Welcome new staff

Eloise Blog:

After losing three staff members recently we are pleased to welcome their successors.

Sarah Deal, 
The Right Brain Initiative Administrative Assistant, 503.825.5136, sdeal@racc.org 

Sarah is The Right Brain Initiative Administrative Assistant. She provides general daily administrative support; in addition to working closely with Right Brain committees, professional development workshops, and volunteers to optimize logistics and communication.

She is thrilled to return to RACC three years after her time as an Outreach Apprentice. In the interim, she graduated from Portland State University, coached rowing in New Zealand, and guided trail rides in Argentina. When not in the office she serves as the Head Coach for PSU Crew and can usually be found navigating the Willamette.

Sarah jumped right in during the busy season of a new school year and is holding together the Right Brain team and all the various parts of this complex tri-county program. Welcome Sarah.

Amanda Kronlage, Public Art Conservation Technician, 503.823.5046, akronlage@racc.org

Amanda is a blacksmith and sculptor from Iowa who now assists in the installation and care of public works belonging to the City of Portland and Multnomah County. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a BFA in Sculpture and an Art History minor she apprenticed with a blacksmith and learned to make beautiful furniture using fire and metal.

In 2014 she rejoined most of her millennial peers and caravanned with her partner to Portland where she enjoys sitting near the ocean, looking at strange critters and growths, admiring public art, eating, and forcing herself to drink IPAs. You may view her sculptural work at www.amandakronlage.com

Amanda also joined RACC at a busy time of year. Nice weather is our prime time for taking care of the public art collections. She and the team had a recent challenge when vandals spray painted the statue of Mayor Vera Katz on the Eastbank Esplanade. Thanks to their speedy response the offensive paint was removed in a matter of hours.

Alison Bailey, Business Partnership Manager, 503.823.5424, abailey@racc.org

A long-time friend to the nonprofit, business and arts communities, Alison brings a decade of experience as a corporate funder to the new Business Partnership Manger role. She leads the Work for Art team and is responsible for building meaningful connections between business and the arts in the region. In addition to Work for Art, Alison will help inspire funding support and awareness for the Arts Breakfast of Champions, Battle of the Bands, Art of Leadership, and RACC’s arts integration program, The Right Brain Initiative.

Before joining RACC, Alison managed The Standard’s corporate giving program and charitable foundation. Prior to that she produced national tradeshows and spent nearly ten years at Nordstrom as a department manager and sales associate. Alison is thrilled to call RACC her work home and can’t wait to make supporting art and culture a fun and easy choice for everyone. A native Portlander, Alison is happiest in the woods, at a concert or drinking beer in the neighborhood with her guy Chris.

Please say hello to these talented people when you have a chance!

Quick — Take a summer vacation before it’s too late

Eloise Blog:

Right when everyone is gearing up for the crush of September activity, off we go to New England for family, friends, swimming in the warm Atlantic, and lobsters! It’s only a week and I know there will be wonderful arts events aplenty when we return.

So I am taking a blogging break – only to say Happy Labor Day and “see you in September”! Anyone else old enough to remember that song?

What a Time

Eloise Blog:

I wish I could write a glowing message about the joys of long hot days and cool breezes at night and all the other delights of summer in Portland. While of course we enjoy the bounty of our myriad farmers markets, outdoor concerts, beaches, bike rides and reading on the porch, this feels like a very different summer.

How can it be that we count the number of horrendous and hate-motivated shootings of innocent citizens and dedicated  corrections officers by the week?  The racial tension and prejudice that generated the Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter movements echo back to too many decades of a dark side of our country. We celebrate two terms of our first Black president, but the violence goes on. And this is now happening across the globe driven by political, religious and other motivations that push people over the edge to do the unthinkable.

And then we have an election season like no other – ever. Enough said. We must do better and we must prove we can.

So how do we get through this time without feeling completely beaten down? For me I look to the best we have here. The artists, artisans, and creative people of all kinds reflect who we are and who we aspire to be. They comment on the dark side but also help us see through the gloom and hatred and reflect the beauty of our place and the richness of our diverse population.

Summer festivals full of music, dancing, food and friends abound.  Shady parks lure us to picnic, read, write, strum a guitar, hang out with family and friends, take a nap. Let’s get together this summer and enjoy our best selves, the delight we see in our children, neighbors, visitors enjoying all our city and state have to offer. We cannot be oblivious to our world realities nor are we protected from violence in this place, but humans have a way of figuring out ways around.

Let’s tap into the creativity in all of us and make the best of all that we have. The sun is shining and the berries are abundant.

Fond Farewells

Eloise Blog: 

RACC staff and board are sad to say goodbye to three immensely talented staffers who have recently left for other opportunities. Each has made significant contributions to their respective positions and to the organization’s cultural fabric. We also are saying farewell to two wonderful Board members who have termed out after 6 full years of serving on RACC’s Board of Directors.

Andre Middleton was hired in the fall of 2014  as our Community Service Coordinator to support RACC’s outreach and technical services. He designed and managed the annual series of professional development workshops, which provide artists with valuable tools to improve their business skills. Andre also was in charge of ArtSpark networking events, which bring artists and arts enthusiasts together at venues around the city to meet each other and learn about activities and opportunities across Portland’s vital arts community. Andre’s commitment to furthering RACC’s equity and inclusion efforts together with his infectious love for his work and all that RACC does made him a delightful addition to our team.

Rebecca Burrell came to RACC in 2009 to be Outreach Specialist for the Right Brain Initiative, RACC’s 8 year old program that integrates the arts into the core curriculum of elementary students across the tri-county region. Rebecca oversaw the program’s outreach efforts and marketing strategies and designed a wide range of communications and special events to foster community engagement and support RACC’s fundraising for arts education. Thanks to her boundless energy, commitment to Right Brain, and her marketing savvy she has helped  establish and grow this groundbreaking program that is changing the way students learn and teachers teach and drawing attention and praise across the country. And in her spare time she is active with the young leaders cohort at Americans for the Arts and Portland Emerging Arts Leaders (PEAL). Rebecca will be greatly missed by all of us.

Kathryn Jackson was hired in 2006 as RACC’s Work for Art Manager. As such she oversaw and developed all aspects of Work for Art, RACC’s 10 year old workplace giving program that supports arts activities, arts education and the creative economy. Through a growing public/private partnership Work for Art raises money for local arts organizations and actively engages employees of private companies, non-profits and public agencies as arts donors and participants. Kathryn has been a dedicated advocate for the services that over 100 arts organizations provide and helps increase their accessibility to all who take part. She also has forged beneficial relationships between the arts community and businesses, which RACC continues to build upon going forward. Together with program leadership, Kathryn worked diligently to help Work for Art raise more than $7.1 million over the last 10 years. She has been a tireless champion for this program she truly loves and for all  RACC programs and initiatives.

Eric Hormel  joined our Board in 2010 and has been a dedicated member of the RACC community for 3 2-year terms. Eric is an Oregon native and a shareholder at Perkins and Company. He works in his company’s Legacy Planning group, specializing in working with high net worth individuals and their families. He also leads Perkins’ creative services practice group, working with Portland’s largest advertising and PR firms. During his time with us Eric very ably served on RACC’s Finance and Audit Committee, Executive Committee and served for 4 years as the Board Secretary. Not being satisfied to leave it there, Eric took an interest in RACC’s Public Art Program and audited our Public Art Advisory Committee for several months to learn more. And, as outgoing Chair Jan Robertson said in her goodbye to him, “Eric has the remarkable ability to make even Finance fun!” Thank you, Eric, for your wisdom and wit and all you brought to RACC. Please keep in touch!

Joe Krumm is the executive director of community and government relations for the North Clackamas School District, and oversees communications in many forms−community partnerships, family support, outreach to diverse communities, interpretation, translation, volunteerism and lobbying. He came to the district in 1990 after serving as editor and co-publisher with The Clackamas County Review. Joe also joined RACC in 2010 and just completed his 6th year representing Clackamas County on our board. Not only did he bring his vast knowledge and expertise in education, but also his understanding, passion and facilitation skills to our organization-wide equity and inclusion work. Joe has been a committed member of RACC”s Equity Committee and has even requested staying on after his Board service ends. That was an easy request to meet. Joe is well known and respected by the leadership at Clackamas County and is a highly effective advocate for the arts in his county and in his role on the Leadership Development Committee has helped us recruit several new Clackamas Board candidates. We will miss his good humor and sensitivity to all people. Thank you Joe.

We wish these talented and valued friends and co-workers great success in their new ventures and will miss them greatly. Thank you for all you have contributed to the RACC family, Andre, Rebecca, Kathryn, Eric and Joe.

City Club Forum: Are the arts getting squeezed out?

Eloise’s Blog:

On Friday, May 20th,  several of us from RACC attended the Friday Forum at City Club of Portland to hear a timely dialogue about what artists and arts organizations are facing in our booming city. The panel consisted of MaryKay West, Vice President at Colliers International, and City Commissioner Nick Fish. Kelley Roy, owner and founder of ADX, moderated.  Interspersed into the panel were individuals working in the arts who told their own stories about the extremely challenging current climate.

Commissioner Fish described the very real housing crisis for low income and homeless Portlanders and the City’s commitment to working on all aspects of this problem as it drives people, including artists and arts organizations, from the core of our city to the fringes and suburbs. The city he said has a “moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable people” but recognizes that artists, creatives and  non-profits help make Portland a vibrant and envied cultural destination and contributes to the fact that the Portland is one of the fastest growing urban economies in the US.

MaryKay West, who specializes in finding spaces for just these kinds of creative people and organizations, commented that many of them need large scale raw industrial spaces, many of which are now being snapped up and redeveloped for higher paying tenants. Zoning often is an obstacle, but also has the opportunity for change to accommodate the needs of a range of renters and owners. She also mentioned REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) which enables anyone to invest in large scale real estate properties and earn income from their shares, without having to personally own the buildings and land.

Commissioner Fish looks forward to exploring what the new PDC will look like as it experiences leadership change for itself and for our City. He suggested a partnership between RACC and PDC to undertake an inventory of cultural assets (following Seattle’s model) and to bring in the Bureau of Planning to explore potential and protected cultural hubs around the area.

He questioned whether the City cares as much about the 95% of businesses who have 5 or fewer employees as it does about luring in a Daimler Trucks or Airbnb. These companies are in fact attracted to Portland because it is a city of small businesses. Both panelists cited the Creative Advocacy Network, which conceived of and helped pass the Arts Education and Access Fund in 2012 , and challenged that group of smart and strategic people to not only repair the tax once and for all, but also tackle the pressing problems discussed at the forum.

We at the Regional Arts and Culture Council welcome the opportunity to work with the City, businesses, real estate developers and of course all of our friends and colleagues in the arts to shine a very bright light on these issues before it is too late. We must ensure that artists can continue living and working here and that nonprofit arts organizations can thrive in affordable spaces strategically placed throughout our City and region. Let’s all pledge to keep the conversation moving and to taking action. I suspect a meeting with our Mayor-elect will be an important next step. Thank you City Club for this informative, timely and provocative discussion.

You can watch the entire Forum at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RulcumBeOkM .

State of the Arts

Eloise’s Blog:

Many thanks to all who attended our annual presentation to City Council when we thank Council for their on-going support. While we also talk about how we invested the City’s allocation to RACC over the past year, we focus even more on how powerful the impacts of these dollars are to artists, arts organizations, schools, and arts enthusiasts around our region and beyond.

The Obo Addy Legacy Project opened the event on April 21st with rousing and reverberating Ghanean drumming as people entered Council Chambers. RACC’s Board Chair, Jan Robertson, and I then ran through some highlights of our programs in 2015 and we were all treated to music performed by a quintet from Bravo Youth Orchestra.

These talented Rosa Parks Elementary students are evidence of what magic can happen thanks to their music teacher paid for by the Arts Tax, and an arts organization, Bravo, providing learning experiences inside the school. Jan also described the ever growing Right Brain Initiative and how supportive our City leaders have been since day one.

I ran through images of recent public art projects including a Buster Simpson sculpture in South Waterfront and a wide array of murals funded in part by RACC’s Murals Program and Forest for the Trees, an organization that brings together local artists and others from around the world to create large scale murals around our city. The audience also saw sneak previews of upcoming public art  in the works. To see some of these images for yourselves, click here (slides 27-31).

RACC Board member and Chair of our Grants Review Committee, Susheela Jayapal, described the various ways we award City funds to artists and organizations and the challenges facing RACC and the organizations who benefit from the Arts Tax, which currently is not bringing in the full amount voted approved by Portland voters in 2012. Susheela also introduced jazz musician and PSU professor, Darrell Grant, who described what he was able to achieve thanks to a RACC Project Grant. Literary Arts Executive Director Andrew Proctor explained the phenomenal success of the inaugural year of its Wordstock Festival, newly adopted by his organization, a longtime member of RACC’s General Operating Support program. And finally Luann Algoso spoke about APANO’s Expanding Cultural Access grant, which supported their well-received Cultural Events Series in the Jade District.

RACC’s Board member Mike Golub introduced RACC’s on-going programs which beneficially connect arts and business. When Business for Culture and the Arts closed last summer, RACC was asked to take on two of the organization’s most successful programs. Art of Leadership under George Thorn’s leadership provides seminars to train business people to be Board members of nonprofit arts organizations. RACC now also hosts The Arts Breakfast of Champions, which recognizes top donors and champions of the arts. We hope to expand the event’s scope going forward to celebrate all the ways arts and business can partner to inspire employees and foster creative collaborations.

Mike Co-Chair’s Work for Art, our workplace giving program, which typically raises about $750k a year for arts organizations. In this 10th anniversary year RACC hopes to raise a $1 million, through workplace campaigns and events such as the upcoming Battle of the Bands, May 12th. Part of ZGF’s competing band, Pencil Skirt Paula and the Straightedge Rulers, treated the audience to a musical tribute to Prince.  Finally Ian Mouser of My Voice Music testified about the amazing work his organization can do for kids with City funding, and the grand finale was a moving duet sung by Matthew Gailey and Lea Mulligan of PHAME (below).


We so value and appreciate everyone’s time and enthusiasm and the long-standing and heartfelt commitment by our supportive City Council!

It’s Advocacy Season!

Eloise’s Blog:

Clearly spring is here and with its glorious arrival come our annual rounds of budget advocacy. Over the past five months a highly convincing group of arts leaders and advocates from the private sector, ably led by Chris Coleman, has visited with Mayor Hales, Commissioners Fish, Novick, Fritz and Saltzman as well as the two leading contenders for our new Mayor, Jules Bailey and Ted Wheeler. These meetings focused on the vital role the arts play here and the need to fill the gap in the Arts Tax funding so that all the benefits voters supported actually come to fruition.

This same group also met with Multnomah County Chair, Deborah Kafoury, and soon RACC will be checking in with our other friends at the County during their budget process. We were thrilled last year when the Chair included in her budget (with urging from Commissioners Shiprack and Bailey)an increase to RACC to support the Right Brain Initiative and arts services to underrepresented communities.

In Washington County interest is high to coordinate arts services better going forward, to clarify funding processes and sources, and to increase the County Commissioners’ investments in arts and culture, through RACC and several key arts organizations in the county.

The main thrust in Clackamas County is to restore a $20k cut from several years ago in order to strengthen arts education and specifically the Right Brain Initiative, a favorite program of this Board of Commissioners.

And last but not least we are meeting with Metro Councilors to hopefully invigorate our relationship and mutual interest in the region whose footprint we share.

This is time consuming work, but rewarding to have meaningful discussions with the talented people who are serving in elected office.

What can you do to help? Please mark your calendars and join us for our annual State of the Arts presentation to Portland City Council! Thursday, April 21 @ 2:00 pm. We promise a lively event if you will help us pack City Council Chambers once again!  Thank you.


Eloise’s Blog:

Wednesday, February 24th began early for me, but what a great day it turned out to be! We started at 7:30 a.m. with The Arts Breakfast of Champions – the first for RACC after “adopting” the event when NWBCA closed late last summer. Our goal was to make the breakfast feel familiar for long time fans of which there are hundreds and yet to give it our own flavor. We wanted to celebrate not only the generosity of businesses who support the arts but also the vital role arts and artists play in making Portland a wonderful place to do business, visit, give voice to our diversity, educate our young people and live in a thriving creative environment.

At the risk of sounding like an Oscar winner by thanking the entire world, I will extend a broad and profound thank you to everyone who supported the event with planning, sponsorships, table hosting, ticket purchases, testimonials, emceeing, brilliant performances, creation of the awards themselves, organizational wizardry, volunteering and anything I missed, which contributed to what appears to have been a well received Breakfast of Champions. There was also a great deal of social media chatter using the hashtag #artcreates, and some great photos from Andie Petkus are available on our Facebook page. Thank you all!

My next stop was the Schntizer concert hall where I joined thousands of Portland school children and their teachers and chaperones for a concert by Black Violin. The entire hall was filled with cheering, clapping, singing, texting, and dancing kids inspired and energized by the music and the magnetism of the performers. Black Violin was founded by two black men who met in a Miami high school where they studied classical violin and viola. After perfecting their classical offerings they transitioned to infusing that music with hip hop rhythms wanting to debunk stereotypes and inspire people – especially young people – to  try whatever they are passionate about and do it in ways all their own. And those kids were definitely into them – loudly and enthusiastically.

Kudos are due to Portland’5 and Robyn Williams who presented the  concert, provided all the buses, paid the bills and made sure that the hall was filled with kids from Title 1 schools. And praise also goes to Carole Smith and all the participating schools who arranged to make this experience happen for so many kids. I expect many will be changed and encouraged and will not forget that magical day in that fancy place and of course the music that made them feel so good.