RACC Blog

The Regional Arts & Culture Council to Participate in National ‘Arts & Economic Prosperity 6’ Study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2022

Data Collection for Most Comprehensive Study of Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry has begun in May

Portland, Oregon — The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to announce its participation in Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States. Administered by Americans for the Arts, AEP6 will examine the economic impact of the arts and culture in Multnomah County and 386 additional communities representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity® series is conducted approximately every five years to gauge the economic impact of spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and the event-related spending by their audiences. In 2017, AEP5 documented that the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity (spending by organizations plus the event-related spending by their audiences) which supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue. The AEP series demonstrates that an investment in the arts provides both cultural and economic benefits. In Oregon, our arts industry generated $687 million of economic activity—$364 million in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $323 million in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This activity supported 22,299 full time equivalent jobs and generated $53 million in revenue to local and state governments.

Audience-intercept surveys will be collected from attendees to arts events in Multnomah County from May 2022 through April 2023—in total, the national sample is anticipated to surpass 250,000 surveys. A survey of nonprofit arts and culture organizations will occur from January through April 2023. The national and local findings will be made public in September 2023. At that time, the Regional Arts & Culture Council will receive a customized report on the unique economic impact results for Multnomah County including the number of jobs that are supported and the amount of government revenue that is generated by our community’s nonprofit arts industry.

Americans for the Arts is committed to addressing equity and inclusion as a critical component of the methodology, organizational participation, and collection of data for AEP6 by centering and representing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities—a segment of the nonprofit arts and culture sector that has been historically underrepresented in past studies. 

For the first time, AEP6 will require that the local and state research partners collect a portion of audience surveys from attendees at events hosted by arts and culture organizations that primarily serve communities of color. The AEP6 study will establish a benchmark of arts and culture organizations that primarily serve communities of color, and the audiences that attend their events. It will also identify organizations that have a chief executive who identifies as BIPOC/ALAANA. Researchers will use this data to calculate and report on the economic impact of the BIPOC/ALAANA arts sector in each of the participating communities.

Carol Tatch, Co-Executive Director Chief of External Operations of RACC reflected, “Our local nonprofit arts and culture organizations continue to be critical to our economic recovery and it’s important to keep up with legislation that supports such recovery  like the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (aka CERA, H.R. 5019). The arts have the potential to impact many aspects of our community, the truth is they also have a power all on their own. The arts are an open invitation to engage in our history, our heritage, our politics, the way we learn—in short, the arts are part of our daily lives and play a key role in all aspects of the human experience.”

Nolen V. Bivens, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, commented, “The arts are economic catalysts—strengthening the economy by creating jobs, generating government revenue, and driving tourism. Community is where the arts make a difference, and while the national impact data are impressive, at its core, AEP6 is a local story. I look forward to seeing its results, which will be key in persuading decision-makers that the arts benefit all people in all communities.”  

For more information and a full list of the communities participating in the AEP6 study, visit www.americansforthearts.org/AEP6

 

Interested in getting involved in Multnomah County and the Portland City area, please contact Mario Mesquita, Manager of Advocacy and Engagement at RACC, AEP6@racc.org.

More local information about AEP6 can also be found and will be continually updated on our website www.racc.org/aep6.

###

 

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.


Artist Zeinab Saab, Pays Homage to Childhood Memories in Fresh Paint Mural

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2022

Catch the artist at work at Open Signal’s building on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Artist Zeinab Saab pays homage to the intimacy of porch conversations with their mural Benni wa bennek, now in progress at Open Signal’s building on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd at Graham Street. With vibrant neon colors and repeating tea cup graphics, the mural carries the spirit of aunties sharing conversation over Turkish coffee. Saab is currently at work on the mural with support from mentor Sarah Farahat. Benni wa bennek will be on view from April to September, part of the temporary mural program Fresh Paint.

Artist Zeinab Saab at work on their mural Benni wa bennek, in progress on the wall at Open Signal offices on MLK Blvd. Photo by: Sarah Farahat

Saab’s work focuses on exploration of the self through color theory and the grid. After receiving their BFA in printmaking from Bowling Green State University in 2015, they completed their MFA in Printmaking at Northern Illinois University in 2019. Their work has been exhibited in San Francisco, St. Louis, Detroit, New York, California, Dubai, New Mexico, and Hawaii among other places. Their work is also held in several permanent collections, including Emory University; The Bainbridge Museum of Art; Zayed University in Dubai, UAE; the Arab American National Museum; and the University of Iowa’s Special Collections Library.

Fresh Paint is a partnership between the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal that began in 2017. The program supports emerging artists of color with their first publicly funded mural commission while giving the artists the opportunity to expand their creative skill sets and build paths to other public commissions. Saab is the twelfth muralist to take part in this program; previous muralists have included Alex Chiu, Munta Mpwo, Limei Lai and Jose Valentine.

“This program is a great opportunity not only for artists to build their professional portfolio and get exciting new skills, but for our organizations to support important visual storytelling,” explains Daniela Serna, Open Signal’s Fresh Paint facilitator. “With every mural, we’re able to showcase an artist’s story, sharing bits of their communities and histories on a busy throughway — an act of placemaking that brings our wall to life.”

Artist statement for Benni wa bennek:

“The theme of this mural is an homage to my childhood heroes: the aunties on the porch drinking Turkish coffee, eating sunflower seeds, and talking shit/spilling tea about folks in the neighborhood. “Benni wa bennek” simply translates to “between me and you”. I wanted this piece to translate the idea of community and closeness and how quickly that connection is made over a cup of Turkish coffee or tea on your neighbor’s baranda, or porch. Not only does it describe the intimate connection between two people, but it also speaks to an even closer physical space between you and your peer (credit Dana Ghazi on that last statement). For me, Benni wa bennek is a reinforcement of love, trust, and community bonds that no one can break.”

See more from the artist at zeinabsaab.com.

###

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

Andrea Blanco, Communications and Advocacy Design Specialist
Regional Arts & Culture Council
ablanco [at] racc.org
(503) 823 – 5100

 

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 Regional Arts & Culture Council supports an Equitable Arts Education for All

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 23, 2022

A Response to School Districts across our Region

Portland, Ore. – The impacts of the global pandemic have had profound effects on our entire society. As families and communities look to recover, heal, and move forward, we also must confront the barriers that existed prior to the pandemic lockdown of March 2020. The inequities across our K-12 school system have been exposed more than ever before.

As our school districts look to their budgets, reorganize, and prioritize, we know that teachers’ jobs are in danger. When public education loses teachers, we lose educational opportunities for all of our students. This in turn affects our entire region.

We support arts education programs in our K-12 schools. We know it is critical to include arts education programs in our K-12 schools, which will solidify a well- rounded STEAM education. We know that art engagement provides a skill set that is critical in our creative economy, and helps us heal, connect, and build relationships. Art has the power to help move us forward out of trauma. We know that having a robust well-rounded education that includes the arts keeps kids in school, exposes us to diverse cultures, teaches empathy and compassion, encourages us to think critically, to be civically engaged, and, most importantly, brings us joy. We know that the arts create a pathway forward, providing hope, and giving voice to the community.

We envision an arts education that is rooted in equity, access, and inclusion. RACC advocates for a core curriculum for all K-12 students that includes visual arts, music, dance, theatre, and media arts. We support arts educators and school districts by providing resources, professional development, and opportunities to convene. We collaborate with arts/culture partner organizations and local, state, and national art leaders. We promote equity and inclusion, and work to reduce and eliminate barriers.

###

An independent nonprofit 501(c)3 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

MEDIA CONTACT:

Carol Tatch, Chief of External Operations,  ctatch@racc.org

Chanda Evans, Arts Education Program, cevans@racc.org


RACC Endorses Oregon House Bill 4040 sponsored by Representative Rob Nosse (District 42) and Senator Akasha Lawrence-Spence (District 18)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 7, 2022 

Portland, OR – 

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) joins fellow arts and cultural organizations, City Councils, the City of Portland, Counties, Legislators, and individuals across Oregon in support of HB4040 during this Short Legislative Session which commenced on February 1, 2022.

HB4040 will “appropriate money to the Oregon Business Development Department to develop and implement a program to award grants to Oregon cultural organizations in response to the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on organizations’ earned revenue.”  

This bill sets $50 million aside through grants that will provide immediate relief to our arts and cultural organizations across the state of Oregon, effective July 1 if passed into law. 

J.S. May, Board President of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon (CACO) states, “We believe creativity is and will be critical for the health and recovery of all Oregonians. The cultural sector will play a large part in reuniting our communities post-pandemic and rebuilding our collective spirit.” 

RACC’s Chief of External Operations, Carol Tatch, reminds us, “The opportunity to continue supporting our creatives and artists is paramount. RACC is leaning deeply into this space to ensure that they are supported and held during this unprecedented moment in history. We are here to ensure that they are here today, and tomorrow, enriching their communities through art and culture.”

In the fall of 2021, RACC endorsed the Arts Education for all Act (H.R.5581) co-sponsored by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1). The Arts Education for All Act will support and encourage arts education and programming for our young children, K-12 students, and youth and adults impacted by the justice system. A one-page summary of the Arts Education for All Act can be found here. The text of the legislation can be found here. To endorse, click here.

This is an historic year for arts and cultural funding across the nation. We are proud that Oregon is joining in these efforts to provide advocacy and relief, and to elevate our creative economy. Click here to learn more about all the bills in this legislative session.

###

The Regional Arts & Culture Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides grants for artists and nonprofit organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; convenes forums, networking events, and other community gatherings; advocates for a well-rounded arts education and promotes community engagement,  and provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance. RACC advocates for equity, inclusion, and access, working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity, and the arts. For more information visit racc.org

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Carol Tatch, Chief of External Operations

ctatch@racc.org


National Endowment for the Arts awards $500,000 grant to Regional Arts & Culture Council

Funding will enhance RACC grantmaking for Clackamas, Washington county artists, and art organizations

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) will receive a $500,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for the American Rescue Plan Grants to Local Art Agencies for Subgranting. The funds will deepen RACC’s commitment to equitable funding in communities responding to impacts from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. RACC has effectively administered consistent and reliable grantmaking for more than 20 years to individual artists and creatives and smaller organizations serving culturally specific and diverse communities with enriching and accessible arts and culture programming.

“RACC has helped foster a vibrant and diverse arts landscape in Oregon, and this federal grant award will build on and expand that work,” said Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). “I’m a staunch advocate for the arts because they enrich our communities in many ways. Yet despite the broad benefits of the arts, organizations like RACC often do not have the funding they need. I’m grateful to the NEA for recognizing RACC’s amazing work and for supporting the arts across the country.”

RACC provides grants and operating support to artists and arts organizations funded by a mix of public and private investments including grants from national, state, and local foundations, corporations, and private donors to the region. Unlike other NEA funding programs that offer project-based support, Rescue Plan funds are intended to support day-to-day business expenses and operating costs, and not specific programmatic activities.  Grants made with funding from this NEA award will be made to eligible organizations to support their own operations with an emphasis on Clackamas and Washington County.

“This grant enhances our ability to provide needed support to currently underfunded arts organizations throughout the three-county Metro area, ensuring they can continue enhancing the quality of life in our communities, and increasing public access to the arts,” said RACC Executive Director Madison Cario.

The program will be carried out through one-time grants to eligible organizations including, but not limited to, nonprofit arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, units of state or local government, federally recognized tribal communities or tribes, and a wide range of other organizations that can help advance program goals.


Portland Artist Jose Ruiz Valentine Selected for Fresh Paint Mural

See his design come to life on Open Signal’s building on MLK Blvd.

Large wall mural shows Virgin Guadalupe surrounded by orange and yellow flames, adjacent to a large green serpent

Portland Artist Jose Ruiz Valentine’s mural, Venerated Mother, in progress on the wall at Open Signal offices on MLK Blvd.

Every day thousands of people pass by Open Signal’s building on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at Graham Street. Pass by the building today, and you’ll get to see work-in-progress on the latest temporary mural being created by Jose Ruiz Valentine, a 20-year old Portland artist who graduated from Rosemary Anderson High School in 2019. The mural design reflects his Chicano history and culture. The large, colorful mural depicting a serpent and catholic imagery is titled Venerated Mother.

In a partnership between the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Open Signal called Fresh Paint, artists are selected for this professional development opportunity. The initiative provides emerging artists of color with a paid opportunity to paint a public mural for the first time in Portland.

With a focus on graffiti and various forms of illustrative art, Valentine has been involved with local youth and artistic groups including the Red Stone Collective and Morpheus Youth Project for years. He uses art as a way to seek restorative justice in his life and works to help youth make positive changes in their own lives.

“I feel blessed to have the opportunity to share this iconography on a large public mural,” Valentine explains in his artist statement. “I want to make this type of artwork and cultural iconography accessible for everyone to see. I’m especially excited to share it with those whose roots relate with this work. These images represent an ancient culture with a beautiful and powerful history. I am still trying to understand these images as well, in the context of the current life that I live. I’m hoping doing this work will deepen my understanding of them.”

The Fresh Paint partnership is designed to support artists like Valentine, who don’t have experience with publicly funded commissions. “We want to get up-and-coming artists like Jose the support and resources they need to develop a new skill set and build their portfolio,” explains Salvador Mayoral, who facilitates RACC’s Public Art Murals Program. “For many of the selected artists, the mural projects have led to other public commissions or funding opportunities,” he adds.

See more artwork from Jose Ruiz Valentine.

Artist Statement – Venerated Mother

“The Virgin Guadalupe is a Cultural icon to (Mexican) people.  To some, it has spiritual value as a symbol of Catholicism.  To others, it is a visual symbol that exists in and represents our homes. My brother who died recently used to wear a necklace of the virgin around his neck. To me, it represents my brother.  His name was Kingo.

Serpent imagery is a part of Mexika (Aztec) cultural and spiritual/religious symbolism. It is part of a more ancient belief system of Mesoamerica.  The two-headed serpent Goddess is also referred to as Tonantzin Coatlicue. She is the birth of the Sun, moon, and stars. She represents fertility, life, and death. I named my daughter Tonantzin so she will remember our culture, and preserve it with her presence. For me, the serpent imagery represents my daughter.”

To qualify for the Fresh Paint opportunity, artists must live in the greater Portland metropolitan area, defined as Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington. RACC runs the selection process, relying on past Fresh Paint muralists to review submissions and recommend which new artists should be selected.

Selected artists receive a stipend for their participation and are offered the opportunity to engage with Open Signal’s resources and programming. Since the Fresh Paint partnership between RACC and Open Signal kicked off in 2017, 10 artists have been selected. Each mural is hosted for at least four months and then painted over in preparation for the next artist.

###

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.

 


Regional Arts & Culture Council Announces Leadership Transition

MEDIA CONTACT
Heather Nelson Kent
Communications Manager, Regional Arts & Culture Council
503-823-5426
hnkent@racc.org


Executive Director Madison Cario Departs for Bay Area Arts Enterprise

The Board of Directors of the Regional Arts & Culture Council announced today that Executive Director Madison Cario will depart on December 3rd to serve as CEO for both the Minnesota Street Project and the Minnesota Street Project Foundation in San Francisco. The Board and senior leadership are developing a transition plan to ensure smooth operations at RACC.

“The RACC Board is grateful for Madison’s leadership especially as we worked to meet the arts community’s needs during this devastating global pandemic,” said RACC Board Chair Nathan Rix. “Madison brought great vision and organizational capability to RACC, allowing us to be responsive, focus on equity, and strengthen our work with key stakeholders. The organization is well-positioned to lead and support Portland’s ever-evolving and growing arts community.”

Board Chair Rix outlined the transition plan in a meeting with RACC team members and board members on Wednesday. “We’re already mapping out our next steps for executive leadership and will be seeking community input and working with our stakeholders moving ahead,” he said.

The organization stands in a strong position having recently reorganized and realigned to better meet community needs, and secured funding and long-term partnerships, including a 3-year contract with the City of Portland, along with annual contracts with Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties and Metro. Under Cario’s leadership, the organization diversified its funding, securing grants from national, state, and local foundations, corporations, and private donors.

“My time in Portland has been meaningful and I am incredibly proud of how we rose to the challenges of this pandemic, responded to social justice issues and the needs of our community over the past three years,” said Cario. “RACC, and the communities we serve, will always have a vocal advocate and ally in me.”

The shutdowns and social distancing requirements caused by COVID-19 significantly impacted the arts community and artists across the region. The RACC leadership team, led by Cario, was instrumental in a statewide advocacy campaign that secured $50 million in federal CARES Act funding for arts organizations and venues across the state. Ultimately, RACC was tapped to administer millions in CARES funds to artists and art organizations. RACC distributed $13.2M through a new partnership with the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition; $2.5 M for local performing arts venues, and $190,000 in grants from the City of Portland’s CARES allocation designated for local Black, Indigenous, and artists of color.

“In my nine months as Arts and Culture Commissioner, I’ve enjoyed working with Madison tremendously,” said Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who serves as the city’s liaison to RACC. “They helped Portland’s arts and culture community through the challenges of COVID and being more inclusive of more artists in our community. Their time in Portland has left our city, and our city’s arts and culture community, better, and I wish them well in their next steps.”

###

An independent nonprofit 501(c)3 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

 


RACC Board of Directors Confirm Statues Should Not Be Returned

RACC Team and Public Art Committee to outline next steps for community review process

Today the Regional Arts & Culture Council Board of Directors endorsed a recommendation that toppled and removed monuments not be returned to their previous location and to inform City officials of this recommendation. The recommendation not to return statues to their previous location does not mean that works will be permanently removed from the City of Portland’s public collection. The statues include: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt: Rough Rider, Harvey Scott, and Promised Land. City officials have decided that Elk will return to downtown Portland.

RACC’s Public Art Committee (PAC) made the recommendation not to return the five statues to their previous locations. The committee oversees and guides Public Art Program policies for the selection, placement, and maintenance of works of art acquired through the Percent for Art Program and other public/private programs RACC manages. The committee is made up of artists, art administrators, and community stakeholders. The PAC recommendation is consistent with recent action by the Portland City Council recommending new public art representing more diverse cultural identities and histories for the South Park Blocks. The George Washington statue cannot be returned to its former site as that site is privately owned and the owners do not wish to have it in that location anymore.

The recommendation not to return these statues to their previous locations raises the question of what happens next. Should the monuments be assigned a new home? Should all of them remain in the public collection? According to RACC’s Public Art Program policies, consideration of these questions requires meaningful community engagement. The Board directed the RACC team and PAC to come back to them at a meeting in October with a process for engaging stakeholders in a conversation about what happens next with each statue.

How can the community get involved?
Community engagement and stakeholder input are part of the process. Follow this link to provide input. Sign up for RACC’s online newsletter to be notified of future engagement opportunities at www.racc.org/about/newsletter/

Public Art Program Background
The Public Art Committee, in consultation with city leadership, reviewed the Public Art Program policies and criteria as they relate to donation and deaccession of memorials, monuments, and statues. The PAC updated those policies to align with RACC’s mission, vision, and values and the City’s value of antiracism. The updated policy states that public artworks can be removed if the “subject or impact of an artwork is significantly at odds with values of antiracism, equity, inclusion.” They also expanded circumstances that can lead to the removal of a piece of artwork, if it becomes a rallying place for “gatherings centered on racist or bigoted ideology.” RACC’s board endorsed the policy changes in May 2021.

###

An independent nonprofit 501(c)3 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

MEDIA CONTACT
Heather Nelson Kent
Communications Manager, Regional Arts & Culture Council
503-823-5426
hnkent@racc.org