans to retire June 30. Read the press release here.


PGE Employees Support RACC with a Day of Service

On April 21st, PGE employees supported RACC’s Public Art department and volunteered to perform maintenance on the Oregon Holocaust Memorial in preparation for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Through a variety of public-private partnerships, RACC helps acquire and maintain community-owned artworks in public places. The Oregon Holocaust Memorial is part of the City of Portland’s Public Art Collection and was funded by the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education which donated to the City.

Volunteers helped to hand wash and dry the black polished granite “Memorial Wall”, wash and dry the large plaques, and wash and wax a number of smaller bronze works located on the approach to the memorial wall.

A big thank you from RACC to all of the volunteers from PGE that came ready to work with both care and vigor!

If you are interested in volunteering with RACC you can learn more here.

 

 

 


State of the Arts

I spoke with a colleague the other day who works at the National Endowment for the Arts where people are soldiering on every day not knowing whether or not they have a future there. I am reminded of how lucky we are here in the Portland region that support for RACC,  and all the artists, arts organizations and arts lovers who count on us, is strong and committed. We would, of course, love for it to be greater, but we rarely worry about its very existence.

Every Spring we report to Portland’s City Council on how we invested general fund dollars during the past year and the impact of allocations to the field. We open our presentation with a surprise performance designed to start on a high note and then we move on to tell our stories. We ask individuals – artists, arts leaders, arts advocates – to testify and share their own accounts of how a RACC grant affected their lives and/or careers. We hear from teachers or students who have benefitted from having art and music teachers back in their schools – thank you voters for the Arts Tax! We celebrate new dollars raised through Work for Art, new public art commissions for our public spaces, new applicants for Arts Equity, Project and Professional Development Grants, informative technical assistance workshops for artists, and new schools added to the Right Brain Initiative.

We also shine a light on some of the results of our Equity and Inclusion work, our deeply held commitment to making RACC reflect the communities we serve and to ensure RACC opportunities are readily available to as many people as we can.

Every year we try to pack the house with people eager to thank City Council for support and to make the case in person that Portland REALLY cares about our arts and culture communities. They are at the heart of who we are as a city and region.

Please join us Thursday May 4th at 2 p.m. at Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th, Council Chambers 2nd floor. And bring your friends!

Thank you.

 


RACC launches pilot program for temporary murals

fresh paint, a temporary mural pilot project, begins in mid-May, 2017- April 2018 as part of a new professional development initiative of RACC’s Public Art Murals programming.

For the first year, three artists have been selected to paint a mural on an area of the exterior west wall of Open Signal, 2766 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland.

Each mural will be up for a period of four months and then painted over in preparation for the next mural. The pilot program is a partnership between RACC’s Public Art Murals program and Open Signal: Portland Community Media.

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.  Local artist Molly Mendoza will begin painting in May.


Pochas Radicales presents “Nuestrx espacio; soy otro tú” at the Portland Building Installation Space, May 2 – May 26

Click here for a Spanish version of this press release.

PORTLAND, ORE – Pochas Radicales, a queer Latinx art collective located in Portland, will present a timely, site specific installation in the exhibition space at the Portland Building beginning May 2. The project, titled Nuestrx espacio;soy otro tú, will transform the compact gallery adjacent to the building lobby into a platform that offers an engaging narrative of a young, queer Latinx living in Portland.

Visitors will immediately recognize the layout and furnishings in the room as something familiar, comfortable, and warm. Upon entering, we are lead into the narrative of the young person that created the space. As visitors contemplate the room’s story, the narrative unfolds and we are taken into the mind of this youth, seeing the world as they do and learning the rhythm of their heart. Entonces—who’s room is this?

“We invite the public, employees of the building, and visitors to interact with the space by entering the room, having a seat and making themselves at home. On designated days, there will be café de olla and pan dulce available for participants to enjoy in communion with the artists. The intention of this installation is to personalize the stories of so many people whose lives go unnoticed because they are often reduced to a flash on the evening news with very little context. We want participants to care about this young person as though they were someone very dear to them. They are young, they are queer, they are Latinx, and their story is worth sitting down and listening to. This person could be me, and they could be you. We are highlighting the power of the self-told narrative, and the precious, often overlooked details of human beings that we share space with at work, in our neighborhoods, and throughout our lives.” –Pochas Radicales

About the Artists: Pochas Radicales works to foster community engagement and social justice through art & activism. The collective was founded by Blanca Stacey Villalobos while she was at Portland State University to build community and support for queer Latinxs. Villalobos, along with Andrea Elena Telles form the heart of Pochas Radicales today and the collective has completed an impressive number of projects in a variety of mediums. In 2016 they received a Precipice Fund grant and worked throughout the year on their project echo/hecho. The project included starting a podcast, remodeling a camper trailer and converting it into a mobile gallery, and curating a 3 day event at the end of the year in which featured numerous artists from across Portland. Pochas Radicales also focuses on creating safe spaces for queer and trans people of color throughout Portland and are constantly working to educate themselves and their communities on ways to uplift themselves and one another. Their work challenges archaic notions of gender and sexuality and embraces, validates, and champions the richness of Latin American diaspora. (The term pocha is slang for a Mexican-American person who blends American and Mexican culture; alternately it is a reclaimed term used with pride to validate place and experience in a diverse North American culture.) pochasradicales@gmail.com

Meet the Artists: Join us for a chance to meet Pochas Radicales and discuss their installation in person at the Portland Building on Tuesday, May 2nd at 4 PM.

Drop in Tuesday Mornings: As a way for community and artists to engage in conversation. all are welcome to stop in for hot drinks and sweets with Pochas every Tuesday from 8:15 am – 9:15.

Viewing Hours & Location The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Nuestrx espacio; soy otro tú opens Monday, May 2 and runs through Friday, May 26. 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.


Rock and roll dreams come true

Battle of the Bands is just around the corner and snakeskin print spandex, 80’s glam rock hair and impressive creative flair might just steal the show. David Nijhawan is taking Battle of the Bands and Portland by storm.

An avid supporter of Work for Art, he has channeled his passion for music into arts activism in the Portland metro area. David, Relationship Manager at KeyBank, plays a crucial role in energizing his workplace and colleagues by bringing their collective power together to advocate for the arts through the KeyBank Work for Art campaign. He is a graduate of the Art of Leadership program and a champion of The Arts Card. David has also ignited his co-workers to form the band Hair Nation in an attempt to oust rivals, Pencil Skirt Paula and The Straight Edge Rulers from their top place at Battle of the Bands.

David’s fierce creative energy comes to his music and performance through Zeek Zildjian, his dynamic alter ego and drummer for Hair Nation. Zeek was born out of David’s rock and roll roots and it all began with Van Halen.

“My first real concert was Van Halen, and it was one of the most ethereal experiences in my entire life. Hearing anthemic songs such as Jump, Panama, and I Can’t Drive 55 only took me further down the rabbit hole of the 80’s glam rock. Easily the greatest era of rock and roll, the 80’s formed my childhood and teenage years. Iconic guitar riffs, solos, and drum beats changed music forever…for the better that day,” David recounts.  (Listen to David’s interview about Battle of the Bands on Portland Radio Project.)

David is bringing this magnetism of the glam rock era to the competition. He and other company bands will have an opportunity to compete and live out their rock and roll dreams. Bands from Kaiser Permanente, KeyBank, Hampton Lumber, Portland City Hall, Stoel Rives and ZGF Architects will perform before a panel of celebrity judges and 600 adoring fans to compete for the following prizes:

  • Best Company Band (Grand Prize) – winner selected by the celebrity judge panel for highest quality performance. Winner receives a live show in the Skype Live Studio including a video of the performance – a $5,000 value.
  • Best Showmanship – winner selected by the celebrity judge panel for most flare and enthusiasm.
  • Audience Favorite – winner selected through audience voting through cash donations. Vote for your favorite band(s)!

The Standard is also sponsoring a special performance by Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls’ band, Strawberry Jam. Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, a local non-profit, builds girls’ self-esteem through music creation and performance. Strawberry Jam recently performed at Keller Auditorium for the TEDxPortland event.

This year’s Battle of the Bands will be a star studded affair. Rindy Ross of Quarterflash, Edna Vasquez and Valerie Day of Nu Shooz make up the celebrity judge panel and Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and ZGF principal Sharron van der Meulen are co-chairing the event. Sarah G of WE 96.3 FM will emcee. In addition, Timbers Army Band, Greenhorn, and The Brothers Jam, featuring Jamey Hampton of BodyVox and brother David Hampton of Hampton Lumber will be performing. Timber Joey will also make a special appearance to announce the winners.

If that isn’t enough, Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShop with New Avenues for Youth, a local non-profit providing support and resources for homeless youth, will be serving up ice cream for the event.

All proceeds from Battle of the Bands competition will support over 100 art and culture organizations through Work for Art. Last year, the event raised more than $70,000. This makes Battle of the Bands a unique platform for employees to celebrate their talents and creativity while benefitting the arts and culture community. For David Nijhawan, the arts have impacted him in a profound way that has deepened his passion and commitment to the arts.

“It’s important to give to the arts community because it’s the fabric of society. Without song, dance, art, theater, and movement (among others) our world would be painfully dim. We would miss the essence of the human spirit and experience. No matter what genre or form, the arts affect and shape our live, said David. “From battle cries to rally one last stand for freedom, to an inspiring riff that spawned Eddie Van Halen’s career, to a simple groove that a future hip hop dancer wiggles to, it’s all the same; the arts are the rudiments of life.”

Come celebrate with us and support your favorite band as they battle it out for the Best Company Band.

May the best band win!

Battle of the Bands
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Doors 5:30 p.m. / Show 6:30 p.m.

Crystal Ballroom
1332 W Burnside Street, Portland
www.workforart.org/bob/

Tickets are on sale now for $12 each at The Crystal Ballroom box office, 1332 West Burnside Street in Portland; by phone at 1-855-CAS-TIXX; or online at https://tinyurl.com/jy6pjyg.

A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100 each, including complimentary food and beverage plus reserved seating. Two for one tickets are available with The Arts Card and discounts are available for 20 tickets or more.


Lineup announced for May 17 Battle of the Bands

On May 17 at the Crystal Ballroom, bankers, architects, lumberjacks and surgeons will represent their companies and compete for prizes at Battle of the Bands, a benefit for Work for Art. Tickets are $12, on sale now at the Crystal Ballroom box office and online via workforart.org/bob. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100 each, including reserved seating, and hosted food and beverages.

Six bands, made up of employees who play music on the side, will compete in front of family, friends, coworkers and a panel of celebrity judges. Several prizes will be awarded including the title of Best Company Band. Audiences will select an “Audience Favorite” as determined by the band that receives the most in cash donations the night of the event.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Food and beverages are available for purchase. As a warm-up act, Brothers Jam will perform until 6:30 p.m., featuring BodyVox artistic director Jamey Hampton.

The main event begins at 6:30 p.m., emceed by Sarah G of WE 96.3 FMThe six competing bands are:

  • Hampton Lumber, Petty Crimes
  • Kaiser Permanente, Members Only
  • KeyBank, Hair Nation
  • Portland City Hall, Copper Goddess
  • Stoel Rives, The Bears
  • ZGF Architects, Pencil Skirt Paula and The Straight Edge Rulers 

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and ZGF Architects principal Sharron van der Meulen are co-chairing this year’s event, and the competing bands are being mentored by Portland jazz musician Christopher Brown. The judging panel includes three local music industry celebrities:

  • Valerie Day has been a vocalist and percussionist for many years beginning with the Grammy nominated group Nu Shooz in the 1980’s. She has toured extensively in the United States, Canada and Europe, appeared on national and international TV programs, sold over a million records worldwide, has sung with orchestras and performed at numerous music festivals. In addition to her life as a performer, Valerie had a private vocal studio for over 20 years.
  • Rindy Ross is the lead singer, saxophonist, and co-founder of Quarterflash and The Trail Band, both bands she formed with her husband, Marv. Their platinum debut Quarterflash album produced the hit single, Harden My Heart, and they traveled extensively including tours with Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, Sammy Hagar and others. Since the Eighties they have released six Quarterflash and thirteen Trail Band albums and have been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
  • Edna Vazquez is a Latin American artist based in the Northwest who performs original music that pays homage to her many influences from across the Americas. Edna has traveled far and wide with her band of all-star musicians to share their message of light, love and cultural healing.

There will also be a special performance by Rock N Roll Camp for Girls’ Strawberry Jam, with band members ranging in age from 15 to 17 years. This opportunity is made possible by a sponsorship from The Standard.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., while the judges deliberate and the cash is counted, the Portland Timbers Army band Greenhorn will perform. Timber Joey will be on hand to help announce the winners at the end of the evening.

All proceeds from Battle of the Bands benefit Work for Art, an annual campaign to raise money and awareness for local arts and culture organizations.

“As the top Work for Art campaign for six years in a row, it’s clear our employees are big believers in the power of art and its undeniable impact on our community,” said Kregg Arntson, director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Portland General Electric, and chair of this year’s Work for Art campaign. “Battle of the Bands is the perfect venue to celebrate the arts and creative expression, while cheering on our favorite local company bands.”

Battle of the Bands is sponsored by headliners Hampton Lumber, KeyBank, KINK 101.9 FM and The Standard. Additional sponsorship support is provided by Kaiser Permanente, Stoel Rives and ZGF Architects.

Work for Art is a program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), which distributes a full 100% of all Work for Art donations, including Battle of the Bands proceeds, to arts organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. For more information visit workforart.org.


Lineup announced for May 17 Battle of the Bands

PORTLAND, ORE — On May 17 at the Crystal Ballroom, bankers, architects, lumberjacks and surgeons will represent their companies and compete for prizes at Battle of the Bands, a benefit for Work for Art. Tickets are $12, on sale now at the Crystal Ballroom box office at workforart.org/bob. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100 each, including reserved seating, and hosted food and beverages.

Six bands, made up of employees who play music on the side, will compete in front of family, friends, coworkers and a panel of celebrity judges. Several prizes will be awarded including the title of Best Company Band. Audiences will select an “Audience Favorite” as determined by the band that receives the most in cash donations the night of the event.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Food and beverages are available for purchase. As a warm-up act, Brothers Jam will perform until 6:30 p.m., featuring BodyVox artistic director Jamey Hampton.

The main event begins at 6:30 p.m., emceed by Sarah G of WE 96.3 FMThe six competing bands are:

  • Hampton Lumber, Petty Crimes
  • Kaiser Permanente, Members Only
  • KeyBank, Hair Nation
  • Portland City Hall, Copper Goddess
  • Stoel Rives, The Bears
  • ZGF Architects, Pencil Skirt Paula and The Straight Edge Rulers 

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and ZGF Architects principal Sharron van der Meulen are co-chairing this year’s event, and the competing bands are being mentored by Portland jazz musician Christopher Brown. The judging panel includes three local music industry celebrities:

  • Valerie Day has been a vocalist and percussionist for many years beginning with the Grammy nominated group Nu Shooz in the 1980’s. She has toured extensively in the United States, Canada and Europe, appeared on national and international TV programs, sold over a million records worldwide, has sung with orchestras and performed at numerous music festivals. In addition to her life as a performer, Valerie had a private vocal studio for over 20 years.
  • Rindy Ross is the lead singer, saxophonist, and co-founder of Quarterflash and The Trail Band, both bands she formed with her husband, Marv. Their platinum debut Quarterflash album produced the hit single, Harden My Heart, and they traveled extensively including tours with Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, Sammy Hagar and others. Since the Eighties they have released six Quarterflash and thirteen Trail Band albums and have been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
  • Edna Vazquez is a Latin American artist based in the Northwest who performs original music that pays homage to her many influences from across the Americas. Edna has traveled far and wide with her band of all-star musicians to share their message of light, love and cultural healing.

There will also be a special performance by Rock N Roll Camp for Girls’ Strawberry Jam, with band members ranging in age from 15 to 17 years. This opportunity is made possible by a sponsorship from The Standard.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., while the judges deliberate and the cash is counted, the Portland Timbers Army band Greenhorn will perform. Timber Joey will be on hand to help announce the winners at the end of the evening.

All proceeds from Battle of the Bands benefit Work for Art, an annual campaign to raise money and awareness for local arts and culture organizations.

“As the top Work for Art campaign for six years in a row, it’s clear our employees are big believers in the power of art and its undeniable impact on our community,” said Kregg Arntson, director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Portland General Electric, and chair of this year’s Work for Art campaign. “Battle of the Bands is the perfect venue to celebrate the arts and creative expression, while cheering on our favorite local company bands.”

Battle of the Bands is sponsored by headliners Hampton Lumber, KeyBank, KINK 101.9 FM and The Standard. Additional sponsorship support is provided by Kaiser Permanente, Stoel Rives and ZGF Architects.

Work for Art is a program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), which distributes a full 100% of all Work for Art donations, including Battle of the Bands proceeds, to arts organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. For more information visit workforart.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.

 


Pochas Radicales presents “Nuestrx espacio; soy otro tú” at the Portland Building Installation Space, May 2 – May 26

Pochas Radicales, a queer Latinx art collective located in Portland, will present a timely, site specific installation in the exhibition space at the Portland Building beginning May 2. The project will transform the compact gallery adjacent to the building lobby into a platform that offers an engaging narrative of a young, queer Latinx living in Portland.

Visitors will immediately recognize the layout and furnishings in the room as something familiar, comfortable, and warm. Upon entering, we are lead into the narrative of the young person that created the space. As visitors contemplate the room’s story, the narrative unfolds and we are taken into the mind of this youth, seeing the world as they do and learning the rhythm of their heart. Entonces—who’s room is this? Where have they gone?

“We invite the public, employees of the building, and visitors to interact with the space by entering the room, having a seat, and making themselves at home. The intention of this installation is to personalize the stories of so many people whose lives go unnoticed because they are often reduced to a flash on the evening news with very little context.” – Pochas Radicales

About the Artists: Pochas Radicales works to foster community engagement and social justice through art & activism. Blanca Stacey Villalobos and Andrea Elena Telles form the heart of Pochas Radicales today and the collective has completed an impressive number of projects in a variety of mediums. Their work challenges archaic notions of gender and sexuality and embraces and champions the richness of Latin American diaspora. pochasradicales@gmail.com

Meet the Artists: Join us for a chance to meet Pochas Radicales and discuss their installation in person at the Portland Building on Tuesday, May 2nd at 4 PM. All are also welcome to stop in for hot drinks and sweets with Pochas every Tuesday morning from 8:15 am – 9:15.

Viewing Hours & Location: The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

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SPECIAL NOTE: Portland Building Installation Space Calendar  June – September 2017

The Installation Space will go on hiatus after September 1, 2017 as the Portland Building’s comprehensive two year long renovation project begins. Stay tuned to Art Notes for updates as the renovation proceeds. In the mean time RACC is pleased to be able to present a set of thoughtful and provocative installations throughout this spring and summer:

June 5 –30   Crystal Schenk

Seasoned installation artist and sculptor Crystal Schenk offers visitors a new, site-specific piece that continues her focus on issues of physical and mental health/illness, class, memory, and social interaction.

July 10–August 4  Elijah Hasan

Film maker, writer, composer and educator Elijah Hasan rounds out the summer schedule with the presentation of three of his stunning films. Using Portland as his stage and backdrop Hasan’s work skillfully and poetically explores themes of race, place and social consciousness.

August 14–September 1    A look back at 23 years of  Installation Space exhibitions


4/24 Advocacy Day 2017

This is a challenging time for arts and culture. Budgets are tight at the state level and federal funding is in jeopardy.
We must work together to defend arts, heritage and the humanities in our state legislature.

Join us for Advocacy Day 2017! We need your voice and your passion! Join us for advocacy training, meetings with elected leaders and an opportunity to meet with your legislators.

Advocacy Day 2017

4/24/2017
11AM-2PM
Oregon State Capitol
Hearing Room 50
Salem, OR
REGISTER for Advocacy Day with the Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Celebrating the Art of Leadership class of 2016-17

On March 1, 2017  RACC celebrated the 2016-17 Art of Leadership cohort with a graduation reception sponsored by Columbia Trust Company. This year’s cohort participated in six half-day workshops from October through March, helping participants become board members for local nonprofit arts organizations. The series covers topics from finances to fundraising, strategic development to legal issues, helping participants develop leadership skills, network with business and arts leaders, and get matched with arts organizations closely aligned with their own interests and experience.

Congratulations to our graduates:

Eric Block, Metropolitan Group
Rodrigo Diaz, Portland Community College
Gillian Eubanks, Columbia Trust Company
Robert Hermanson, Retired Architect
Erin Hopkins, Sage Hospitality
Kathy Jennings, Portland Timbers/Thorns
Candace Kita, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
Shayda Le, Barran Liebman LLP
Nnenna Lewis, Downtown Clean and Safe/ Portland Business Alliance
Jeffrey Martin, Portland Playhouse
Ben Mathias, Perkins & Co.
Michael Miller, Michael R. Miller, CPA
Jacob O’Brien, XPLANE
Darcy Peart, U. S. Bank
Scott Peters, Boeing Company
Steve Price
Ryan Quarberg, Boeing
Inna Schwab, KPMG
Christine Stehr, US Bank
Brian Sweeney, BPS Architecture
James Ward, A-dec, Inc
Sara Watts, Self Employed

The 2016-17 Art of Leadership program was sponsored by The Boeing Company, with additional support from Barran Liebman, Columbia Bank, Perkins & Co., Tonkon Torp LLP and U.S. Bank.

To learn more, including how to be part of the 2017-18 series that begins next fall, contact abailey@racc.org.


Using Theatre to Change the Racial Ecology of Portland

By Bonnie Ratner, August Wilson Red Door Project

Is it possible you missed Hands Up in 2016?  If so, you missed a powerful and relevant production and post show conversations that moved Portland’s discussions about diversity to a whole new level. Five thousand Portlanders, both traditional and non-traditional theatre-goers, saw Hands Up in theatres, community centers, schools and colleges.  Hands Up is a presentation of the August Wilson Red Door Project, whose mission is to change the racial ecology of Portland through the arts.


Kevin Jones, CEO and Founder of the Red Door Project

Directed by Kevin Jones, CEO and Founder of the Red Door, and a critically acclaimed actor and director, Hands Up is a set of seven monologues originally commissioned by The New Black Fest in New York City. The curator at New Black Fest asked seven accomplished playwrights: “What do the police shootings of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, John Crawford III in Beavercreek, Ohio, and others bring up for you?”  The result is seven autobiographical monologues crafted together to take the audience on a provocative journey of self-discovery.

Jones said he wanted to bring Hands Up to Portland because of the artistic quality of the piece and because it aligns so well with the Red Door mission. “Portland has a healthy natural environment,” he said, “but it has a lot of work to do to create a healthier racial or social environment, a city where everyone can thrive.”

When Hands Up first opened, it played to about 50 people, but it didn’t take long before audiences reached 300.  Those audiences were diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, age and class — an uncommon mix for Portland and a demonstration of changing the social ecology by “mixing it up” for shared experiences.

The philanthropic community responded to the success and potential of Hands Up and the model that keeps performances at no cost to individual audience members.  RACC, Multnomah County, The Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation all have contributed to Hands Up.

MORE EFFECTIVE THAN TRADITIONAL “DIVERSITY TRAININGS”

Hands Up has had a major impact on audiences and local organizations. Director Jones thinks this impact is possible in theatre in a way that is not available in traditional diversity, equity and inclusion trainings, even ones that are designed to be interactive, because the artistic experience permeates audience consciousness.  “As a diversity consultant and theatre professional for over thirty years, I can tell you that theatre is a much stronger and more effective way to have impact,” he said. Jones added that it has to do with “provocation,” the kind of provocation that happens in theatre between the actors and the audience. “Involved in theatre, in this mechanism of artistic expression, an audience can be provoked and disturbed, but it is also protected.  As audience members, we can watch someone get shot on stage and have an experience of that shooting and we can accept it, question it, contemplate it, learn from it—all simultaneously.”

COMMUNITY EMERGENCE

Jones begins every performance of Hands Up by saying to the audience: “We’re not asking for your agreement.  This really is not about your opinion. We’re asking you to understand that these are the real-life experiences of thoughtful law-abiding human beings. These are their experiences over a lifetime of reacting, contemplating, avoiding, second guessing and wishing it would go away. This repetition has infiltrated the psyche of our culture, the African American culture.  So, watch it from that perspective.  Experience it from that perspective. And then let’s talk.”

Then the lights go out, and an actor stands on the stage (sometimes a formal theatre; other times, a community venue) and tells you some truth.  The audience sits in the dark, and through the rite that still gives theatre much of its potency, a community emerges with a common purpose: to listen, to learn, to feel. For the next ninety minutes, the audience witnesses stories that are deeply personal, deeply painful, and told directly and intimately.

There’s a good chance that white audience members have never heard these stories first hand. The truth is that most white people don’t know how to make friends with people who are different from them. There are so many barriers:  Fear of hurting feelings. Not knowing what is “correct.”  Too busy managing everyday life to put in the time and effort at what seems like a monumental task. Afraid of acknowledging conscious and unconscious biases, a sense of superiority, a fear of the other, of being uncomfortable, of not being the good white person in the room.

People of color in the audience, especially black people, have an opportunity to reflect, to hear the invitation to heal, to embrace the parts of themselves that have been neglected because they’re focused on fighting off the external forces that are causing the trauma, and trying to understand the effect of that trauma over the course of a lifetime.  Black people also might be wondering how all this truth is going to shake out. Do white people really know what goes on?  And if they’re finding all this out now, what’s it going to be like when the lights come up?  Was it a good idea to come to this play after all?

All this is understandable and natural in our segregated city, even as it needs to change. But the power of Hands Up is that even as these thoughts, concerns and fears race through minds, the stories on the stage draw the audience in, and when the lights come up, all have survived: The black actors who once again risked all that pain to tell the truth; the people of color in the audience who have seen themselves reflected in their full humanity and have felt a collective breath of empathy coming from their fellow audience members; and the white folks who feel vulnerable and realize that this new vulnerability didn’t kill them after all. Letting in another human being with another story, a different story from their own, doesn’t detract from character or status. Empathy for another person doesn’t make us less than we are.

CONVERSATION AND HEALING

When the production is over, Red Door Founders Kevin Jones and Lesli Mones ask the audience a simple question:  “Okay, how do you feel?”  Not what do you think or what is your racial analysis or what have you read on the subject?  But, simply, “How do you feel?”  And from that simple truth, said Jones, “We begin to heal. Hands Up shifts the conversations that can be had in communities because the truth of the play and the immediacy of its portrayal have created a kind of intimacy among people who were strangers ninety minutes before when they sat down together in the dark. Something has cracked open, and there remains a sense of empathy and the possibility of a way forward.”  Audience members agree, calling the experience “transformative” and “unforgettable” and “necessary.”

PARTNERS, SYSTEMS AND BOUNDARIES

Hands Up is a different theatre model.  The Red Door offers performances at no cost to audience members.  Community partners host performances, engage their constituencies, and help to facilitate talkbacks. Partners include organizations from the nonprofit, education, private and government sectors.  Significantly, the Red Door has performed Hands Up for the Portland Police Department and engaged in deep and productive conversations revealing truths from multiple perspectives. Other partners include the NAACP, YWCA, Wieden and Kennedy, Portland State University and funders.  Kevin Jones further explains the model and how the Red Door thinks about systems change:

“If you partner with the Red Door, you’ll hear about making change from a systems theory perspective, and this theory applies to everything on our planet. Everything is a system, and all systems have boundaries. All systems protect, expand and evolve. It is the boundary that protects. The boundary maintains the mechanisms that keep the system intact.  The system maintains homeostasis with its environment.  But when things aren’t working in a system, it needs feedback so it can evolve. Feedback informs the boundary. When homeostasis is threatened, it is the boundary that is called upon to be more permeable so change can happen.  Our culture is a system, all our institutions are systems and all of us, all people, are systems.  That’s a lot of boundaries and a lot of necessary protection to keep things working.  But it’s also a lot of feedback that’s necessary to move us along, to bring necessary change.  Hands Up and the conversations that follow, conversations that don’t blame but seek to deepen understanding so the feedback can get in, enable the possibility of change for systems that are stuck. We believe this is, and has always been, an important function of art and artists.  If you’re ready to partner with us, or just curious, email us at info@reddoorproject.org

The August Wilson Red Door Project’s

THE NEW BLACK FEST’S HANDS UP
7 PLAYRIGHTS, 7 TESTAMENTS

Superiority Fantasy by Nathan James
Holes in My Identity by Nathan Yungerberg
They Shootin! Or I Ain’t Neva Scared… by Idris Goodwin
Dead of Night… The Execution of… by Nambi E. Kelley
Abortion by Nsangou Njikam
Walking Next to Michael Brown by Eric Holmes
How I Feel by Dennis Allen II

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

The August Wilson Red Door Project brings Hands Up back in 2017 and has announced initial performance dates in conjunction with two community partners:

Friendly House on May 13 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Wieden & Kennedy on May 27 at 7:30 p.m. and May 28 at 2:00 p.m.

There is no cost for these performances, but reservations are required and can be made as of April 15th at boxoffice@reddoorproject.org. For more information: reddoorproject.org/handsup.


“Visual Chronicle of Portland” exhibition opens at the Portland Building, March 28 – April 21

PORTLAND, ORE – A special exhibition focusing on new acquisitions to the Visual Chronicle of Portland collection opens at the Portland Building on March 28th. The Visual Chronicle of Portland, a collection of original works-on-paper that portray artists’ perceptions of what makes Portland unique, has been steadily growing since its inception in 1985 and now boasts 356 works by over 200 different artists. RACC normally rotates sets of work from this well regarded city-owned collection throughout public spaces in City of Portland and Multnomah County facilities, but this special exhibition offers the public a unique chance to see these recent acquisitions from the 2016/17 purchase in one place.

About the Artists: The Visual Chronicle strives to reflect a diversity of populations, artistic disciplines, and points of view; it represents a living archive that seeks to honestly document life in our city through the eyes of the artists who live here. RACC is committed to engaging and expanding the communities of artists and the range of artistic and cultural expression that it represents. The artists represented in this recent purchase include:

Holly Andres Kristin Kohl
Bobby Abrahamson Eva Lake
Heather Lee Birdsong Christopher Mooney
Alison Foshee Steven Slappe
Joseph Glode Mami Takahashi
Bryan David Griffith

To browse the collection on line visit the RACC website: Public Art Search

Viewing Hours & Location: The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. This exhibition of new acquisitions from the Visual Chronicle of Portland opens Tuesday, March 28th and runs through Friday, April 21st. The exhibition is free and open to the public.


#SAVE THE NEA!

My post today will not be breaking news to followers of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, but grassroots advocacy is essential over the next few months. While Oregon is lucky to have an arts supportive – even passionate – Congressional delegation, we all must make our voices heard that the President’s budget proposal is unacceptable.  And also please thank our Representatives and Senators for past support. Their offices need to be flooded!

FROM AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS WEBSITE:

The White House has released its proposed budget to Congress, officially recommending full termination of funding of both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for FY2018. This is the first American President in history to propose zeroing out all funding for the nation’s federal cultural agencies.

Eliminating the NEA would be a devastating blow to the arts in America. For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants in every Congressional district throughout all 50 states and U.S. Territories as well as placing arts therapists in 12 military hospitals to help returning soldiers heal from traumatic brain injuries. The NEA is also an economic powerhouse, generating more than $600 million annually in additional matching funds and helping to shape a $730 billion arts and culture industry that represents 4.2% of the nation’s GDP and supports 4.8 million jobs.

The federal appropriations process does not end here. We now begin a concerted grassroots effort to convince Congress to #SaveTheNEA. Here are the actions you can take right now:

  1. The most important thing you can do is to take two minutes to send a customizable message to your elected representatives in Congress and urge them to oppose any attempt to eliminate or cut funding to the NEA.
  2. Post on Facebook and Twitter to help rally national support to save the NEA. There is strength in numbers and your social media friends can help.
  3. Contribute to the Arts Action Fund to help ensure we have the resources to maintain our grassroots arts network.

PLEASE HELP! The road forward will be filled with horse-trading. Republican led Congresses have saved both agencies from extinction before. We cannot let this slip through.

Thank you for joining us.


What’s Up Next?

ELOISE BLOG:

Thirty years ago this June I moved to Portland. A week later I interviewed for a job managing the Percent for Art Program for the Oregon Convention Center. I started the next day. It was an amazing opportunity to jump right into the midst of a pivotal design and construction project, to work with a broad range of city leaders, architects, artists, the construction team, and to take a crash course in Portland’s arts community. Some of those extraordinary people remain close friends and colleagues to this day. And little did I know that this was the beginning of a dream career helping to frame, nurture and grow public art in Portland and then add to that responsibility to strengthen the broader arts and culture communities.

Looking back I am so proud of what the mighty RACC staff and board have been able to accomplish together with artists, arts leaders, elected officials, volunteers, business people, educators, donors, the creative industries and voters. 62% said YES to the Arts Tax! All Portland elementary students now have art and music every week and arts organizations receive increased general operating support. Thanks also to the Arts Tax and Multnomah County we have created and launched Arts Equity Grants to support previously underserved populations, brought new organizations into General Operating Support membership, and will soon pilot capacity building opportunities for culturally specific organizations.

The Right Brain Initiative is rapidly growing across the region preparing our youth for productive, creative futures. Public Art continues to thrive especially as our city and counties grow and build—artfully. Work for Art raises more money each year to support arts organizations, while events like Juice and the Battle of the Bands bring arts and business ever closer in creative collaborations and greater contributions.

The years have brought challenges to be sure, but our remarkably resilient arts community has pulled through by helping each other through the worst of it and holding on to that determined spirit. Now more than ever we need to tap into our inclusive values, our beliefs that everyone is welcome here, and do all we can to ensure that arts and culture opportunities are available and accessible to every person here. RACC is committed to this and I know that going forward our resolve will only grow as we learn how best to make equity and inclusion the foundation of all that we do.

What’s next for me? I have no grand plan except that I know I will spend as much of the coming summer as I can outside enjoying this beautiful place, my friends and family. I have a piano I want to befriend, a body and mind that would love to learn yoga, a husband who like me is a travel junkie, and a stunningly sweet 10 month old granddaughter two hours away who doesn’t know it yet, but surely needs a grandmother to dote on her. I also have no intention of disappearing from the arts community I truly love—period.

Thank you to everyone for these wonderful years – to the incredible RACC staff past and present, our amazing Board leadership, and everyone I have had the great fortune to know and work with over 30 years. I am so lucky to have you as colleagues, collaborators, conspirators, and, most of all, friends.


Next up at the Portland Building: Recent additions to the Visual Chronicle of Portland, March 27 – April 21, 2017

A special exhibition focusing on new acquisitions to the Visual Chronicle of Portland opens at the Portland Building on March 27th. The Visual Chronicle of Portland, a collection of original works-on-paper that portray artists’ perceptions of what makes Portland unique, has been steadily growing since its inception in 1985 and now boasts 356 works by over 200 different artists. Sets of individual works from the Chronicle are regularly displayed in various public spaces in the City of Portland and Multnomah County, but this special exhibition offers viewers a unique chance to see these recent acquisitions in one place.

The Visual Chronicle of Portland strives to reflect a diversity of populations, artistic disciplines, and points of view, it represents a living archive, and RACC is committed to engaging and expanding the communities of artists and the range of artistic and cultural expression that it represents.

Viewing Hours & Location: The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. The Visual Chronicle of Portland exhibit will end April 21, 2017.

To browse the collection on line visit the RACC website: Public Art Search.

 


U.S. Senators send President Trump NEA/NEH letter

In light of recent information regarding the possible elimination by the Trump administration of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Americans for the Arts (AFTA) shared a recent letter by twenty-four U.S. Senators.

The letter was sent on February 15, 2017 by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and coordinated with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) to President Trump, in support of the NEA and NEH.

The twenty-two other Senators that signed include our own Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and two GOP members, Senators Capito (R-WV) and Collins (R-ME).

Please read the letter and circulate it in your community.

LINK: AFTA’s advocacy alert


Donations to the Oregon Cultural Trust top $4.5 million for a second consecutive year

Issued by The Oregon Cultural Trust, February 21, 2017

Salem, Ore. – Oregonians invested more than $4.55 million in the Oregon Cultural Trust in 2016, topping the $4.5 million mark for the second straight year. The funds will support cultural organizations across the state.

“Once again Oregonians have shown their commitment to protecting our famous quality of life,” said Cultural Trust Executive Director Brian Rogers. “We are deeply grateful for their commitment to our shared cultural values.”

“It’s another exciting year for the Cultural Trust as our visibility and impact in communities across the state continues to grow,” said Carole Morse, chair of the Cultural Trust Board of Directors. “We appreciate our donors making culture a priority during a very eventful year.”

The total includes $395,787 raised through the Willamette Week Give!Guide, an 11 percent increase over 2015. It also includes an increase in corporate giving, including donations from Intel employees and a subsequent matching gift from the company totaling $38,575, and continued online giving growth.

The donation total for 2016 comes within a few thousand dollars, less than half of one percent, of matching record fundraising results for 2015.

More than half of the money raised will be distributed directly to Oregon’s cultural groups this summer; the remainder will grow the Cultural Trust permanent fund. Cultural Trust grants are distributed through five Statewide Cultural Partners – Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities and the Oregon State Office of Historic Preservation – as well as to 45 county/tribal coalitions and directly to cultural nonprofits via Cultural Development Grants.

For more go to http://culturaltrust.org/blog/news/donations-top-4-5-million-for-second-consecutive-year/ 


Regional Arts & Culture Council welcomes new board members

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) board of directors has welcomed four new members. They include:

  • Eve Connell is a writer, editor and trainer of professionals in communications. She is the managing editor of University of Hell Press and visiting professor for various MA/MFA/MBA programs in California and Oregon, including OCAC and PNCA.

         

  • Katherine Durham is vice president, Individual Disability Insurance and Corporate Marketing & Communications, for Standard Insurance Company. Durham’s experience includes 20 years as a leader in a variety of positions in both start-up and Fortune 500 companies.

         

  • Frances Portillo of Portillo Consulting, International is an international independent consultant specializing in Cross-Cultural Communication, Social and Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution. She has worked in over 33 countries as a presenter, trainer, facilitator and coach.

         

  • James Smith is a member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe of Montana and a descendant of the Warm Springs Tribe of Oregon. He is currently a Financial Analyst for Morrison Child & Family Services, and volunteers as Treasurer for the Concerned Indian Community
    .

RACC board officers include Mike Golub, board chair; Phillip T. Hillaire, vice chair; Eileen L. Day, treasurer; Steve Rosenbaum, secretary and Jan Robertson, chair emeritus.

Other continuing RACC Board members include Nik Blosser, Verlea G. Briggs, Raymond C. Cheung, CPA, Representative Lew Frederick, Debbie Glaze, Osvaldo ‘Ozzie’ Gonzalez, Angela Hult, Dana Ingram, Susheela Jayapal, Parker Lee, Linda McGeady, Brenda L. Meltebeke, Anita Menon, Mitchell Nieman, Joanna Priestley, Shyla M. Spicer and Anita Yap.

Board and staff profiles are available online at racc.org/about/staff-board.


Eloise Damrosch announces retirement

Eloise Damrosch, the executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, has announced her plans to retire on June 30, 2017. From 1987 to 2004, Eloise served as the public art director of RACC and its predecessor organization, The Metropolitan Arts Commission. She was appointed executive director in 2004.

“Eloise’s accomplishments are too many to list,” said RACC board chair Mike Golub. “Inarguably RACC has become a much stronger organization during her tenure. The number of artists, arts organizations and students that we serve has grown exponentially under Eloise’s watch. Our programs and impact on arts and culture in the region have grown dramatically under her stewardship. In short, her impact and imprimatur on the arts community in our region is an indelible one.”

“My time at RACC has been an amazing experience,” said Damrosch. “I have been so fortunate to have worked with smart, talented and creative people internally with our board and staff and externally in the arts and culture, business, government and non-profit communities. Together we have faced challenges and opportunities; celebrated wins; broadened our reach to be ever more inclusive; and pushed ourselves to meet our mission. Happily I will leave RACC with confidence in its future, faith in its staff and board, and a knowledge that our arts and culture community is vibrant and resilient.”

Damrosch has earned a local and national reputation as a respected arts administrator while helping create one of the best-known public art collections in the country. During her tenure of Executive Director, the organization developed an annual workplace giving campaign for the arts, Work for Art; established a comprehensive arts integration program, The Right Brain Initiative; increased the City of Portland and Multnomah County percent-for-art ordinances to 2%; and helped secure the passage of Portland’s voter-approved Arts Tax. Damrosch has also worked closely with RACC’s board of directors to develop a comprehensive agenda for equity and inclusion, transforming the way the organization allocates resources to help ensure that everyone in the region has access to culture and the arts. She is a member of the United States Urban Arts Federation, and recently termed off the Board of the Non-profit Association of Oregon.

RACCs Board of Directors has convened a committee to oversee the search process to find the next Executive Director.  A search firm will be retained in the coming weeks to help conduct the national search.