RACC Responds to SCOTUS ruling on June 24th, 2022: The Overturning of Roe v Wade

The Regional Arts & Culture Council believes that human rights include the rights of women and the right to freedom from oppression. We believe that no one is a second class citizen or resident. We believe that women are equal and should be treated as such. As an arts and cultural non-profit organization we support the arts and artists who create using all forms of creative expression. As a social justice organization we cannot remain silent, nor will we.

Our core values include:

  • Accessibility
  • Advocacy
  • Equity
  • Diversity
  • Community
  • Innovation

 For questions, please reach out to us at info@racc.org.

Change the Conversation About the Arts-AEP6 Now Open

Our nonprofit arts industry generates
billions in economic activity supporting millions of jobs every year.

The arts bring us inspiration and joy, and make our community a beautiful place to live and work. But the arts do so much more. 

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.

After more than a one-year postponement, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study is getting underway nationally this month of May 2022. This is the sixth national economic impact study of America’s nonprofit arts and cultural industry. It documents the economic contributions of the arts in diverse communities and regions across the country, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Previous partners have included local arts agencies, community foundations, economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, performing arts centers, and more. And RACC is looking for your participation!

It is now more important than ever to demonstrate that, even in the wake of COVID-19 and the resulting economic recession, the arts will provide a significant boost as we recharge the economy in America’s local communities. The arts will draw people out of their homes and back into community life—spending time with each other and spending their money with local merchants. Studies indicate that audiences cannot wait to return, and we are looking to our community along with them to count us in on that.

While 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 role in all aspects of the human experience. While most appreciate the cultural benefit provided to our community, few realize that our local arts industry supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is a cornerstone of tourism. Economic impact studies such as these will expand the conversation about how many people view the arts.

In the previous survey, AEP5 showed that nationally the nonprofit arts industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity, supporting 4.6 million jobs and generating $27.5 billion in government revenue. Locally, 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. Our local nonprofit arts and culture organizations have been and will continue to be critical to our community and economic recovery.

We are currently seeking your help to collect this data for AEP6. While part of a national study, our reports will be based on spending by our own local nonprofit arts and culture organizations as well as the event-related spending by their audiences (at local retail, parking, and restaurant establishments). We believe this important research tool will demonstrate that when we invest our dollars in the arts, we are not doing so at the expense of economic development. Rather, we are investing in an industry that strengthens our local economy. 

Let’s change the conversation. The arts mean business. 

Learn more about the AEP6 study and how you can get involved today: AmericansForTheArts.org/AEP6 

In short, the arts mean business. Help us change the conversation.

Interested in getting involved within the City of Portland or anywhere in Multnomah County, 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/.



If you are interested in participating and reside in our sister counties please contact the the following:

Washington County
Raziah Roushan, Executive Director of Tualatin Valley Creates, director@tvcreates.org.

Clackamas County
Dianne Alves, Executive Director of Clackamas County Art Alliance, dianne@clackamasartsalliance.org.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 6


The Arts & Economic Prosperity (AEP6) survey is back.

AEP6 documents the economic contributions of the arts in over 250 diverse communities and regions across the country, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. During 2015, AEP5 in Oregon the nonprofit arts and culture 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.

The study put to rest a misconception that communities supported arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, what AEP5 showed was that communities were investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism. This economic impact study sent a strong signal that when we support the arts, we not only enhance our quality of life, but we also invest in the Greater Portland Area’s economic well-being, including Clackamas and Washington Counties.

This year, we have a chance to study the impact of the past few years along with the resilience of our creative community. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations are active contributors to our business community. They are employers, producers, and consumers. They are members of the Chamber of Commerce as well as key partners in the marketing and promotion of their cities, regions, and states. Spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations totaled $364 million during fiscal year 2015.

To measure the impact of spending by cultural audiences in the Greater Portland Area, data were collected from 1,474 event attendees during AEP5. Researchers used an audience-intercept methodology, a standard technique in which patrons are asked to complete a short survey about their event-related spending (while they are attending the event). Event-related spending by these attendees totaled $116 million in the Greater Portland Area during fiscal year 2015, excluding the cost of event admission.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 showed conclusively that, locally as well as nationally, the arts mean business!

Read more about RACC’s lead in the City of Portland and Multnomah County here.

Audience surveys will be collected from attendees at performances, events, exhibits, venues, and facilities during the 12 months from May 2022 through April 2023. Venue Eligibility

If you are interested in getting involved as either a venue to be counted please submit your live event for consideration here (for the tri-county area) and/or are interested in volunteering in Multnomah County, please contact Mario Mesquita, Manager of Advocacy & Engagement at Regional Arts & Culture Council at AEP6@racc.org

Raziah Roushan, Executive Director of Tualatin Valley Creates, director@tvcreates.org, for Washington County
Dianne Alves, Executive Director of Clackamas County Art Alliance, dianne@clackamasartsalliance.org, for Clackamas County

Read more at Americans for the Arts.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Regional Findings:
Oregon Study Regions Comparison

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Oregon Summary

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Greater Portland Area Summary

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Clackamas County Summary

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Washington County Summary


Creative Workers Back to Work with the Creative Economy Revitalization Act

Graphic image states 91% of all arts, culture and recreation businesses are solo entrepreneurship, and millions of creative workers are independent workers.How It Works
The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) would: 

                  • Get creatives working by creating competitive workforce grants program within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act;
                  • Administer grants to eligible government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations, as well as state and local workforce boards through the Department of Labor, in coordination with the National Endowment for the Arts;
                  • Require that grantees create art that is accessible to the public such as free concert series, large-scale murals, photography exhibits, published stories, or dance performances. 

To rebuild and reimagine the United States post-pandemic, we must put creative workers to work.
Looking to the future, and to recovery post-pandemic, CERA proposes to leverage our creative power, putting creative workers to work rebuilding, reimagining, unifying, and healing communities in Oregon and every state, every region, and within tribal lands.

“Millions of artists and creative workers have lost jobs during the past year. In Native communities, the loss of income and work has been dramatic with shuttered arts and cultural venues, cancelled festivals and gigs, and rescheduled fairs and events. The Creative Economy Revitalization Act will provide a lifeline to artists and the creative economy unlike anything seen since the WPA of 1933. Getting artists and creatives back to work creating public art is critical, and there is no greater power than the arts to unite, heal, and empower people and communities.”

–T. Lulani Arquette, President & CEO, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation

In 1935, facing 20% unemployment, President Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1973, at a moment of similar crisis, President Nixon signed the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). These federal policy efforts—one by a Democrat, one by a Republican—sparked national recovery at two crucial moments and can inspire action now.

Investment in the creative economy has proven essential in each previous workforce effort. Similar investment now can be a basis to foster unity, expand and improve infrastructure, address community health issues, and drive innovation, recovery, and reimagination. The next Administration must draw upon the creative energies of the country’s 5.1 million creative workers to energize our collective communities, reimagine how communities can thrive, and improve the lives of all.

Creative workers are a part of our local economy and everywhere across the United States. Like others who are unemployed and underemployed, creative workers have much to offer in healing, recovery, and beyond. Paying artists and other creative workers for their contributions to the health, equity, and well-being of our communities rebuilds our economy. These workers uniquely engage communities to contribute to well-being and connectivity, reflecting back local history, amplifying the unique character of places, and renewing the civic and social lives of community members through their work. To thrive tomorrow, we must create a jobs ecosystem for creative workers today.

“The National Alliance of Community and Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) is happy to support the Creative Economy Revitalization Act. We found most compelling that this Act would support creating local projects that tell community stories and bring forward community identity, particularly in the places, and among the people, most impacted by the pandemic.”

–Frank Woodruff, Executive Director, National Alliance of Community and Economic Development Associations

Creative workers, and the hundreds of thousands of creative businesses they drive, have been devastated by COVID-19, more than almost any other sector. One study pegs the creative worker unemployment rate at 63% and a collective income loss of more than $60 billion. Creative workers stand ready to heal, strengthen, rebuild, and reimagine our communities.

Arts and culture are crucial components of civic dialogue, and research shows that in the primary areas of concern for recovery—including racial justice, health, education, community cohesion, and public safety—the integration of creative workers improves outcomes and sets up the community for success. Through a suite of efforts coordinated via a centralized office housed in the West Wing, artists and creative workers can be put to work addressing pressing issues of the day.

Read more on 16 specific actions that the next Administration can take to activate the creative economy within a comprehensive national recovery strategy at www.creativeworkers.net 

To see more detail on the proposed actions to take to address these policies, which together would put 300,000 creative workers back to work, click here. These actions were arrived at through focus groups with the signatories to the Put Creative Workers to Work proposal.

This proposal was collaboratively developed by more than 100 partner organizations and individuals, and has been endorsed by more than 2,300 creative businesses and creative workers.

“Americans for the Arts, in partnership with the nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies, 56 state arts agencies, 5.2 million creative workers, and the state arts alliances that advocate for them, endorses this bill to invest in the creative economy. Supporting creative workers makes strong business sense as the arts drive economic and community transformation in American cities and towns. The Arts are a national asset, and our country thrives because artists and creative workers are a part of the collective workforce helping our citizens recover and grow from the trauma of COVID-19 and racial inequity, restart stalled local economies, and reimagine our shared way forward.”

– Nolen V. Bivens, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts  

The creative engine can power America’s economic recovery
Any investment in infrastructure, community, and workforce recovery must include the creative economy.

Additional Relief for Creative Workers and Companies Restart Funds & Hiring/Retention Incentives Federal Investment in Residencies, Commissions
To address the devastating longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the creative economy, and to preserve cultural infrastructure and capitalize on the economic and social rebuilding benefits of the arts, creative workers and creative businesses seek additional investment in relief efforts to support the sector. Both directly and by redistribution to local and state government, the creative sector seeks financial runways to allow cash-strapped creative businesses to restart and produce new sellable creative products and incentives for businesses and schools to accelerate rehiring and encourage retention of creative workers. Echoing previous federal works programs, the creative sector seeks artist and creative worker residencies within federal departments, direct commissioning of individual artists and cultural organizations, and the integration of creative workers into health, safety, education, and community development programs.
Improved Conditions for Independent Contractors Changes to Inequitable Federal Policies Stronger Representation within Government
91% of all arts, culture, and recreation businesses are solo entrepreneurs and millions of creative workers are independent workers. This locks them out of unemployment benefits, affordable health insurance, and access to capital–which must change to ensure a sustainable living. At no additional cost to the government, the creative sector seeks adjustments to various existing federal policies that disallow or discriminate against creative workers and other independent workers. To coordinate the policy relevant to the creative economy, with a particular focus on recovery and relief, the creative sector recommends the installation of an Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy senior advisor to maximize the impact and recognition of creative enterprise.

Adapted from the Put Creative Workers to Work platform, Oregon COVID-19 Impact Survey.

What Can You Do?
Advocates, use the E-alert on the CERA bill to quickly contact your members of Congress and request they join on to the legislation as a Co-Sponsor.

Click here to view an infographic to further explain this legislation.

Full bill text can be found here.

Read our previous posts about CERA:

Creative Work is Work

What is the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA)? Why Do We Need It?






Senate Restores NEA Arts Funding for FY’18

Issued by Americans for the Arts on November 20,2017.

Thanks to you and thousands of Arts Action Fund members, we advanced another big victory today in the United States Senate to #SAVEtheNEA. Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who received our Congressional Arts Leadership Award this year, soundly rejected President Trump’s attempt to terminate the nation’s cultural agencies by fully restoring FY 2018 arts funding to $150 million for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Congress extended its deadline to December 8th to pass legislation to fund government agencies and programs, including the NEA.  At that time, they will need to either pass or further extend that deadline again in order to keep the government running. Other key factors still in play this fall include possible veto threats from the President, focus on tax reform, recovery funding, money to “build a wall,” and not reaching agreement on increasing the looming debt ceiling caps.

We’re close to the finishing line.  Help keep the pressure on Congress. Watch the above one million-plus viewed video featuring members of our Artist Committee speak out and then please come visit our online Action Center to send a message to Congress. See the Arts Action Fund blog for a detailed chart of the Senate-proposed budgets of the various federal arts agencies.

Congress Gives the Arts a Funding Boost

Issued by Americans for the Art on May 1, 2017

Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to fund the nation’s federal agencies and programs for the remaining balance of the current FY2017 fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2017.  None of the nation’s arts and cultural agencies nor programs incurred a budget cut. In fact, many of them received funding increases for this year (see chart below).

Special thanks:

Special thanks to House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) for initiating a funding increase for many of these cultural programs in the House Interior bill and to Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for matching the funding increases in the Senate version of the bill. Many thanks to Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Senate Cultural Caucus co-chairs Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for keeping member pressure on Congressional leaders to increase funding for these critically important cultural agencies. Huge thanks to our 350,000 Arts Action Fund members for contacting their Members of Congress, signing our petitions to the White House, and sharing their stories on social media and with traditional media.

Key Federally Funded Arts & Culture Agencies/Programs FY 2016 Enacted Appropriations
(in millions)
FY 2017 Omnibus Proposal
(in millions)
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) $148 $150
National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) $148 $150
Assistance for Arts Education through U.S. Department of Education $27 $27
New ESSA Well-Rounded Education grants $400
Corp for Public Broadcasting (forward funded) $445 $445
Office of Museum Services $31 $32
Smithsonian Institution $840 $863
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum $54 $57
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts $36 $36
U.S. Commission of Fine Arts $2.65 $2.8
Nat’l Capital Arts & Cultural Affairs Program $2 $2
National Gallery of Art $148 $155.5

Next Steps:

  • FY2017:  Both chambers of Congress will next vote on this bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations bill before it proceeds to the President’s desk for him to sign/veto by this Friday, May 5th.  Despite the President recently proposing funding cuts to many of these cultural programs (i.e. $15 million cut to NEA), it appears that he will sign the bill.
  • FY2018:  Please note that the FY2018 appropriations bill for funding the federal government from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018 is still very much in play and going through the legislative process. This is the bill that the President recommended eliminating the NEA, NEH, IMLS, CPB, etc.  We remain focused on getting all of these agencies fully funded as well in the coming months.

Our #SAVEtheNEA campaign continues to go strong to advance the FY2018 message to Congress and the White House.  Please consider sending a #SAVEtheNEA message to your Congressional delegation as well as supporting our advocacy campaign efforts with a contribution.


My post today will not be breaking news to followers of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, but grassroots advocacy is essential over the next few months. While Oregon is lucky to have an arts supportive – even passionate – Congressional delegation, we all must make our voices heard that the President’s budget proposal is unacceptable.  And also please thank our Representatives and Senators for past support. Their offices need to be flooded!


The White House has released its proposed budget to Congress, officially recommending full termination of funding of both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for FY2018. This is the first American President in history to propose zeroing out all funding for the nation’s federal cultural agencies.

Eliminating the NEA would be a devastating blow to the arts in America. For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants in every Congressional district throughout all 50 states and U.S. Territories as well as placing arts therapists in 12 military hospitals to help returning soldiers heal from traumatic brain injuries. The NEA is also an economic powerhouse, generating more than $600 million annually in additional matching funds and helping to shape a $730 billion arts and culture industry that represents 4.2% of the nation’s GDP and supports 4.8 million jobs.

The federal appropriations process does not end here. We now begin a concerted grassroots effort to convince Congress to #SaveTheNEA. Here are the actions you can take right now:

  1. The most important thing you can do is to take two minutes to send a customizable message to your elected representatives in Congress and urge them to oppose any attempt to eliminate or cut funding to the NEA.
  2. Post on Facebook and Twitter to help rally national support to save the NEA. There is strength in numbers and your social media friends can help.
  3. Contribute to the Arts Action Fund to help ensure we have the resources to maintain our grassroots arts network.

PLEASE HELP! The road forward will be filled with horse-trading. Republican led Congresses have saved both agencies from extinction before. We cannot let this slip through.

Thank you for joining us.

U.S. Senators send President Trump NEA/NEH letter

In light of recent information regarding the possible elimination by the Trump administration of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Americans for the Arts (AFTA) shared a recent letter by twenty-four U.S. Senators.

The letter was sent on February 15, 2017 by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and coordinated with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) to President Trump, in support of the NEA and NEH.

The twenty-two other Senators that signed include our own Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and two GOP members, Senators Capito (R-WV) and Collins (R-ME).

Please read the letter and circulate it in your community.

LINK: AFTA’s advocacy alert