RACC Volunteer Celebration

A night to celebrate our volunteers. All RACC volunteers are welcome to attend this free event. If you are interested in volunteering with RACC in the future please go to our volunteer site for more information.

Arts and Culture Drive the Economy

Thoughts by Laura Strieb, AEP6 Coordinator

On Monday, November 6th, local arts leaders, and city and county officials gathered for a fabulous night where we were joined by Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts along with representatives from the Oregon Arts Commission to learn and hear the results of a year’s long study and survey regarding the impacts of the Arts on the Economy.

Randy Cohen addressing the AEP6 crowd at Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego.

Every five years, Americans for the Arts galvanizes local arts service organizations to go out and see what audiences at arts and culture events are spending around attending an arts and/or culture experience. We also survey arts and culture nonprofit organizations on their spending, hiring, employment and community engagement to get an accurate picture of how the arts drive the economy.

Even in the wake of COVID-19 and the resulting economic recession, the arts continue to provide a significant boost to recharging the economy in America’s local communities. The arts draws people out of their homes and back into community life—spending time with each other and spending their money within the local communities.

As we know the arts and nonprofit sectors were hit extremely hard by the pandemic shut down. So we definitely need to celebrate all the organizations that survived and were able to still be here today! The Arts show resilience!

Raziah Roushan, Executive Director of Tualatin Valley Creates (TVC) introducing guest speakers.

We excitedly were able to share with the arts community and county/city leaders that the data collected throughout all three counties clearly shows that the arts are a phenomenal Return on Investment (ROI). This data also shows the reason why we need to continue to advocate for deep investments of our arts and culture organizations. They are the change makers and action drivers in our communities.

The numbers back that up.


For those who want to see the tax revenue generated and jobs created – that data is also hard to refute! In the tri-county area, almost 7,000 jobs are generated in the arts and culture sector. This is most certainly an undercount as we are basing these numbers on the arts organizations that responded to our survey and we know there are many many more orgs out there.

Also from our survey results we see how this plays out in the lives people living in our communities as well as how we provide funding back to federal, state and local governments.

Personal Income generated by arts funding by county looks like:

  • Clackamas County : $17.5 Million
  • Multnomah County : $286.1 Million
  • Washington County : $18.8 Million

Government Revenue (Local, State and Federal) by county :

  • Clackamas County : $4.5 Million
  • Multnomah County : $72.1 Million
  • Washington County : $4.9 Million

Bottom line – the Arts are big business and we need to shout it to the rooftops that our policy makers need to continue to invest and work to make bigger investments in the arts and culture sectors throughout our region and state – because not only is it good for our economy, driving jobs, revenue, tax revenue. It builds community.

The arts get people together, get them talking, get them creating. Community is the catalyst to building a brighter future for all of us. The Arts are that driving force.

Raziah Roushan, Executive Director of TVC and Liora Sponko, Senior Program Manager

Oregon Arts Commission

This is our call to action – tell your neighbors, your community, state and federal leaders – that investment in the arts is the key to the communities we all want for our families.


Due to technical difficulty much of the video was lost but the audio remains.


AEP6 Local Org Slides

AEP6 3-County Slides

Request for Qualifications: Albina Library Sculpture Series

Rendering of the art site, exterior southeast view, facing NE Russell Street

Rendering of the art site, exterior southeast view, facing NE Russell Street 

If you would prefer these materials in another language please contact the RACC project team for translation services.

Interpretation services are available, please email info@racc.org.

  • Servicio de interpretación disponible
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  • Có dịch vụ thông
  • 提供口译服务

In partnership with Multnomah County Library (MCL), the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) invites artists/artist teams living in Oregon and Washington to submit qualifications for a series of site-specific exterior artworks located along the new south side entry path and within the new interior courtyard at the soon-to-be renovated Albina Library. One artist/artist team will be selected to create a sequence of mid-scale 3-dimensional sculptural works which will greet library patrons, staff, and visitors as they approach and enter the new building. As part of the Library Capital Building Projects, MCL is renovating and expanding Albina Library which will include a 30,000 sq.ft. addition to the existing Carnegie structure. New features such as large community and meeting rooms, expanded study areas and a dedicated teen space will fill this highly anticipated community hub. Other upgrades include updated technology and internet as well as a new outdoor courtyard which will allow community members to relax and connect. Albina Library, along with the communities it serves, specifically Portland’s African American, Black and Indigenous communities, has a long history of displacement. Returning the library to its historic location on Knott Street is part of the MCL’s larger effort to provide relevant services to people who are experiencing disenfranchisement. The newly renovated and expanded library is in the Boise-Eliot neighborhood and sits just off of the west side of NE Martin Luther King Boulevard between NE Knott Street and NE Russell Street in inner northeast Portland in Oregon. Nearby are other beloved community landmarks including the Matt Dishman Community Center and Wonder Ballroom. The budget available for the commission comes from Multnomah County’s Percent for Art Program and is $125,000, all inclusive. Submissions are due by Monday, December 18, 2023 at 11.59pm PDT.  

Important Dates

  • November 20, 2023 – RFQ launch
  • December 4, 2023 at 6:00pm PDT – Zoom Info Session, RSVP here.
  • December 18, 2023 – Applications due
  • December 2023-February 2024 – Panel review and artist selection including interviews
  • Spring 2024 – Community Engagement and Participatory Design
  • Summer/Fall 2024 – Fabrication
  • Spring 2025 – Artwork complete and installed

Art Opportunity 

We are seeking an artist or artist team to create a series of site-specific exterior sculptural artworks for Albina Library. The sequence of mid-size sculptures will lead people along the new south side entry pathway, beginning at the newly developed library parking lot and initially ending at the main library entrance. The sculptures installed along the exterior of the building, of which we anticipate a minimum of three, will be prominently located. Greeting patrons and staff, the artworks will create a sense of arrival well before entering through the building doors. In addition, these sculptural works will be visible to pedestrian traffic along NE Russell Street contributing to the renewed streetscape of  this revitalized and beloved community resource.

There is potential for the sculpture series to extend and/or culminate in the building’s newly constructed courtyard, an outdoor community space which is easily accessible from inside the library. We anticipate one additional artwork from the series being installed within the courtyard. Patrons, staff, guests and visitors will meander through the central body of the library to reach the courtyard via the main entrance, located on the south side of the site. The courtyard is positioned on the central east side of the library, acting as a connection point between several publicly accessible amenities. The relationship and creative dialogue between these spaces and the artwork should be considered. It is intended for this intimate outdoor oasis to be a place of calm, reflection and respite for patrons and staff alike.

The series of original sculptural artworks will be integrated with the landscape design of both the entry path and outdoor courtyard, evoking themes of growth, diversity and community. Due to the notable installation sites for the sequence of sculptures, views of the artworks from all angles should be considered. Similarly, pedestrian traffic from the parking lot and along the street will benefit from close interaction with the sculptures located on the exterior and interior of the building. We expect aspects of the exterior artwork to translate to scale so that the sculptures can also be enjoyed from a distance as people travel by car and public transportation along NE Russell Street.

Exact locations for the free-standing artworks are to be determined in conjunction with RACC and the project team depending on the final size, scale and material of the sculptures. In collaboration, the building project/construction team, selected artist(s) and RACC will work to provide foundations and a stub out for power for each sculpture, which can be used for lighting the artworks, if necessary and required. All other materials and construction are the responsibility of the artist with RACC’s support. The artist(s) will be responsible for delivering a series of completed artworks installed on site as a final deliverable. The artist(s) and RACC will coordinate installation with the project team, construction contractor and any third party vendors, where necessary.

The design team has stewarded an extensive series of engagement sessions with the local community over the last year or so and it is expected for the selected artist(s) to build upon that foundation. There is a deep desire for the diverse range of populations whom the library serves to be reflected and represented within the artwork. The sculpture series may represent multiple stories or weave together threads of a single narrative. The intention is to ignite imaginations and encourage contemplation. Both art installation sites include outdoor seating, meaning guests may wish to linger in these spaces. As the exterior sculptures will be the first pieces of public art visible as people arrive at the library, it is vital for these artworks to generate a sense of place, welcome and belonging that the surrounding communities, neighbors, MCL staff and visitors can feel aligned with and proud of.

MCL and RACC believe this project could be a professional development opportunity for an artist or artist team who are eager to expand their portfolio and practice, specifically in terms of fabrication and use/range of mediums, due to the support and technical assistance available from RACC and other project partners. Established artists, artists with experience working in sculpture at smaller scales and/or those who are exploring this medium are encouraged to apply.

Information Session

  • Monday December 4, 2023 at 6.00pm PDT on Zoom with Sophie from RACC joined by members of the Albina Library project team. RSVP here.

We strongly encourage you to attend the info session, especially if you are a first-time applicant. The project team will share information about this opportunity and outline how to submit application materials. If you have questions about the Zoom info session or need any accommodations in order to attend, please email project manager, Sophie, at shook@racc.org. .

Artwork Goals and Qualities

The goal is for the many works of art at the library to be representative of, and informed by, the myriad of communities that live, work and play in Eliot/Boise, and other surrounding neighborhoods of north and northeast Portland, in particular under-represented and marginalized communities. Communities served by Albina Library should be reflected in the new works of art through innovative and original visioning, artistic  expression and creative storytelling. There is a deep desire for the Sculpture Series to instill a sense of place and belonging, creating a warm, inviting and welcoming environment where imagination, interests and engagement can be inspired.

Through conversations during the community engagement process, led by LEVER Architecture and Noll & Tam Architects in collaboration with MCL, one important aspiration that was shared for the artwork at Albina Library was that it have a tangible sense of permanence. Given the history of displacement for Black and Indigenous community members in the neighborhood, and beyond, it was suggested that the selected artist(s) consider, in their creative process, the diverse local histories and experiences of those marginalized communities, acknowledging their richness and multiplicity. The community is desiring spaces which reflect their spirit and stories, where their cultures, values and histories can be expressed and celebrated.

In discussion with the community and MCL team members, we are anticipating artwork that invokes a sense of whimsy, wonder, magic and joy. Artwork that can honor the past while also creating space to explore greater possibilities for the future. It is also important to consider the longevity of the sculptures. How the artwork will evolve over time as the neighborhood shifts, ensuring that the artwork and community grow alongside one another, maintaining a bond, deepening their connection and continuing to be in dialogue together. Further collective visioning, through engagement with the community, will likely inspire even more creative suggestions. The Sculpture Series should take these design directives into consideration, complementing the overall building architecture, exterior and interior design palette and aligning with the overall goals to represent and reflect the local community in the space.

Literal interpretations or representations of these concepts, goals and qualities in the artwork is not expected. These ideas are shared as considerations, not limitations, and to offer context of the community feedback received so far.


The selected artist/artist team will receive $125,000 for this opportunity to create a series of mid-size, 3-dimensional, site-specific, exterior sculptural artworks. This fee is inclusive of all project expenses including artist fees, design development, materials, fabrication, installation, community engagement and communication/coordination with the design team, construction team and third-party contractors who may help to fabricate and install the artwork.

Community Engagement

Community engagement is a central component within all of the RACC and MCL Library Capital Building Projects, guided by these aligned project principles. As such, we are seeking an artist/artist team who welcomes and reflects the diverse communities that are served by Albina Library within their process and work. Genuine understanding and demonstration of community engagement practices in existing artistic practice, past work and/or other key areas of experience where skillsets may be transferable, such as teaching, mentorship, community organizing, care work and other non-typical/non-traditional examples of embedding community into process and practice, are highly desirable.

The broader community that will be served by the library have been invited to participate in the design process so far by contributing their experiences and ideas through open houses, tabling events, virtual meetings, leave-behind boards, and community conversations. An array of design priorities emerged during these engagements with community members and key stakeholders which should be considered by the artist(s) and more details can be found in the supplemental materials. Beyond that, feedback and other results from the community engagement process so far, including demographics, can be shared with the selected artist/artist team to ensure authentic understanding and representation of the local communities.

While there is no requirement for the artist/artist team to conduct community engagement sessions as part of this commission, if the artist(s) has a current practice around this work and would like to embed that into their process for the project it can be supported and would be encouraged. For example, prior to finalizing a design, the selected artist/artist team could plan and facilitate engagement sessions to meet with community stakeholders to gather further information and insight into the library, community and area. During that time, the artist(s) could welcome and encourage community participation within the design phase, seeking feedback, input and inspiration from key stakeholders to ensure the final artwork meets the intended goals as outlined above, specifically community representation. RACC and the project team is able to work with neighboring community partners to provide venues to host such community engagement events. Interpretation, translation and other access services can be made available, if needed, and coordinated through MCL and/or RACC, if enough time is given in advance.

The artist(s) should expect that working or in-progress design materials and narratives may be requested for wider community communication updates and will be coordinated in conjunction with the project team.

About the Library Capital Building Project

As part of the Library Capital Building Projects, MCL is expanding Albina Library to provide additional space and an enjoyable experience for all through upgrades to the existing building. Located between NE Rodney Avenue and NE Martin Luther King Boulevard on NE Knott Street in the Boise-Eliot neighborhood of north/northeast Portland, Oregon, the existing 3,500 square foot historic Carnegie library will be updated and expanded to 30,000 square feet. The revised site will include an outdoor courtyard and new main entrance, on the south side of the building facing NE Russell Street, which creates the opportunity for a series of site-specific sculptural artworks. Click here to learn more and view the Albina Library fly-through.

The renovation and expansion of Albina Library is part of the first phase of the Library Capital Building Projects and will be one of the first to reopen, currently scheduled for Spring 2025.


This opportunity is open to artists/artist teams based in Oregon and Washington. If applying as a team, at least one member must meet the residence eligibility requirement. Those with significant current or past connections, or those with interest and ability to create meaningful connections, to Albina Library, the Boise-Eliot neighborhood and other surrounding neighborhoods and communities served by the library in north/northeast are preferred. Applicants who have an interest in and/or experience with community engagement processes, including social practice, which inform their approach and art practice are strongly encouraged to apply. Significant consideration will be given to artists who have experience working intergenerationally and with residents from historically marginalized and displaced communities to develop their artwork, in particular Black and Indigenous communities. Artists who have demonstrable lived experience and alignment with communities of color as well as immigrant and refugee communities will be prioritized.

MCL and RACC are committed to reflecting the cultural richness of our city by promoting opportunities for emerging and historically underrepresented artists. Artists/artist teams representing communities of color are strongly encouraged to apply. RACC is committed to engaging new communities of artists and expanding the range of artistic and cultural expression represented in the County’s public art collection.

The selected artist/artist team must be able to create, complete and deliver their artwork by Spring 2025.

Selection Process

At this time, the selection process will be entirely virtual. A selection panel composed of Multnomah County Library representatives, local artists, community members and north/northeast County residents, Library Building Project team members and Albina Library design team members will review artists’ submissions and choose more than one finalist to invite to  interview for the commission.

Overall, the purpose of the interview is to allow the artist(s) and panel to meet each other and engage in a mutually beneficial and informative conversation. It’s an opportunity for the artist(s) to better understand the context of the project and the intentions the selection panel has for the final art piece. Both parties are given the chance to ask questions and determine best alignment and artist selection for the project. After the interviews are completed, the selection panel will choose a final artist/artist team to award the public art opportunity to. The selected artist(s) will then be issued a Design Phase contract during which they may meet with the community and will create a proposal that includes a design for the Sculpture Series, a budget and a timeline. Following approval of the final design by the artist selection panel, the artist(s) will then enter into a Fabrication Contract with RACC.

Criteria for selecting semifinalists for interviews are (1) quality of past work as demonstrated in submitted images; (2) ability and interest in creating site-specific artwork; (3) how past artwork has fit one or more of the general goals described above, specifically community engagement and designing with stakeholder communities, through demonstrated processes and/or final design; (4) existing, interest in and/or ability to create connections to Albina Library, Boise-Eliot, other surrounding neighborhoods and communities served by the library.

Please note the selection panel reserves the right to select an artist who does not directly apply to this call, if appropriate. Likewise, the panel maintains the option to make no selection from submitted applications and to reopen the selection process or propose other methods of selection if no applicant is accepted.

How to Apply 

All application materials must be submitted through the RACC Opportunity Portal, an online application system. Applicants will need to create an account, or log into their existing account at https://racc.org/apply. If you are applying as a team, please assign one person to apply and be the point of contact on behalf of the team.

Submissions due Monday, December 18, 2023 at 11.59pm PDT.

Application Materials

  • Artist bio/resume. Upload a PDF, no more than two pages, that outlines your creative activities, artistic accomplishments and experience with community engagement. If applying as a team, submit one PDF that includes a bio/resume for all team members.
  • Statement of interest. Applicants are invited to submit their responses to the prompts below either in a written statement* or in an audio or video statement**. Please outline the following:
    • Your interest in this project
      • Why this project, its focus and themes are of interest to you
      • Why you would be a good match for the project
      • How do you foresee your work connecting to the mission and values of the project
    • Describe your capacity and/or experience to complete the scope of work
    • Explain why you value community engagement in your artistic process and share past examples of successfully incorporating community visions, values and voices into a project
      • What is your approach to community engagement
      • How has community engagement impacted your process
      • How has community engagement informed your art-making practice and the end results of your work
    • If you are applying as a team, describe your individual roles on the team and how you anticipate working together
  • Up to 8 past work samples. These work samples are the primary way the quality of your work will be judged. Provide up to two images, no larger than 5MB each, for each work sample. For each image, please provide title, artist name, media, dimensions, year completed, budget and location. Conceptual information is desirable but not required.

*Written statement: 3000 characters or less

**Audio or video statement: Upload an audio/voice or video recording no longer than 2 minutes

Once you have started your application, you can save after each step and sign out. Your application will be saved as a draft that you can continue to work on, as needed. Please note that after you click “Submit,” your application is final and no further edits can be made.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us throughout the process.


We are here to support and assist you! If you have questions about the overall opportunity or the RACC application portal,  would like to set up a time for a phone/video call or have any other needs for assistance please email project manager Sophie at shook@racc.org.

If you would like to be considered for this opportunity and don’t have a computer or online access, please feel free to contact RACC for support. Also, if you prefer these materials in another language you can contact the RACC project team  for translation services.

We strongly encourage you to submit your application with enough time for any questions to be answered prior to when submissions are due as enquiries received towards the end of that period may not be responded to. We appreciate your understanding and consideration of our capacity.

Interpretation services are available, please email info@racc.org.

  • Servicio de interpretación disponible
  • Предоставляются услуги переводчика
  • Có dịch vụ thông
  • 提供口译服务

Supplemental Materials

Albina Library RFQ Supplemental Materials

Regional Arts & Culture Council and Port of Portland Announce Selection of PDX Phase 1 Terminal Redevelopment Artists

Left: Sanford Biggers, photography by Matthew Morrocco. Right: Yoonhee Choi, photography by Samuel Gehrke.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 16, 2023

Portland, OR – The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) in collaboration with the Port of Portland (Port) is pleased to announce the selection of two artists, Yoonhee Choi and Sanford Biggers. Both artists will be creating a unique artwork to be permanently installed in the new main terminal facility at Portland International Airport (PDX). Choi and Biggers’s artworks will both be a part of the first phase of the terminal core (TCORE) redevelopment project for PDX — the keystone project in an overall $2 billion renovation. Choi and Biggers’ projects will be on display with the opening of the new terminal in May 2024. These are the first of many artworks to be commissioned for TCORE.

Yoonhee Choi (Portland, OR) will be composing an artwork design for two glass walls located in the pre-security queuing area for both North and South TSA security checkpoints. Her first commissioned public artwork, Choi’s two 56-foot long, 11-foot high glass walls will be visible from both the concourse connector passageway and from the security queuing area. These large scale works will be  site-specific compositions developed from Choi’s mixed media collages, which are both whimsical and structured in their design. View images of Choi’s work and full artist bio.

Sanford Biggers (NYC, NY) will be creating two large scale, signature artworks that will be suspended from the ceiling in an area between both entries of the concourse connector passageway and situated around the concession’s pavilions. These post-security artworks will greet travelers once they pass through the TSA checkpoints. This work is Biggers’s first commissioned public artwork in the Pacific Northwest and these sculptures will be in dialogue with his quilt-based works which he has engaged with since 2009 titled the Codex series. View images of Biggers’s work and a full artist bio.

“When we opened the request for proposals last year, in partnership with the RACC, our goal was to create opportunities for historically underrepresented artists and to elevate the visibility of unique perspectives at PDX,” said Wendy Given, Port of Portland Art Program Manager. “With the selection of Yoonhee Choi and Sanford Biggers, I believe we’re meeting those goals. They are both world-class artists, and it will be a privilege to have their stellar work integrated into the fabric of PDX for thousands of travelers to experience every day.”

Yoonhee Choi – “As an immigrant and Portland-based artist, I am especially excited to have this opportunity to create such a significant artwork that will help represent our city to the world. A focus of my practice is creating site-specific artwork that responds to its individual situation and surroundings. I am inspired by the soaring and sensitive design of the PDX redevelopment and captivated by how an airport is the portal at the beginning and end of so many meaningful and memorable journeys.”

Sanford Biggers – “I’m thrilled to showcase a large-scale permanent installation as part of the PDX Terminal Redevelopment Project and for the occasion to be in dialogue with the rich artistic heritage in the Northwest. The unique opportunity of this project and the architecture designed by ZGF Architects inspires me to consider how I can create an artwork that responds directly to the context of a space that embodies transition, energy, interaction, movement, and potential.”

“RACC is simply elated with these selections and our opportunity to continue our partnership with the Port of Portland, and the Arts Selection team there,” said Kristin Calhoun Director of Public Art. “The choice of these artists through an art panel managed by RACC is emblematic of the work we strive to do every day. With Yoonhee Choi, it’s working with the amazing artists in our region by assisting them in the process of developing and transitioning their studio art practice into their first public art commission. Working with Sanford Biggers and his team has been a joy and we at RACC are very proud to be a part of bringing his first Pacific Northwest public artwork to the PDX Airport.”

Contact Information

About the Regional Arts & Culture Council

The Regional Arts & Culture Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides impactful and transformative funding for artists and nonprofit organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties; manages an acclaimed public art program; leads an advocacy and arts education program; and offers a wide range of technical and professional development workshops. RACC advocates for equity, inclusion, and access, working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity, and the arts. We remain steadfast in our mission to enrich every neighborhood we serve. For more information, please visit racc.org.

About Port of Portland

With three airports, four marine terminals, and five business parks, the Port of Portland is an economic engine for transforming the region into a place where everyone is welcome, empowered, and connected to the opportunity to find a good job or grow their business. The Port works to pull down barriers and provide access to people and local businesses who have been left out of the region’s economic growth—including people of color, low-income workers, and people with disabilities. Collectively, the Port leads big projects in the region, including expanding PDX airport and making it more accessible and efficient; transforming a former marine terminal into a site for innovation in the housing construction and mass timber industries; and providing more options for Pacific Northwest businesses to send their products around the world. For more information, visit www.PortofPortland.com

Artists Chosen for Mural Project at Arbor Lodge Shelter Lead with a Community-Centric Approach


November 14, 2023

Meech Boakye, Communications Lead, RACC, mboakye@racc.org

Sophie May Hook, Public Art Project Manager, RACC, shook@racc.org

Portland, OR – The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), in partnership with Multnomah County, the Joint Office of Homeless Services and Do Good Multnomah, proudly announces the selection of artists Lillyanne Pham (LP/she/they) and Paola De La Cruz (she/her) for the creation of a new exterior mural at the Arbor Lodge Shelter, anticipated to be unveiled in the spring of 2024. The mural will be a visual cornerstone of the shelter’s renovation, aimed at providing a range of support and services to North Portland’s houseless community.

Lillyanne Pham, a second-generation Vietnamese artist and cultural organizer, creates through a systemic consciousness framework, focusing on place-based justice and racial equity. LP’s collaborative partner, Paola De La Cruz, of Dominican heritage, weaves digital and analog media into narratives exploring cultural identity and interpersonal growth. Together, they’ve created a collaborative artistic practice, Qué Lo Gì, known for conceiving socially engaged projects that bridge individual stories with communal experiences which resonate with diverse local communities.

Qué Lo Gì, Website, @que_lo_gi

Lillyanne Pham, Website, @lillyannepham

Paola De La Cruz, Website, @happynappystudio

About the Arbor Lodge Shelter Mural Project 

The artwork is developed in coordination with RACC through the Multnomah County Percent for Art Program. The project seeks to add vibrancy to the shelter’s north and west exterior walls, invoking a powerful visual statement at the busy intersection of N Lombard St and N Denver Ave. The artist team of Qué Lo Gì will create an original artwork in collaboration with the local community, instilling a sense of welcome, belonging and joy for the shelter guests and neighborhood alike.

About the Shelter

The Arbor Lodge Shelter, a former pharmacy purchased using federal COVID-19 funding, was first used in February 2021 as a severe weather shelter before going on to serve as a year-round emergency shelter that combined an indoor sleeping space with sleeping pods in its parking lot. Now, as part of an ongoing shelter expansion by the Joint Office of Homeless Services, funded by the Supportive Housing Services Measure, the Arbor Lodge Shelter is being renovated into a long-term, purpose-built 24/7 shelter through reservation/referral only, focused on serving up to 106 people in the community and North PDX area.

The Joint Office of Homeless Services oversees the delivery of services to people experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County. The office represents a shared commitment between Multnomah County and the City of Portland to address homelessness by providing housing assistance, shelter, outreach, case management and other services.

Community-Centric Approach

The approach to this project is deeply rooted in community engagement and trauma-informed design. Pham and De La Cruz will work closely with shelter guests, local community members, and other key stakeholders to ensure that the mural is informed by their collective voice and the cultural richness of North Portland.

“RACC is thrilled to steward this project in collaboration with our partners at Multnomah County, the Joint Office of Homeless Services and Do Good Multnomah. We recognize the immense value this facility will add to the North Portland area and understand that having meaningful art experiences at the site is instrumental in healing and supporting people through life’s challenges. In addition to making fabulous artworks for the public realm, Lillyanne and Paola bring a depth and care in their creation process that we are grateful to have as part of this project. We look forward to the mural becoming a joyous and impactful sight for all those in the neighborhood” Salvador Mayoral IV, Senior Public Art Manager of the Regional Arts & Culture Council

To learn more about the Arbor Lodge Shelter mural project, the artists, or to schedule an interview with RACC or the project team, please contact Sophie May Hook at shook@racc.org.

About the Regional Arts & Culture Council

The Regional Arts & Culture Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides impactful and transformative funding for artists and nonprofit organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties; manages an acclaimed public art program; leads an advocacy and arts education program; and offers a wide range of technical and professional development workshops. RACC advocates for equity, inclusion, and access, working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity, and the arts. We remain steadfast in our mission to enrich every neighborhood we serve.

Portland Ranked 16th Among the 20 Most Arts-Vibrant Large Communities in the Nation

The 8th Annual Arts Vibrancy Index from SMU DataArts Compiles List of 40 Most Vibrant Arts Communities Across the U.S., Based on Measures of Per Capita Supply, Demand and Government Support for the Arts.

SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, today released its 8th Arts Vibrancy Index, which identifies the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro region as number 16 in the list of 20 Large communities in the United States through an analysis of the level of supply, demand, and government support for the arts in more than 900 communities across the country. Organized into three separate lists based on community population size, totaling 40 communities across the country, this year’s Arts Vibrancy Index is the first to include numerical rankings since 2020, a reflection of arts organizations returning to in-person activities and performances following the easing of pandemic restrictions. Portland, along with its neighbors Vancouver and Hillsboro, has consistently appeared on the Arts Vibrancy Index since 2016. This year, the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area is ranked sixteenth on the annual list of the 20 most arts-vibrant large communities in the nation.

Related research by SMU DataArts shows that Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) like the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) are powerful catalysts of arts vibrancy which ensure that the arts remain an integral part of community life. RACC was built by community for community. For almost three decades, RACC has stood by our mission and values: To enrich our communities through arts and culture and create a thriving region, powered by creativity, bringing arts and culture to every neighborhood.

Arts-vibrant communities can be found in every region of the United States—a finding which arises from an objective analysis of the data, and not from selecting communities by hand to achieve geographic representation. “The arts and culture sector was hit hard by the pandemic, and some organizations and communities are still recovering. The Index is an opportunity for communities to affirm and celebrate the individuals and organizations that are the sources of arts vibrancy in their region, whether that’s artists who have mastered a local craft tradition over generations, a cultural festival that families enjoy year after year, or a cherished historic theater, museum, or arts-education center. For organizations, funders, local citizens, and public officials, the Arts Vibrancy Index is a powerful resource that leverages data-driven evidence to illuminate how the arts contribute to an area’s economy and public life,” stated Dr. Zannie Voss, Director of SMU DataArts. “One way that public leaders can spark arts vibrancy in their communities is by expanding funding for local arts agencies, which spurs arts employment, stimulates more artistic activity, and increases the strength of geographically dispersed arts-vibrant cultural resources throughout communities.”

In addition to the top arts-vibrant communities listed in the Arts Vibrancy Index, arts-vibrancy scores for every county in the United States can be viewed on an interactive map that identifies arts and cultural strengths that are present in every community. (Also known as Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas, these communities have boundaries that are defined by the United States Census Bureau.)

Large Communities (population: 1 million +)

    1. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA
    2. New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ
    3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
    4. Boston, MA
    5. Philadelphia, PA
    6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
    7. Frederick-Gaithersburg-Rockville, MD
    8. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
    9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
    10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
    11. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
    12. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
    13. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
    14. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
    15. Pittsburgh, PA
    16. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
    17. Seattle-Bellevue-Kent, WA
    18. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI
    19. Chicago-Naperville-Evanston, IL
    20. St. Louis, MO-IL

View additional lists and information here.

Groundbreaking Study Reveals Economic and Social Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Culture


Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study Centers Equity in Economic Research and Highlights Vital Role of Arts and Culture in Building More Livable Communities

PORTLAND, OR. – The Regional Arts & Culture Council announced today that Multnomah County nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $400,700,004 in economic activity in 2022 in Multnomah County, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts. That economic activity – $400,700,004 in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $4,495,889 in event-related spending by their audiences supported 5,841 jobs and generated a total of $72,062,487 in local, state, and federal government revenue in the County. Spending by arts and culture audiences generates valuable commerce to local merchants, a value-add that few other industries can compete with.

Building on its 30-year legacy as the largest and most inclusive study of its kind, AEP6 uses a rigorous methodology to document the economic and social contributions of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. The study demonstrates locally as well as nationally, arts and culture are a critical economic driver of vibrant communities.

Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry—one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.

“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses, and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities.”

AEP6 represents a reset from its previous versions, establishing a new benchmark in the AEP study series.

  • Social Impact: For the first time, AEP6 expands beyond the economic and financial data to include social impact measurements of arts and culture’s effect on the well-being of communities and residents.
  • Equity and Inclusion: AEP6 broke new ground by prioritizing equity, community engagement, and inclusivity. With the goal of reducing systemic bias, Americans for the Arts transformed its approach and expanded the inclusion and participation of organizations serving or representing BIPOC- (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA- (African, Latine, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities.

Nationally, the extensive research reveals proportional economic and community impacts among attendees at BIPOC and ALAANA organizations to the overall national average. These findings should initiate new, and escalate existing, critical funding conversations about BIPOC and ALAANA organizations receiving fair and proportional financial support.

Key figures from the City of Portland’s AEP6 study include:

  • The City of Portland nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $4,589,494 in event-related spending by its audiences.
  • The typical attendee spends 36.45 per person per event, not including the cost of admission.
  • 32.1% of arts and culture attendees were from outside the county in which the activity took place. They spent an average of $55.21. All vital income for local merchants.
  • 87.2% of respondents agreed that the activity or venue they were attending was “a source of neighborhood pride for the community.”
  • 87.9% said they would “feel a sense of loss if that activity or venue was no longer available.”

By measuring arts and culture’s wide-ranging impact, public and private sector leaders can work together to secure funding and arts-friendly policies that shape more vibrant and equitable communities. The full report, a map of the 373 study regions, and a two-page economic impact summary for each, can be found at AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org.

Read more and access study findings here. Join us on Monday, November 6th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm PST at Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego for a a comprehensive exploration of Tri-County reports in collaboration with Oregon Arts CommissionTualatin Valley Creates, and Clackamas County Art Alliance.

Virtual Engagement

Event Livestreamed on Zoom from 6-7 pm Register now!

Media Contact: Mario Mesquita, mmequita@racc.org

About the Regional Arts & Culture Council

An independent nonprofit organization, we support greater Portland’s creative economy by providing equitable funding and services to artists and art organizations; managing and growing our diverse, nationally acclaimed public art program; and developing long-lasting public and private partnerships.

For more information visit racc.org.

About the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was supported by The Ruth Lilly Endowment Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts’ 297 study partners contributed both time and financial support to the study.

For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study, visit AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org.

Krystal Perez’s Vibrant Caribbean Dreams Heat Up NE Portland in Fresh Paint Collaboration

Image Caption: Sueños Tropicales (2023) by Krystal Pérez. Photograph by the artist.

The mural is now on view at Open Signal on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd as part of Fresh Paint, a partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council

PORTLAND, ORE. – October 17, 2023 A new mural by artist Krystal Pérez brings vibrant Caribbean imagery to a busy NE Portland thoroughfare. The mural, titled Sueños Tropicales, is the latest installment of Fresh Paint, an innovative public arts initiative from partners the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal. The public is invited to view it through April at Open Signal’s wall on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, between Graham and Knott Streets.

Sueños Tropicales pays tribute to Perez’s ancestors as well as the flora and fauna of Cuba and Miami. The artwork, portrayed in vivid sunset hues, sets a dreamy scene where plants, wildlife, and culturally-significant objects create a connection between the past and the present. It celebrates the uniqueness of the Caribbean experience within Latine culture while inviting the viewer to explore and appreciate their own roots.

Krystal Pérez is a first-generation Cuban-American artist from Miami currently based in Portland. Her work celebrates Cuban heritage by emphasizing everyday experiences — cuisine, family life — as well as her memories of growing up in South Florida. This mural builds on her multimedia experience and unique approaches to color in a new exploration of scale and technique.

Sueños Tropicales is the twelfth installment in the Fresh Paint mural series, following previous works by artists including Rob Lewis, Zeinab Saab, Jose Valentine Ruiz, and others. Since 2017, this collaboration from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal has supported emerging artists of color by offering a unique opportunity to showcase their talent in the public realm. Participating artists gain valuable professional experience and develop new skills for their artistic practice, leading to further public commissions.

“Each new Fresh Paint mural shows us that a personal work of art can speak to people across experiences and add to the character and feeling of a neighborhood,” said Daniela Serna, Open Signal’s Communications Manager and Fresh Paint facilitator. “By centering artists and investing in their stories, we hope to nurture a thriving and inclusive future for all Portlanders.”

See more from the artist at quasikrystal.art.



Daniela Serna, Communications Manager
Open Signal
daniela [at] opensignalpdx.org
(503) 288 – 1515 x931

Meech Boakye, Communications Lead
Regional Arts & Culture Council
mboakye [at] racc.org

About Open Signal

Open Signal is an equity-driven media arts center located in Northeast Portland, Oregon. The largest community media space in the Pacific Northwest, we offer production studios and equipment, workshops, artist fellowships, a cable and online broadcast platform, and a professional media production team. We focus on telling stories underrepresented in the mainstream media.

Learn more at opensignalpdx.org.

About the Regional Arts & Culture Council

An independent nonprofit organization, we support greater Portland’s creative economy by providing equitable funding and services to artists and art organizations; managing and growing our diverse, nationally acclaimed public art program; and developing long-lasting public and private partnerships.

For more information visit racc.org.