Regional Arts & Culture Council urges Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley to support Arts & Culture funding in Congress

Join Us! SIGN BY FRIDAY, NOV. 25, 2022

The final FY23 Interior Appropriations budget, which includes annual funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will be negotiated by current members of both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. Currently the House version sets allocations at an all-time high of $207 million each for the NEA and NEH, whereas the Senate Appropriations Committee (chaired by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley) has allocated only $195 million each. 

RACC, the City of Portland, and Oregon arts and cultural organizations ask you to join us in respectfully urging Senator Jeff Merkley, Chair of the Interior Appropriations Committee, to accept the House-approved level of $207 million for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

View the letter, written by Americans for the Arts here.

Add your organization’s signature here. Please share with others and be sure to sign up by November 25th for the impact to be felt in Washington, DC.

As part of the arts and cultural sector, we know that investment strengthens our economy and the social fabric of our communities. Please join in advocating your support of this measure to Senator Jeff Merkley for increased funding!

Thank you! 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 7, 2022 

Portland, OR – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



Carol Tatch, Chief of External Operations


Arts and Culture 2021 Legislative Priorities

A message from Madison Cario, Executive Director, Regional Arts & Culture Council

Play the video.

2020 was a year like no other in RACC’s 49-year history. Through the lens of a devastating pandemic, we learned anew that arts, culture, history, heritage, and humanities are, and will continue to be, essential in our state, our nation, and around the world. Humanity has had to adapt to survive – changing the faces of communities throughout the world. Too many people have paid far too high a cost. We know the value that creative expression brings to us all and that public investment helps to ensure deeper access for all of our residents. Through this, we continue to stand strong as a community of creative providers.

2021 is a crucial legislative year for Oregon’s vital cultural sector. We are urging our state policymakers to prioritize arts, culture, heritage, and the humanities in order to encourage creativity, contribute to Oregon’s economic recovery, and rebuild community. Investing in Oregon’s creative and cultural life supports Oregonians’ values, promotes whole person health, strengthens communities, and attracts and retains workers in an innovation economy 

RACC’s mission is to enrich our communities through arts and culture and our vision is a thriving region, powered by creativity, with arts and culture in every neighborhood. To do this, RACC promotes equity, diversity, inclusion, and access and uses a racial equity lens to advocate for the equitable distribution of resources and the creation of public policies that will provide support for the arts ecosystem now and into the future. 

Find out more and register for virtual Advocacy Day on April 23, hosted by many arts and culture organizations from around the state, and the Cultural Advocacy Coalition. Keep reading to learn about our shared legislative priorities and alignment with our coalition partners. 

RACC supports and will monitor the specific recommendations of the Joint Committee on Student Success for funding arts and music specialists in elementary schools as they are closely linked with work across the six Portland school districts receiving Arts Education Access Fund dollars.  

More on Portland’s Arts Education Access Fund explained here.  

SB 5023 – Business Oregon Budget Bill; SB 5025 – Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Budget Bill 
Increased state funding of cultural agencies and partners leverages the full potential of Oregon’s creative and cultural resources to attract and retain business, increase tourism, improve education and enrich the lives of Oregonians through greater opportunity to access meaningful experiences in the arts, heritage, and the humanities, statewide. Now more than ever it is essential that the cultural sector be supported as Oregonians recover from the economic strains imposed by the pandemic. The statewide partners include:   

  • Oregon Arts Commission   
  • Oregon Cultural Trust   
  • State Historic Preservation Office and Heritage Commission   
  • Oregon Humanities   
  • Oregon Historical Society   

SB 108 – Historic Property Tax Credit Extension for 10 Years 
Critical this year is renewal of the Historic Property Special Assessments which assist owners of commercial properties. We support an extension of at least ten years, through 2031, to provide time for local governments, preservation advocates, and others to update Oregon’s approach to current preservation needs.   

SB 43 – Tax Credit Extension for Six Years 
We support extending the sunset for labor rebates for qualifying film production and the tax credit for certified film production development contributions.   

HB 5534 – Lottery Bonds 
By creating the Cultural Resources Economic Fund in 2013, the State established its role in expanding and strengthening cultural infrastructure by leveraging lottery bonds to invest in arts, heritage, and humanities infrastructure projects.  

RACC supports legislative deliberations on revising the lyrics to the state song or starting fresh. We applaud suggestions for a broad participatory process grounded in equity and inclusion. To date, the Cultural Advocacy Coalition, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities, and the Oregon Community Foundation have led these conversations. More information on the State song can be found here. 

HB 2255 – Limits Itemized Personal Income Tax Deductions for Charitable Contribution 
While tax policy is an important tool to incentivize activity and fund government services, the nonprofit sector is a partner in the service of public policy goals and should be promoted and strengthened through tax policy where possible. RACC does not support tax policy that discourages charitable giving by individuals.   

You can find more details on the Cultural Advocacy Coalition’s  legislative session priorities.   

Advocacy Day | Friday, April 23 


Image description: blue rectangle with a green silhouette of the state of Oregon sits under a green banner at the top that reads: “Advocacy Day, Friday, April 23rd.” Credit: Cultural Advocacy Coalition.

Join with us, many arts and culture organizations from around the state, and the Cultural Advocacy Coalition, for this year’s virtual Advocacy Day.  

Advocate for the arts from wherever you call home. Find links to the lineup of special guests, a fabulous training, and the premiere of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition’s new look. Register today and stay tuned for more details! 

We are urging our state policymakers to prioritize arts, culture, heritage, and the humanities in order to encourage creativity, contribute to Oregon’s economic recovery, and rebuild community. Investing in Oregon’s creative and cultural life supports Oregonians’ values, promotes whole person health, strengthens communities, and attracts and retains workers in an innovation economy 

Learn more about our legislative focus for arts and culture advocacy in Oregon.

Questions about Advocacy Day? Write to Jamie Painter at jamie@oregonculture.org.  

RACC’s mission is to enrich our communities through arts and culture, and our vision is a thriving region, powered by creativity, with arts and culture in every neighborhood. An independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, we support greater Portland’s creative economy by providing equitable funding and services to artists and art organizations; managing and growing our diverse, nationally-acclaimed public art program; and developing long-lasting public and private partnerships. For more information visit racc.org

Donate to the Oregon Cultural Trust: Impact of your Cultural Donations for Free

If you gave to an arts and culture nonprofit this year (including RACC) you qualify to take advantage of Oregon’s cultural tax credit. The credit makes doubling the impact of your cultural giving free, but you have to act before December 31. As a supporter of arts and culture in Oregon, you don’t want to miss this opportunity! Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a donation to any one, or combination of, the 1400+ cultural non-profits in the state
  2. Donate the same amount to the Oregon Cultural Trust by Dec. 31
  3. Claim the cultural tax credit when you file your taxes. You will get 100% of the Trust donation back as a tax credit. Not a deduction. A credit.*

*up to $500 for individuals, $1000 for couples filing jointly, and $2500 for a class-C Corporation

I urge you to make your matching donation to the Cultural Trust before Dec. 31. Learn more here: http://culturaltrust.org/get-involved/donate/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH7TRzEZSD


Help Pass Oregon’s First Ever “Equitable Access to Arts Education Task Force”

Issued by Chris Coleman on behalf of the Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition on 6/5/17

….Last week (6/1/17) Christine sent a message asking advocates to take action in support of arts education. And many of you responded (thank you!) but, SB 313 is still sitting in committee. (SB 313 creates Oregon’s first ever Task Force on Equitable Access to Arts Education and has had a public hearing in the Oregon Senate and was moved to the Joint Ways and Means Committee for funding)

The good news is that your advocacy reached key leaders, but we still have work to do—fewer than half of all committee members heard from a constituent on this issue. If you saw Christine’s email but didn’t have a chance to send your message, there’s still time.

With just over 20 working days till this legislature adjourns, we need advocates to take action now. If you have not already done so, please click this link to send an email asking Ways and Means Committee members to support the creation of a Task Force on Equitable Access to Arts Education today……

Oregon Arts Funding Update

Issued by Christine Drazan, Executive Director at Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition and Craig Campbell, Lobbyist, on May 26, 2017.

As we move into this Memorial Day weekend, we only have five weeks remaining in the Oregon Legislative Session. The process has narrowed the policy and spending bills that still have the opportunity to move. This narrowing of legislative measures allows the legislature to move noncontroversial policy bills early in the session and following the revenue forecast, shift their full attention to issues around the budget shortfall and discussions of new transportation and business taxes. Priority legislation for the cultural community is likely to remain in committee until these larger issues are resolved.


The May Revenue Forecast was released on May 16th.   2017-2019 budgets are based on this forecast, and now that it has been released, the legislature will begin to finalize budgets and advance discussions around new revenues needed to limit cuts as they work to balance the state budget.


The Cultural Advocacy Coalition continues to lobby to restore funding for the Oregon Arts Commission and is supporting a package of endorsed capital construction projects in the cultural sector. Many proposals over the session to address the larger issues of balancing the budget and raising revenues have had the potential to harm the cultural sector. We have worked hard to ensure these issues are understood in their larger context as proposals that would harm the nonprofit sector broadly and would damage access to the arts in Oregon.

The session has been a whirlwind, and the final five weeks will be intense. The Coalition’s priority legislation is listed below. And, you can keep up-to-date on legislation we are tracking by visiting the Take Action section of our website.

  • Restore state-level cuts to the Oregon Arts Commission—HB5025
    • $272,000 proposed cut expected to be implemented by the OAC through a 30% cut in operating support grants
  • Support continuation of capital investments in cultural projects statewide—HB5530
    • $6 million in lottery bonds requested for construction projects in Cave Junction, Bend, Corvallis, Newport, Portland, Eugene and Cottage Grove that support economic development in the cultural sector.
  • Establish a Task Force on Equitable Access to Arts Education—SB313
    • The legislature’s first ever arts education task force is charged with quantifying existing access to arts education; identifying barriers to equity and recommending changes needed to encourage access to the arts within a well-rounded education

Restored funding for the Oregon Arts Commission and the appointment of an arts education task force will be difficult to achieve without substantial grassroots advocacy. If you have not already contacted your own legislators, please do so here. Thank you if you were among the many who sent a message to your legislator this month. Nearly 300 messages went out to 70 legislators, but we need to continue to keep the pressure on! When you click on the link to send your message, please personalize the intro and/or close to your email if you can—the more local and personalized your message is, the greater the impact.


Once again, thank you, to the many advocates who joined the Coalition for Arts and Culture Advocacy Day. Legislator meetings were plentiful and productive. It is so valuable when stakeholders take the time out of their schedules to connect as engaged constituents. With your help, we will continue to fight to ensure Oregon culture is preserved and protected in this session’s challenging budget environment.


Coalition members make this work possible. Your support defends fine art from harmful taxes, advances the conversation to address equitable access to arts education and fights for full funding for Oregon’s cultural sector.

For those of you who reading this but are not yet members of the Coalition, I hope you will take a moment to join. Individual memberships range from $50-$500 and can even be set up online with a monthly contribution that fits your budget. $5 a month or a $500 gift today—both memberships help keep the Coalition at the table on your behalf and sustain advocacy for arts and culture.

Thank you for your membership support and for your commitment to the growth and health of the cultural sector in Oregon.

Oregon Arts Funding Alert

Issued by the Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition (5/15/17)

Last week 138 messages went out to legislators in support of funding for arts and culture in the Oregon Legislature. But we still have work to do, because at last check, 33 legislators did not receive any messages from their constituents. This includes the Speaker of the House! So, we need your help. The revenue forecast (this is the estimate legislators will use to balance the state budget) is released at 8:30AM tomorrow (5/16) –which means legislators need to hear from you right away!

As of today (5/15), budget-writers have slated the relatively small budget of the Oregon Arts Commission for cuts of up to 12%, which could result in reduced funding in grants for arts organizations–of up to 30 percent. Proposals at the federal level to eliminate funding for cultural agencies in FY18 could result in crippling shortfalls in state funding and direct grants to arts, public broadcasting and the humanities. The potential adoption of these proposals, and the proposed cuts at the state level, places arts and culture in Oregon at grave risk.

If you have already contacted your legislators through another email address–thank you!

If not, please use the link below to send a message to your legislators immediately to ask that legislators work together to protect Oregon culture. If you know your legislator personally don’t click a link to send a standard message–take a moment to make a personal call to the legislator’s office to thank them for their hard work this session, and request that arts funding to be restored.

Click the link below to log in and send your message: