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

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.


The Arts Propel Communities Forward

Laura Streib, AEP6 Coordinator

For the last year, RACC and Americans for the Arts have been connecting communities through arts and culture events throughout Multnomah County and the City of Portland.

By attending a myriad of events and connecting with attendees, as well as nonprofit organizations, we have been able to get a clear picture of what the arts landscape provides in terms of an economic recovery as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 shutdowns.

One thing we found crystal clear from all the events we were able to attend is just how grateful people are to get out and be part of cultural events again. The need to be able to connect with others is deep and profound.

The results of the surveys provide incredible insight into how the arts and culture nonprofit sector specifically has been resilient in working hard to bring us together and continue to make Portland and Multnomah County the creative and unique place it has always been. A quick overview –

By the Numbers

  • 12,280 jobs and $6 million dollars in household income from working in the arts/nonprofit sector
  • $19.9 Million in local tax revenue generated
  • $25.5 Million in State tax revenue generated
  • $114.6 Million in Federal Tax revenue generated

The ripple effects out into the greater economy can be seen and felt in event-related spending that totaled $331.2 million dollars. When people go out to experience a play or concert or gather for a cultural experience – everyone benefits.

For example, the coffee shop or restaurant where someone stops before or after a show, the drinks enjoyed in the lobby, or the childcare spent to enjoy a night without the kids. All this adds up.

At one event we attended at the Old Church Concert Hall, we had a fascinating conversation with two friends who had driven down from Seattle to attend the sold-out concert. When they started filling out the survey, they realized all of the extra costs associated with what they thought was just a concert.

They paid for gas on their drive down to Portland, they stayed overnight in a local Airbnb, and they went out for dinner, drinks, and coffee. One individual bought a T-shirt from the concert and a vinyl record. Throughout our conversation, it became clear that the arts are an important driving force in our economy.

We know the world has changed dramatically since the last AEP study was released. The data from that last study has helped individual artists apply for grants, assisted organizations in strategic planning, and even shaped planning and policy in Troutdale. Those effects continue to resound today. Data from the AEP5 study was used by the Economic Development Coordinator in Troutdale to push their city leaders to extend the Troutdale Arts Festival into a weekend-long event that closed the main street in old town Troutdale. Having the data of the arts driving economy was the push the city decision-makers needed to implement this new festival which now draws thousands of people each summer. This has led to more concerts in the park, movie nights, and other cultural events throughout the summer in East Multnomah County.

Arts and Culture are major drivers of our economy and are something our city officials and elected leaders need to be mindful of as we continue to emerge from these continued uncertain times. As Oregon is ranked 41st in terms of public dollars invested in Arts and Culture, we need to do more to leverage the creative economy for the betterment of our communities.

The arts mean business in the Greater Portland area. 

Save the Date!

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), in collaboration with Oregon Arts Commission, Tualatin Valley Creates, and Clackamas County Art Alliance, is excited to unveil the recently released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study, a comprehensive exploration from Americans for the Arts into how arts breathe life and dollars into our economy.

Join us on Monday, November 6th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm PST at Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego (Map). Secure Your Spot!

Update from the RACC Board – October 3rd, 2023

“The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) has a strong, passionate, and capable team of professionals who have dedicated their lives to RACC’s mission: To enrich our communities through arts and culture. This good work continues to support our community of artists. RACC continues to provide its services to the Portland metro area with careful financial management.

To that end, the RACC board of directors has placed executive director Carol Tatch on temporary paid administrative leave while the board exercises its due diligence and oversees an independent investigation. This step is taken out of an abundance of caution to continue to demonstrate RACC’s integrity in overseeing taxpayer dollars provided by the City of Portland, Metro, and Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties. Since this is an internal personnel matter, and the board respects privacy, we cannot share further information at this time.

RACC maintains the City’s decision to cut arts program funding after this fiscal year is a mistake that hurts all Portland area residents, by removing control of arts funding decisions from the community and placing those decisions back into the hands of government officials. The Portland community spoke almost three decades ago: Arts funding decisions belong with the community, not the government.”

– Debby Garman, Interim Board Chairperson, RACC