New Public Art COVID-19 Relief Opportunities

In our continued response to individual artists and creative workers impacted by COVID-19, we have two new public art calls opportunities: a direct purchase of artwork for The Visual Chronicle of Portland and Support Beam, an initiative to commission emerging visual artists making work in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Eligible artists may apply to either or both opportunities.


Eatcho, What have you, pencil and watercolor on paper, 2017

The Visual Chronicle of Portland

A collection of works on paper that portray artists’ perceptions of what makes the city of Portland, Oregon unique. The budget for new acquisitions is $15,000. To serve as many artists as possible, individual pieces must be priced no more than $1,000. 

Submission Closed:
Wednesday, May 27, 2020  


Contact Keith Lachowicz klachowicz@racc.org     

Naomi Shigeta, All the World’s a Stage, oil on panel, 2014. Currently installed at the Emergency Management Coordination Center in Portland, Oregon.

Support Beam

This is intended to strengthen artists towards the production of new work over a period of three to six months. The overall budget for this initiative is $70,000. Selected artists will receive between $3,000 and $5,000. 

Submission Closed:
Friday, June 12, 2020 at 5 p.m. PST. 


Contact Morgan Ritter mritter@racc.org    


Interpretation services available, email info@racc.org

Servicio de interpretación disponible

Предоставляются услуги переводчика

Có dịch vụ thông dịch


New art brings a glow to the city’s iconic Portland Building

Come visit your new art collection at the reconstructed Portland Building

Public art installed in the Portland Building adds a glow to the newly renovated architectural icon. The building has always doubled as a venue to showcase public art and that role has grown with the reconstruction, which includes new pieces commissioned through the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC). RACC’s Public Art Program acquires and cares for publicly owned art.

A local panel of artists, curators, community members and city staff worked for several years to commission and purchase these artworks for the Portland Building as part of the City’s 2% for Art requirement. The current installations, located on the first and second floors of the building, are part of the first phase of art selected and created specifically for the building.

Please note, to protect public health, the Portland Building is currently closed to the public.the City of Portland is postponing the grand reopening of the Portland Building scheduled for Thursday, March 19. All Design Week Portland events are rescheduled for August 2020.

New commissioned artworks installed to date in the Portland Building
Refik Anadol Studio, Data Crystal: Portland
One of the most impactful aspects of the building renovation is the addition of a large window wall and gathering space on the east side facing Chapman Square. Today, people passing by on Fourth Avenue can gaze into the building through the double-height wall of glass and see Refik Anadol Studio’s large-scale, 3-D printed, A.I. data sculpture, Data Crystal: Portland, which was designed specifically for the Portland Building.

The artwork is visible to building visitors from both the first and second floor. It represents the material connections that emerge from invisible interactions between fellow city dwellers by combining art, technology, and the interconnected communities of Portland. Anadol was inspired by the last line of Ronald Talney’s poem, inscribed on the plaque that accompanies Raymond Kaskey’s sculpture Portlandia, “This is how the world knows where we are.”

The visuals projected on to the sculpture were conceived by Anadol in partnership with the mind of a machine, utilizing cutting-edge machine learning algorithms trained on a data set of nine million publicly available photographs and digitized archival documents of Portland. The shape of the 3-D printed structure on which the visuals are projected was also informed by the same data set, but created by using advanced robotic 3D printing and A.I. technologies.

For this artwork, Anadol theorized that with today’s technology, it’s nearly impossible to get lost in this world – both geographically and historically.  With every photograph taken, a digital memory is captured, and a virtual record of a specific time and place is recorded.  These memories are “crystalized” when shared publicly.  When aggregated, the repeated acts of sharing digital memories eventually solidifies the collective memory of a specific place.

Portlandia, Raymond Kaskey
Get up close and personal with the iconic Portlandia statue from a new publicly-accessible balcony, or with a smaller, 3-D print located at the top of the second floor stairs, made with the partnership of local Portland business, Form 3D Foundry. Originally installed in 1985, Portlandia by Raymond Kaskey, is the second-largest hammered-copper (or repoussé) sculpture in the United States, and was rededicated in 2019 as part of the building reconstruction. Tag your photos of either version of this Portland icon to #weareportlandia.

Neither Here Nor There, Shelby Davis and Crystal Schenk
Located on the first floor adjacent to the building’s front entrance, is Neither Here Nor There by husband and wife artist team Shelby Davis and Crystal Schenk. Together the two transformed a huge, 100-year-old silver maple removed from the Laurelhurst neighborhood in 2015. Extracting the tree itself was a labor of love, involving large cranes and slabbing the trunk with a rare ten-foot chainsaw. But the stunning material lives on, reborn, in the renovated building. The installation includes several hand-carved and meticulously crafted wooden benches where visitors can sit, as well as hanging shelves and floating sculptural pieces suspended from the ceiling.

Topography from around the state was computer modeled and fit to some of the biggest boards from the tree’s trunk and then cut to relief on a computer-controlled (CNC) router. Afterward, each piece was carefully glued together, hand carved, and sanded. Glass castings implanted in the floating panoramas, with their shift of scale, create new perspectives on the familiar. Their subtle and grander shapes recall actual time spent in those landscape folds – creating memories and inspiring visitors with a sense of connection and curiosity. Look for local and significant places in Portland and Oregon including neighborhoods, the Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake, Mount Hood, and more.

Portion of Neither Here Nor There, Shelby Davis and Crystal Schenk

We’ve Been Here by Kayin Talton Davis
In the new Lizzie Weeks room to the north of the front entrance is We’ve Been Here by Kayin Talton Davis. The primary focus is Lizzie Weeks, along with images of other Black women establishing lives in Portland at the turn of the century into the 1930s. Talton Davis describes the significance of creating this large, vibrant panel and the research she did to collect stories about the lives of important, but overlooked, women as part of her process. “I went into city archives, Oregon Historical Society,” she said. “I also reached out to other people within the community to get different pictures and stories.” Additional women portrayed include: Lola Ondine Graham Chandler (with her sister), Frances Josephine Harlow Chandler (a Lakeview midwife), women from the Walker family (Rutherford Collection), Beatrice Morrow Cannady and Thelma Johnson Street.

Small Works Collection
Visitors can also enjoy several locations on the first and second floors hung with smaller-scale artworks made by artists from the greater Portland area. There are three artwork zones, each with its own curatorial focus.
Zone One, First Floor – Sublime Landscape – painting by artist Adam Sorensen (not currently installed)
Zone Two, Second Floor – Cityscape – many artists
Zone Three, Second Floor – Social Landscape of Portland, life experience of living in Portland, the cultures, multiplicity of viewpoints, fun and quirkiness of the residents – many artists

On the second floor, comfortable, modern seating is placed next to the second-story balcony, adjacent to the new artworks. Visitors to the balcony area can enjoy expansive views of the park blocks and downtown buildings through the large, window and views of the hanging sculpture Data Crystal: Portland.

Complete list of artists and artworks featured in the “Small Works Collection,” below.

Zone Three, Second Floor – Social Landscape of Portland (north wall) – many artists

Installation Space
Also on the second floor, visitors will find the building’s new Installation Space. Since its start in 1994 the Portland Building’s Installation Space has hosted more than 200 site-specific exhibitions, showcasing and promoting local contemporary artists and reflecting the creative rigor and diversity of Portland. The Regional Arts & Culture Council curates these rotating exhibitions.

The new space will be programmed with interdisciplinary conceptual art work made by regional artists and is envisioned as a way to energize public dialogue, understanding and exposure of visual art, as well as draw new audiences to the public’s new building.

King School Museum of Contemporary Art – KSMoCA
The inaugural exhibition in the Portland Building’s new Installation Space includes a selection of ephemera curated by the Student Curatorial Committee from KSMoCA’s archive.

Photo by MOE of the Student Curatorial Committee in an exhibition they curated at PSU
(left to right: Roz Crews, Solianna, Isaiah, Rocky, JaMiyah, Ana, and Diana with Dr. MLK Jr. school Community Agent Tiffany Robinson)

The King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) is a contemporary art museum inside Dr. MLK Jr. School, an elementary school in Northeast Portland. Creating unusual connections between kids and internationally renowned artists, KSMoCA reimagines the way museums, public schools, and universities can affect people, culture, and perspectives by creating radical intersections for sharing resources across organizations. KSMoCA was founded in 2014 by artists Lisa Jarrett and Harrell Fletcher and is collaboratively developed with the Dr. MLK Jr. School community, PSU students, and a team of artists.

KSMoCA’s Student Curatorial Committee is led by fourth and fifth graders from the school with KSMoCA Program Managers (and artists), Roz Crews and Amanda Leigh Evans. The committee conducts research about local and non-local artists to inform their work as curators of KSMoCA’s MLK Jr. Gallery. As part of this research, students meet with curators, gallerists, and educators to discuss curatorial topics, study books about contemporary artists, and conduct studio visits with local artists. In 2018, this group established a student-run gallery within the museum to display work by their peers in addition to work by local artists in Portland, OR.Learn more: http://www.ksmoca.com/

RACC advocates for public and private investments in the arts, provides grants for artists and arts organizations, manages public art, raises money through workplace giving, conducts arts education in public schools, and provides community services, including workshops for artists, organizational consulting, and a variety of printed and electronic resources. RACC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that receives funding from a variety of public and private partners to serve artists, arts organizations, schools and residents throughout Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. For more information visit racc.org

Get Directions

For information about artworks and artist contacts:
Heather Nelson Kent
Communications Manager, Regional Arts & Culture Council

For Portland Building information:
Heather Hafer
Public Information Officer, Office of Management and Finance

Small Works Collection
Zone Two, Second Floor – Cityscape (near Installation Space)

First Name Last Name Artwork Title Year
Akihiko Miyoshi Protocol 2019
Avantika Bawa Coliseum #4 2017
Avantika Bawa Coliseum, Red Sky 2018
Elena Thomas From the Bridge 2018
Ivonne Saed Sellwood Bridge Construction 1 2015
James Allen Portland Trolley Years 2016
Loren Nelson 3600 NW John Olsen Parkway; Hillsboro, Oregon 1999
Marie Watt Untitled 2012
Marie Watt Part and Whole: Ripple, Hoop, Baron Mill 2011
Michelle Muldrow Portland Trailer 2018
Rory ONeal Overpass Glow – PDX 2019
Ruth Lantz Veil of Density 2015
Gabe Fernandez Audi with 356 cover 2018

Zone Three, Second Floor – Social Landscape of Portland (north wall)

First Name Last Name Artwork Title Year
Deb Stoner Hellebore and Pieris Japonica in Winter 2016
Hsin-Yi Huang The Light Within 2009
Katherine Ace Friends and Neighbors (1) (group of 6) 2019
Rebecca Rodela Abuelito y yo reunidos 2014
Sabina Haque New Portlanders 2019
Stuart Allen Levy Cinco De Mayo 2009

Zone Three, Second Floor – Social Landscape of Portland (south wall)

First Name Last Name Artwork Title Year
Emma Gerigscott Dog Party No. 1 2017
Jo Hamilton The Ruth Nebula – 1948 2018
Sabina Haque HALFIE 2010
Samantha Wall 31 Days series 2017
Oriquidia Violeta Madrina 2019
Ralph Pugay Cattle Rave 2013


State of the Arts annual presentation information

RACC will present its annual State of the Arts report to Portland City Council later is spring of 2020. We invite you to join us and learn how RACC and the City invest taxpayer dollars to support culture, creativity and the arts—and to thank City Council for their support.

Council Chambers is equipped with a sound system for the hearing impaired. Assisted listening devices are available from the Clerk.

The City of Portland will gladly accommodate requests for an interpreter or make other accommodations that further inclusivity. Please make your request at least 72 hours before the meeting to the Council Clerk 503-823-4086. (TTY 503-823-6868). Translation in ASL will be present at our presentation.

City Council meetings can be viewed at www.portlandoregon.gov/video

The meetings are also cablecast on CityNet, Portland Community Media television. Watch CityNet on Xfinity Channel 30 and 330 (in HD) and CenturyLink Channels 8005 and 8505 (in HD).

Regional Arts & Culture Council and Young Audiences announce exciting partnership changes

We are excited to announce that management of The Right Brain Initiative is moving from The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) to Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington (Young Audiences). This expansion of Young Audiences’ role will play to the strengths and expertise of each organization, sustain our long-standing and successful partnership, and ensure the continuity of the program for the students, teachers and schools that we serve. Both boards of directors support the changes.

Over many months we’ve worked together to review our partnership and get a clearer picture of each organization’s strengths, challenges and vision for the future. We both see this as a way of aligning mission with action. Young Audiences will focus on what they do best – providing the programs and services needed to bring together our community’s students and artists. RACC will continue its core grantmaking programs and public art projects, while expanding its advocacy and fundraising programs with a deeper focus on reaching underserved communities. These changes will help both organizations going forward into a new decade and we anticipate a smooth transition.

We are enormously proud of what we have accomplished together through the Right Brain Initiative since its launch over a decade ago and believe that the program’s next decade is just as bright. Young Audiences has been a key part of The Right Brain Initiative since its inception, and has been serving our region for more than 60 years, guided by the mission “to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts.” The Right Brain Initiative aligns perfectly with that mission and Young Audiences looks forward to collaborating with students, educators, artists, families, advocates and supporters to ensure that the program continues to evolve to be responsive to our communities’ needs and to secure its sustainability.

The announcement comes after a year of planning led by RACC’s executive director, Madison Cario. Find out more about changes presented by Cario this week to community partners, city officials, board members and staff that will make the organization more fiscally sustainable and achieve RACC’s vision.

We are both looking forward to another great decade for The Right Brain Initiative!

Madison Cairo, Executive Director                 Cary Clarke, Executive Director
Regional Arts & Culture Council                     Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington


Upcoming Right Brain residencies scheduled at schools will proceed as planned. For questions about in-school programming or upcoming residencies scheduled in your school – contact Kim Strelchun (kstrelchun@therightbraininitiative.org) at Young Audiences. For questions and to learn more about the changes visit Young Audiences here.

Regional Arts & Culture Council sets course for new decade


>>Reorganization will focus resources and programs on artists and underserved communities

PORTLAND, ORE – The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) today announced organization-wide changes to reflect a new vision and priorities. Under the new vision, RACC will continue its core grantmaking programs, public art projects and arts education while expanding its advocacy and fundraising programs with a deeper focus on reaching underserved communities. As part of the changes RACC will eliminate 5 positions that are currently vacant, lay off an additional 15 employees, and hire 15 new positions to support RACC’s new focus areas.

The rollout comes after a year of planning led by RACC’s executive director, Madison Cario, and with the support of the board of directors. Additionally, the proposed changes are responsive to the City of Portland’s audit of RACC in 2018 and the city’s current budget priorities. The changes are effective immediately.

“We take this transition very seriously and deeply appreciate the work of RACC employees, especially those leaving the organization. These changes respond to what we are seeing and hearing from our community, and position RACC to better serve our region today and in the future,” said RACC board chair Linda McGeady.

“When RACC connects artists with resources, opportunities and each other, our communities become stronger. We have a vision of establishing RACC as a champion for arts and culture locally, regionally, and nationally,” stated the City of Portland’s Arts Commissioner, Chloe Eudaly. “The organizational changes proposed by RACC will help us all better achieve that vision.”

Additional details about the restructure include:

• Enhancing public awareness and engaging community members in culture, creativity and the arts through strategic investments and partnerships
• Creating an advocacy team to make the case to the public and partners about the value of arts education and the city’s Arts Education and Access Fund
• Increasing engagement in public art projects and collections, grantmaking and other publicly-funded arts programs and investments managed by RACC
• Demonstrating how the arts build livable communities by connecting to politics, education, economics, development, planning, and civic engagement
• Strengthening relationships with regional elected officials and policymakers at all governmental levels
• Advancing racial equity, diversity, inclusion and access both within the organization and in our work with community partners
• Better measuring and demonstrating the benefits to residents of investments in public art, arts education, arts and culture organizations and individual artists
• Applying best practices from around the country to measure public participation in and perception of the arts as a means of gauging effectiveness and making improvements.

“To achieve this vision, RACC needs to become more fiscally sustainable, diversify our funding sources and streamline our organization,” stated Cario, who took the helm of RACC one year ago following an 18-month national search. They added, “I’m excited to see what we can do when we focus on incubating new ideas, innovating the role of an arts council in today’s world. I am inspired by our staff and board’s commitment to ensuring the arts are accessible to everyone in our community.” The detailed plan was presented this week by Cario to community partners, city officials, board members and staff outlining the changes and reasons. Changes include:

• Shoring up or eliminating unsustainable cost centers – including sunsetting RACC’s workplace giving program
• Moving management of The Right Brain Initiative, an arts integration program, to RACC’s long-time partner Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington, a nonprofit organization
• Creating a dedicated development team at RACC with clear fundraising goals to help increase and diversify revenue
• Better leveraging public dollars to secure new national and local funding
• Reorganizing staff positions to align with organizational changes, simplifying work groups and reporting relationships.

RACC’s year-end report was released in December, highlighting accomplishments in 2019 and celebrating the artists, arts workers and arts educators who make our community stronger. RACC will present its next “State of the Arts” report to the Portland City Council on February 27 at 2:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Heather Nelson Kent at hnkent@racc.org or by phone 503-823-5426 or mobile 503-860-6145.


The Regional Arts & Culture Council is a local arts agency serving 1.8 million residents in the Portland, Oregon metro region including Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. RACC provides grants and technical assistance for artists and nonprofit organizations, with more than 5,000 grants totaling $44 million in the past two decades. RACC also manages a widely-celebrated public art collection of more than 2,200 artworks for the City of Portland and Multnomah County; conducts employee giving campaigns that have raised more than $8.5 million for local arts organizations since 2007; organizes networking events, forums and workshops; and integrates the arts into the broader curriculum for K-8 students through The Right Brain Initiative, serving more than 27,000 students a year. Online at www.racc.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Heather Nelson Kent, Communications Manager, hnkent@racc.org, 503.823.5426

Hank Willis Thomas and Intisar Abioto featured in a new public art project, In—Between

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December  16, 2019 

Portland, Ore – A new temporary public art project has been installed along the median strip on NE Holladay Street between the Oregon Convention Center and the new Hyatt Hotel and parking structure. As part of a new series called In—Between, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) invited Portland-based artist Intisar Abioto and Brooklyn-based artist Hank Willis Thomas to create ten banners, each 10 feet tall, featuring the artists’ words and images. The banners will appear on five posts along NE Holladay Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 1st Avenue through May 31. 

Funding comes from the city’s Percent-for-Art ordinance, which sets aside 2% of the construction costs for Prosper Portland’s new parking garage to create public art. Kimberly Branam, executive director of Prosper Portland, commented, “Art teaches us about ourselves and our community, and we are proud to play a role in honoring the history and culture of the neighborhood through this work.” 

 RACC assembled an artist selection panel composed of community members, artists and representatives from Prosper Portland, the Oregon Convention Center, and Mayer-Reed Landscape Architecture. The panel agreed that goals for the project should include bold artwork that connects to the area’s communities and reflects the general concepts of movement, change, adaptation – addressing a general statement of “where are we going.” 

With this pilot exhibition, the panel seized on an opportunity to feature both internationally acclaimed multi-disciplinary artist Hank Willis Thomas, whose first major retrospective is currently on view at the Portland Art Museum through January 12, and Portland-based artist and storyteller Intisar Abioto.  A Memphis native, Abioto moved to Portland nine years ago with her mother and sisters, and has since gained recognition for her photography and her blog, The Black Portlanders. The intention of her portrait work is to allow the complexity of people’s natures to unfold in the work.   

Julia Dolan, the Minor White Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum, reviewed Thomas’s body of work with Abioto, who quickly gravitated to Thomas’s text-based series “I AM A MAN,” inspired by a 1968 Ernest C. Withers photograph showing a large group of protesters bearing the same message. Thomas’s series of paintings plays with the orientation and wording of the text (A Man I Am, I Be a Man, I Am Many, I Am The Man, etc.), ending with a painting that says, “I am. Amen.” Thomas states, “The greatest revelation should be that we are.”   

In responding to Thomas’s workAbioto stated that her goal was “to honor the lived history and origin of the I AM A MAN statement as expressed through the work and trials of those living through the 1968 Sanitation Worker’s Strike. It was also to illustrate with images the I AM statement as lived in and by Black people in diaspora today.” Abioto selected images from her vast archive that “communicate a deep and internally rooted sense of I AM emanating from the individuals themselves. I AM. WE ARE. These statements are timely, timeless, and true, regardless.” 

Future installations of In—Between will evolve in focus, but will continue to reflect the overall theme of “where are we going.”  This will be the first of a series of temporary installations.  For opportunities to apply for future installations, artists can follow racc.org on Facebook or Instagram, or sign up to receive public art opportunities in their inbox at racc.org/public-art/public-art-email-list/.  


The artworks by Intisar Abioto and Hank Willis Thomas are on display along NE Holladay Street, between Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and 1st Avenue, through May 31. 









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; 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 CONTACT: Jeff Hawthorne, Director of Community Engagement, jhawthorne@racc.org, 503.823.5258.