RACC Blog

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!


Arts Education for All Act Announcement

Immediate Release

September 27, 2023

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Re-Endorses The Arts Education for All Act (HR 5463) Co-Sponsored by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1)

Portland, OR – The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to announce our endorsement and support of the reintroduction of the Arts Education for All Act in 2023, announced during National Arts in Education Week on September 15 by Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR1), and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM). This Act will once again support and encourage arts education and programming for PK-12 students, youth, and adults involved in the justice system. The Regional Arts & Culture Council has engaged with numerous supporters throughout the past few years and we hope you will join us in once again supporting this important legislation. The newly established legislative Arts and Culture Caucus coordinated by Representative Rob Nosse (D-42) was launched earlier this year to emphasize the importance of arts and culture in Oregon. We know that arts education is a crucial component of that mission. At RACC, we support arts organizations and artists that make a difference in our community through their impactful engagement in the arts, and The Arts Education for All Act will only enhance these programs.

“The arts spark creativity, critical thinking, and empathy in students … These skills benefit and enrich students throughout their lives regardless of what path they take. It is unacceptable that there is less access to arts education for students from Black, Latino, and low-income families, especially when research shows that students who have arts education perform better in math, reading, and writing. I wrote the Arts Education for All Act to help address these disparities. And with student mental health as a top concern, the arts can help bring healing and wellness.”  Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici

The Arts Education for All Act addresses these gaps in access to arts education and has the potential to improve the lifelong health and achievement of both children and adults. Arts education and programming can be federally funded under various existing programs; however, currently there is a lack of clarity and information available about how the funds can be used. If this becomes legislation, it will support and encourage arts education and programming for our youngest learners, and will also include youth and adults involved in the criminal court and justice systems. The bill also includes provisions that support rigorous arts and arts education research to continue to inform how elementary and secondary education outcomes are affected by a well-rounded education.

A one-page summary of the Arts Education for All Act can be found here. For a link to the press release issued by the Congresswoman, click here. CALL TO ACTION- if you want to endorse Arts Education for All, please add your name to the list here or email artsedu@racc.org. To read the full text of the bill click here.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Chanda Evans, Arts Education Manager, Regional Arts & Culture Council, cevans@racc.org

Communications at Regional Arts & Culture Council, comms@racc.org


Arts for All Program Increases Access and Outreach in Community

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Announces a Relaunch of the Arts for All Program to Increase Engagement and Outreach in Our Community, and Beyond, Ensuring Arts & Culture Are Accessible for All

We envision a community that supports, engages with, and finds joy in arts and culture being accessible by all–not just those who can afford to pay, but also for those with limited resources. RACC wants opportunities to be available for all members of our community. We want people to be uplifted, enjoy arts and cultural events, and be part of the creative fabric of our state. The Arts for All program was conceived by a group of thoughtful arts leaders more than 10 years ago to ensure that everyone receiving assistance through the Oregon Trail Card/SNAP could attend arts and cultural events for $5 a ticket.

While the Arts for All program has flourished and steadily grown, we have seen that there is a need to increase its accessibility. To achieve our goals, we are relaunching the program with renewed engagement and outreach. Our goals include making the information downloadable from our website at www.racc.org and distributing printed materials throughout the region to hundreds of non-profit social service agencies, county and city government offices, schools, health departments and clinics, community centers, arts and culture organizations, and more. Program information will be available in six languages and will be at culturally specific locations.

Friends of Chamber Music was proud to be one of the founding member organizations of Arts for All back in 2011, and I’ve personally had the privilege of continuing to help coordinate the program for the last several years. It’s been so gratifying to see the impact Arts for All has had in making the arts accessible to all parts of our community and see it become a model for similar programs across the country.  – Pat Zagelow, Friends of Chamber Music Executive Director

The Arts for All program enables us to enjoy arts and culture together while ensuring access for all. Without the support and dedication of arts organizations in our community, this program would not be possible. We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Hult Center for Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon. The expansion of the Arts for All program throughout the state ensures better access to arts and culture for all of our residents.

RACC looks forward to hearing the community’s response for this renewed launch and engagement opportunity for Arts for All. Please let us know how we can continue to ensure that access to arts and culture activities is available for all who wish to participate. Let us know how we can make this community-centered program better! – Carol Tatch, Executive Director, Regional Arts & Culture Council

The organizations who have joined RACC to ensure access to arts and culture in our community are listed at racc.org/artsforall. Please support these arts and cultural organizations any way that you can to show your support for arts and culture access for all. For more information, please email us at arts4all@racc.org.


Please join us: RACC in Community on Monday Sept. 25 from 6-8pm

We invite you to our third  RACC in Community engagement. This is an opportunity to get informed and ask questions about the July announcement from the City of Portland, proposing to not renew RACC’s contract, and to learn how you can support RACC at this time.

When: Monday, September 25

Time: 6:00-8:00 pm

Where: Lakewood Center for the Arts,  368 S State St, Lake Oswego, OR 97034 in Clackamas County

RSVP hereand remember to let us know if there are accessibility needs that we can accommodate for your participation.

Please come to hear our response, plans for the future, and to learn how you can be activated to respond to the City. Food and artistic engagement will be provided. We are looking forward to your presence!

WE NEED YOUR VOICE! WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

RACC is holding  a series of community events  throughout the region. Bring your voice, curiosity, and your questions. RACC was built by community for community. RACC is your solution for a thriving ecosystem, powered by creativity, with arts and culture in every neighborhood. Being mindful of our community, we understand that some of you may choose or are unable to attend this next event. We respect the wide variety of cultural, religious, and spiritual practice’s of our communities. Therefore we are working on providing a number of different community events across the tri-county area. We hope you can join us at one in the future. Please see additional save the dates below.

SAVE THE DATES:

September 29, from 6-8pm  SE Portland at Shaking the Tree Theatre, 823 SE Grant St, Portland, OR 97214. Please RSVP here.

 

October 5, from 6-8pm at the Walters Cultural Center, 527 E Main Street, Hillsboro, OR 97123 in Washington County. Please RSVP here.

 

October 17, from 6-8 pm at the Wade Creek Park Community Building,  915 NW Wade St. Estacada Oregon, 97023  in partnership with the Estacada Area Arts Commission, in Clackamas County. Please RSVP here. 

Check out our Instagram  for additional updates.

If you have further questions,  please reach out to advocacy@racc.org.

More information can be found on our Advocacy Hub. Click here for our FAQ’s


Please join us: RACC in Community on Wednesday Sept.20, 2023

We invite you to our second RACC in Community engagement. This is an opportunity to ask questions about the recent announcement from the City of Portland about the proposal to not renew RACC’s contract, and to learn how you can support RACC at this time. Bring your voice, curiosity, and your questions. RACC was built by community for community. RACC is your solution for a thriving ecosystem, powered by creativity, with arts and culture in every neighborhood. Our first engagement in NE Portland at openHAUS was a huge success!

When: Wednesday September 20, 2023

Where: BodyVox, 201 NW 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Time: 6-8 pm

Please  RSVP here

Please come to hear our response, plans for the future, and to learn how you can be activated to respond to the City. Food and artistic engagement will be provided. We are looking forward to your presence! Thank you for your support—RACC was created by community, for community.

SAVE THE DATES:  More engagement events will be held in SE, SW, and in Clackamas and Washington counties. Please click here for listings. Check out our Instagram  for additional updates.

If you have further questions,  please reach out to advocacy@racc.org.

More information can be found on our Advocacy Hub. Click here for our FAQ’s


A Call to Action: Legacy Arts Council asks Communities for Support in Fight for Continued Partnership with Portland

RACC hosted artists

RACC hosted artists: Javon Johnson, Ted Lange, Regina Taylor, Phillip Bernard Smith, and RACC Team Members during the recent Pacific Northwest Multi Cultural Readers Series and Film Festival. Photo by M. Boakye.

Immediate Release

September 14, 2023

Regional Arts and Culture Council holds in-person events with its supporters to rally awareness, support for its continued contract with the City

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) is doing what it does best: Building community for the purpose of supporting the region’s artists and creatives. Thursday, September 14, the nonprofit will kick off community events across the Portland metro region, to celebrate its base and rally support as they ask the City of Portland to reconsider canceling its contract with RACC.

“We continue to do everything in our power to speak the truth about our three decades-long partnership with the City of Portland,” said Carol Tatch, RACC executive director. “RACC’s level of expertise and involvement is critical to the revitalization of Portland. We stand by our legacy of success and track record of responsible stewardship of the public’s dollars.”

RACC in Community Event
RACC is facing a deadline imposed by the City of Portland. Councilmember Ryan announced in July he is canceling the City’s contract with RACC, effective June 30, 2024. The City plans to bring the Portland arts and cultural decisions inside the government versus through RACC, an established and respected 501(c)(3).

The RACC team and its community are working feverishly to illuminate the impact canceling the contract would have on artists and arts organizations throughout the tri-county area – and how the entire Portland metro area would suffer. Commissioner Ryan’s decision would take away the Portland community’s power to make decisions about arts funding, and hand it back to city officials. The reason RACC was created in the first place, 28 years ago, was to return that authority to the people, where it belongs.

“I truly don’t believe the public understands what’s at stake,” said Debby Garman, RACC interim board chair. “I believe that facts matter, and truth matters. I believe citizens of Portland deserve to hear RACC’s perspective and to hear correct facts about the City claims leading to canceling the RACC contract. Portland is deeply in need of restoration, and the expert team at RACC supporting the broadest creative community can be a brilliant part of the solution.”

Event Details and Activation
Thursday, September 14, marks the kickoff community event, held at openHAUS, 5020 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. RACC encourages everyone to bring their questions, curiosity, and voices. There will be ample food and entertainment, along with details about RACC’s plan. Communities will learn how to leverage their voices to support area artists who depend on RACC funding.

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Please join us: RACC in Community on Thursday Sept.14, 2023

We invite you to our first RACC in Community engagement. This is an opportunity to ask questions about the recent announcement from the City of Portland about the proposal to not renew RACC’s contract, and to learn how you can support RACC at this timeThis is the first of a series of community events we will hold throughout the region. Bring your voice, curiosity, and your questions. RACC was built by community for community. RACC is your solution for a thriving ecosystem, powered by creativity, with arts and culture in every neighborhood. Our first engagement will kick off in NE Portland.

When: Thursday, September 14, 2023

Time: 6:00-8:00 pm

Where: openHAUS, 5020 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Portland OR 97211

Please RSVP here and remember to let us know if there are accessibility needs that we can accommodate for your participation.

Please come to hear our response, plans for the future, and to learn how you can be activated to respond to the City. Food and artistic engagement will be provided. We are looking forward to your presence! Thank you for your support—RACC was created by community, for community.

SAVE THE DATE: Our second engagement will be in NW Portland at BodyVox, on September 20th from 6-:00-8:00 pm. Please  RSVP here More engagement events will be held in SE, SW, and in Clackamas and Washington counties. Check out our Instagram  for updates.

If you have further questions,  please reach out to advocacy@racc.org.

More information can be found on our Advocacy Hub. Click here for our FAQ’s

 

Image Credits: Aztec Dance group “Coatlicue” after performing a blessing at “Our Space of Possibilities” on the final Saturday of June 2023. Photo by Kevin Truong. “Our Space of Possibilities” was created by Patricia Vázquez Gómez in collaboration with local East Portland artists and organizations and funded by the National Endowment for the ArtsPortland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)Trimet, and RACC.

 


Advocacy in Arts Education

What do we want? Arts Education! When do we want it? Now!

This seems like the mantra every new school year, every budget season, and perennially from youth across our communities. They love art. They love the paint, the sticky glue on their fingers, the seasonal pumpkin sketches, and the field trips to performances and exhibitions. They love using scissors and cutting hearts out of red construction paper, school assemblies, showcasing their ceramics and photography in the halls, learning current media techniques, and most of all, they love the joy of being creative together.

Advocating for arts and culture in our community and schools is a full-time job. We hope that one day it will just be the norm. People will simply understand the value of arts and culture in our community, in our schools. We will not have to advocate for funding and sustaining a vibrant arts education program in our PK-12 schools, but will be thinking instead about all the new courses, and the arts educators we need to hire because the demand for art is so vast and the classes are too full. Imagine.

Yet, arts and culture are in demand now. Arts save lives. We know that because teachers, community members, students, policy makers, data reports and analysis, and arts organizations remind us repeatedly. It is through arts in our schools that an atmosphere of communication and tolerance, a mapping of emotions through creation, enable students to connect to the greater world. There they can express their creative selves, find their voice, and to see the connectedness of the human spirit. In community, we do the same.

Can you recall the world without music, movies, gatherings and performances while we were in lockdown during the global Covid-19 pandemic? The arts enable us to survive through some of our darkest times as a community, and the arts continue to uplift and support us as we struggle not just to survive, but to thrive in our new world.

We ask you to join us as an advocate for arts education in our schools and in our community. Lend your voice to the chorus, and share your experiences and joy with others. Tell your story of how the arts saved you. Nurtured you. Tell your family members to support candidates and board members that want sustained funding in arts education in our community. Support arts councils that advocate for arts and culture in your community. Support arts organizations by volunteering, attending performances, and sponsoring school trips through donations. Whatever you do, be that advocate and voice for arts and culture in our community and schools. Be loud.

Please join us at www.racc.org/arts-education to learn more.  Tag us on Instagram when you share your stories.

-Chanda Evans, Arts Education Manager