The Regional Arts & Culture Council Supports Maintaining Current Arts Education Funding Levels & Encourages School Districts to Join Us in Our Support of Arts Education for All


Portland, OR –


As our school districts across the state look to their budgets, reorganize, and prioritize in the coming months, we know that teachers’ jobs are in danger once again. When public education loses teachers, we lose educational opportunities for all of our students. This in turn affects our entire region. Arts education funding in particular is once again at risk.

We urge school districts to maintain your support for arts education programs in our K-12 schools. We are not asking for more funding, even though we know this is necessary to ensure equitable access to arts and culture programing in our schools. We ask you to not decrease funding. We know that art engagement provides a skill set that is critical in our creative economy, and also 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. A new bipartisan group of 2023 Oregon legislators have formed an Arts and Culture Caucus. Many leaders in arts and culture in Oregon, including the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust, advocate for increased funding for arts education in our schools, and provide grant opportunities to arts organizations that have arts education programming. RACC is such a leader and, through our grant programs, support organizations who include arts education programming. RACC understands the importance of civic engagement and we encourage you to reach out to your elected officials to share with them your concerns.

Please support arts and culture educational programming in your local schools. Join us in supporting arts education for all.



Carol Tatch, Chief of External Operations


Chanda Evans, Arts Education Program Manager









Regional Arts & Culture Council receives bequest from the estate of Harriet Beal Cormack


RACC is honored by the support of the long-time arts philanthropist and social justice pioneer to further its mission to enrich our communities through arts and culture.

Portland, OR —

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is extremely grateful for the philanthropic support of the late Harriet Beal Cormack. Shortly after her passing in June 2022, RACC was notified that we would be one of five nonprofits receiving a sizeable disbursement from the estate of Mrs. Cormack. RACC recognizes Mrs. Cormack’s considerable gift of over $400,000 in support of our vision of a just and equitable arts-aligned organization. These funds will greatly help us fulfill our mission to enrich communities through arts and culture. 

Born in 1942 in Butte, MT, Harriet lived her life elevating civic engagement through social justice, women’s rights, and the arts. She began her career on the east coast, and, upon her return to the west, landed in Seattle to begin a distinguished career in real estate development, finance, and management in public, private, and nonprofit settings. She took on and asserted her professional knowledge through challenging and civically invigorating projects for the City of Seattle and, as the Vice President of the Cornerstone Columbia Development Company, led the development of the Waterfront Urban Renewal area along the Willamette River in Portland, creating RiverPlace—a mix of housing and retail space, a hotel, marina, and floating restaurant. RiverPlace reshaped how the community interacted with the natural environment of the river. Harriet grew to be an integral leader in the development and growth of private-public partnerships that have enormously benefitted the communities in which they reside. Harriet completed her professional career by serving as the Director of the Portland Centers for the Performing Arts (Keller Auditorium, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and Portland5). 

Harriet embodied a spirit of generosity reflected in her personal values of truth, integrity, and commitment to hard work. Her own personal determination to succeed and live a meaningful life was bound by the thread of dedication to friends, family, and the community with which she surrounded herself. Harriet was a staunch patron of the performing, visual, and literary arts and received numerous awards and accolades for her service to community, both in Oregon and Washington. Harriet was an agent of change in both her life and in her death. 

The RACC Team and Board of Directors are excited by the opportunity to mesh Harriet’s vision for community, social justice, and civic engagement with the vision and values of our organization. Created to support our region’s artists and creatives, RACC continues to instill the values of equity and inclusion in our community-focused activities. For nearly 50 years, RACC has led the region in supporting our creative culture. Harriet’s contribution will strengthen our efforts to ensure an abundance of arts and culture in every community. 

 Questions or comments regarding this announcement should be sent to ctatch@racc.org. 



RACC announces public art collaboration with Port of Portland at the Portland International Airport

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 14 2022

Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) announces the launch of new

public art projects in collaboration with the

Port of Portland (Port) at the Portland International Airport (PDX)

Portland, OR –

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to announce a unique collaboration with the Port of Portland (Port) to install original public artworks for the $2B terminal redevelopment project at Portland International Airport (PDX).  RACC is in the process of inviting artists to submit their qualifications for the design and installation of permanent public art displays that will be a part of this redevelopment. RACC’s values of equity, access, and inclusion are embedded in this process through intentional outreach and engagement with communities that have been historically marginalized. This project will involve requests for proposals (RFQ) for artists in the upcoming months, with completion of the entire project slated for five years from now. Check out PDXNext.com for updates, resources, and images

“The Port of Portland is thrilled to officially launch two open calls for the first permanent public works of art to adorn PDX’s new main terminal,” says Wendy Given, Port of Portland Art Program Manager. “Our Art Program’s mission is to provide equitable access to art and to commission and exhibit captivating work that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. We believe everyone’s voice and history should be celebrated. So, together with RACC, we intentionally created opportunities for historically marginalized artists to apply, and we have developed a selection process that ensures equitable outcomes. We’re making a commitment to bring diverse voices and perspectives to life — all while enriching the experience of everyone who travels through PDX.”

Mack McFarland, RACC’s Public Art Project Manager, wholeheartedly agrees with Wendy Given, adding, It’s really an honor to play a role in this massive project. The partnership between the Port and RACC has already resulted in several stunning artworks and unique ways to engage the artists within the architecture of PDX. The vison ZGF Architects is implementing for Terminal Core (TCORE) is presenting artists with a wonderful site for projects, while the forethought and care of the Art Selection Committee provides integrity and distinctiveness to the process. There are opportunities within the TCORE art plan for seasoned public artists as well as artists who may be new to creating artwork for such a public setting.”

The second RFQ launches within the next two weeks, with five more to be announced in 2023. The first RFQ, for Art Glass Walls located between the concourse connector and the security queuing area, closes on November 16, 2022.  More information can be found here. The proposed art exhibits are available for download here.

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; 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

With its three airports, four marine terminals, five business parks, and hundreds of employees, the Port of Portland connects people and businesses in the region to powerful opportunities. Using its resources, expertise, and influence, the Port is striving to pull down barriers and unlock new opportunities for those who have been left out of the region’s economic growth, including people of color, low-income workers, and people with disabilities. The Port is leading major initiatives to drive positive change in the region, including: expanding and modernizing PDX; investing in Oregon’s mass timber industry and mass timber housing; and providing more options for small businesses to get their goods to markets around the world. For more information, visit PortofPortland.com.”



Kristen Calhoun, Director of Public Art


Mack McFarland, Public Art Project Manager


Wendy Given, Port of Portland, Art Program Manager


RACC unveils Going Public! A Mural Skill Building Intensive


We are pleased to announce in partnership with the City of Hillsboro, Miller Paint, and TriMet a collaborative opportunity supporting public art in our community. This project is also supported with funds from the City of Portland. Envisioned over the last two years, this program has come to fruition with guidance by administrators Salvador Mayoral IV, the Public Art Manager at the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and program consultant Ella Marra-Ketelaar as well as RACC’s Public Art Murals Committee.

In June of 2022, a cohort of emerging muralists of color were selected and paired with established muralists, all from the Portland metro area.  The program’s aim is to support these emerging muralists throughout the mural creative process by providing mentorship, mural-making workshops, and the opportunity to create and paint a design all the while being monetarily compensated for their energy, time, and labor to undergo this process. One of the program’s key goals is to  foster relationships with their fellow muralist participants through the attendance of the workshops, meeting regularly with their mentors, thus creating a network of support and access. This was instrumental in preparing the cohort of emerging muralists to paint their own mural designs on the many donated spaces from the Going Public! partners.

“We’re thrilled to be part of RACC’s Going Public! mentorship program,” TriMet’s Public Art Administrator Michelle Traver said. “TriMet is also committed to nurturing emerging artists and we are pleased to host artist Rebecca Rodela’s first mural, Lotería en Portlandia, at the Gateway Transit Center, where it can be experienced by our riders and the general public alike.”

We are excited to partner with RACC to bring more colorful murals to our neighborhoods,” said Puji Sherer, Miller Paint’s Vice President of Marketing, Color & Brand. “Our Hollywood store in Northeast Portland is one of the mural sites for the project which is in the heart of this community.”

 All but one mural will be completed by the end of November 2022. Follow the mural making process by visiting the social media accounts of RACC, our partners, and the artists.

“Community building and skill sharing are at the forefront of Going Public!” said program consultant Ella Marra-Ketelaar. “It has been incredibly important to feature established artists (mentors and workshop presenters) that are willing to share their years of collective knowledge with the next generation of muralists. The program’s role is to create a platform, their knowledge, and collaboration is what makes it possible”. 

The workshop presenters include, Sarah Farahat, Bernadette Little, Adam Ciresi, Molly Mendoza, Ursula Barton, Daren Todd, Kyra Watkins and William Hernandez.

The mentors include, Kyra Watkins, William Hernandez, Alex Chiu, and Patricia Vásquez Gómez.

All images by Leo Townsell, July 2022 at one of the workshops in Zidell Yards.

The cohort of muralists include, Abdiel Flores Ubaldo, Saphya Lones, Nabíl De la Rosa, Rebecca Rodela, and Tim Tran.

Carol Tatch, RACC’s Chief of External Operations, stresses the importance of leading with RACC values of access, inclusivity, and equity. “It’s not just that you get to wake up and it’s there, but you actually get to see the process. It is definitely important to the economic prosperity of any region to have public art — art that is accessible. That just brings rewards for everyone in the community.”

For more information please contact Salvador Mayoral, the Public Art Project Manager.

RACC launches new Fresh Paint Mural in partnership with Open Signal

Artist Jerome Sloan Comes Full Circle with New Mural, Growth
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

Jerome Sloan spent his youth in Portland’s Irvington neighborhood, starting his creative journey as a spray painter in the 1980s. Now he brings his work back home with a new mural Growth, part of Fresh Paint, a temporary mural program from Open Signal and the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Growth will be on view from October to March on Open Signal’s wall on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd between Graham and Knott Streets.

Sloan’s work documents the struggle to become a better person, drawing from his experiences during a long period of incarceration. At 19 years old, he was sentenced to life without parole. He spent the next 28 years within the prison system developing and leading cognitive programming to help ex-gang members change their lives, and teaching art classes to help others find meaning in creativity. In early 2022, his sentence was commuted by Governor Kate Brown for the impact he had on the young men he worked with.

He now brings his message to the area in which he grew up. “A great piece of art should compel you to take some sort of action or change the way you think,” says the artist. “I send my art out with the hope that it plays a part in changing people or moves them in a positive direction. It is my job to be an example that is positive.”

In this piece, two hands, with vines wrapped around them, reach up towards the sun — representing the need to grow to survive, and the act of reaching towards something bigger and more productive than oneself. The letters spell “growth” in an alphabet of his own creation, and in a graffiti style that he developed when he was young in this very area. The work reflects Sloan’s approach, taking a realistic image and pushing it into the abstract. “Through Fresh Paint we’ve been able to bring great local artists like Jerome into our community,” notes Open Signal’s Community Media Advocacy Manager KatMeow García. “This program is a true collaboration — what started as a conversation between the Regional Arts & Council and Open Signal now encompasses staff, artists, mentors and anyone who’s been impacted by the art. The mural may be temporary, but the connections keep going.”

Mural being completed with artist holding paint and a ladder and paint equipment on the sidewalk

Completed mural with two people standing in front of it with their arms up

Photos by Sabrina Spurlock,  Oct 2022

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 commission; the artists expand their creative skill sets and build paths to other public art opportunities. Sloan is the thirteenth muralist to take part in this program; previous muralists have included Molly Mendoza; the artist team of Bizar Gomez, Maria Rodriguez, and Anke Gladnick; and Zeinab Saab.

See more from the artist at jeromesloanart.com.

Regional Arts & Culture Council endorses the CREATIVE Act (Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere) Introduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1)


Regional Arts & Culture Council endorses the CREATIVE Act

(Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere) Introduced by

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1)

Portland, Oregon

We join arts and culture organizations and businesses across the nation, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Americans for the Arts (AFTA), Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), Grantmakers in the Arts, Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon, and many others who believe that arts and culture are a vital part of what makes us human and enables us to thrive, share stories, connect, learn, and innovate. This act will support our arts organizations and grow our creative economy here in Oregon and the rest of the nation. The Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere (CREATIVE) Act will be instrumental as arts organizations strive to recover from the pandemic. It will provide additional funds through grants to build or upgrade current facilities, produce art, reach underserved communities, and hire new staff.

“The arts are an integral part of our economy, help us better understand the world around us, and fuel authentic and meaningful community-building,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Arts organizations were hit hard by the pandemic and many are still struggling to rebuild. The CREATIVE Act will provide the funding these important organizations need to restore their programming and create jobs in the creative sector.”

The CREATIVE Act builds on the NEA’s critical support for local arts agencies organizations by expanding their grantmaking capacity. Specifically, the CREATIVE Act would:

Expand Access to Capital for Facilities: The grants can be used to improve or upgrade facilities, hire new staff, and produce art;

Seek Community Input: Applicants must include how their community will benefit from these resources and how they plan to sustain their programs;

Reach Underserved Communities: Eligible applicants must focus on access to the arts, including arts education in underrepresented communities;

Create Strong Guardrails: The grants will involve reporting requirements and a procedure for returning unused or misspent funds;

Make Rural Outreach a Priority: At least 20% of total grant funds will be reserved for rural communities.

Last year, The Arts Education for All Act was introduced to address the gap in access to arts education, which has the potential to improve the lifelong health and achievement of both children and adults. RACC joined hundreds of other organizations across the country in the endorsement of this act. Once again, Oregon is a leader in advocating, promoting, and encouraging creative work to be part of the artscape in our communities through these legislative acts.

Carol Tatch, RACC’s Chief of External Operations, said “As we look to creating the future that our artists and creatives deserve, RACC sees this as another tool for our continuing recovery from recent health and environmental impacts and an essential building block for access, equity, and engagement in our shared communities. Please support this effort with full hearts and open minds. Let’s KEEP creating the world we want to live in.

A one-page summary of the CREATIVE Act can be found here. The text of the legislation can be found here.                                                                                                 



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; 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




Carol Tatch, Chief of External Operations, RACC



Mario Mesquita, Manager of Advocacy and Engagement, RACC


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


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


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.


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.