RACC Blog

Chloe Eudaly tapped to be Portland’s new Arts Commissioner

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has shuffled some of the City of Portland’s bureau and liaison assignments, and on September 4 Commissioner Chloe Eudaly will become the RACC liaison and arts commissioner.

A strong advocate for culture and creativity, Commissioner Eudaly is no stranger to the arts. She has owned and operated an independent bookstore featuring dozens of emerging and established authors, zinesters, comic book creators and printmakers; and she received a RACC professional development grant in 1997 to attend the 4th annual Alternative Press Expo in San Jose. She also helped establish the Independent Publishing Resource Center and has supported numerous arts nonprofits over the years, including co-chairing RACC’s Battle of the Bands fundraiser in 2017. Earlier this year, Commissioner Eudaly worked closely with Commissioner Fish on the City’s Arts Affordability Plan, which was adopted by City Council in February.

Commissioner Eudaly’s policy advisor for arts and culture issues is Pollyanne Faith Birge, known to many in the arts community because of role with former Portland Mayor Sam Adams. In that role, Pollyanne conceived and launched Art Spark as a networking opportunity for local artists (since adopted by RACC), and was instrumental in the development of Act for Art, a creative action plan for the Portland metro region published in 2009. While in Commissioner Eudaly’s office, Pollyanne has supported a number of RACC initiatives including the RACC executive director search committee.  She can be reached at 503.823.3056 or by email at pollyanne.birge@portlandoregon.gov.

RACC is very much looking forward to working with Commissioner Eudaly and her talented staff. We are grateful for the past and continued support of Commissioner Nick Fish, who will take on a new assignment with Portland Parks and Recreation, opening up new opportunities to explore the powerful and unique intersection of arts and parks. Asena Lawrence remains Commissioner Fish’s policy advisor on arts and culture issues.

 

Photo of Chloe Eudaly at Battle of the Bands, by Erica Ann Photography.


RACC board elects new members and officers

On July 1, Linda McGeady became RACC’s new board chair, succeeding Mike Golub who will serve as Chair Emeritus until June 30, 2019. McGeady is originally from Belfast, Ireland, and became a US Citizen 18 years ago; being involved in Portland’s arts community has been an important part of her life here.  She serves on the Art Committee of the Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, and is active in The International School alumni community. She also serves on the board of The Circus Project.

“I am honored to be RACC’s new board chair. I consider RACC to be – among many other things – an engine of civic engagement and an outstanding resource for the community. I look forward to working even more closely with the talented staff, including – soon – a new Executive Director, and with all of our dedicated board members who give their time and expertise to ensure that the arts not only thrive but help every sector in the region be more creative and more successful.”

Joining McGeady and Golub on the Executive Committee in FY2018-19 are Vice Chair Osvaldo “Ozzie” Gonzalez, Treasurer Eileen L. Day, Secretary Angela Hult, Eve Connell, Katherine Durham,  Parker Lee and Frances Portillo.

The RACC board also elected Amy Kutzkey to the board. Kutzkey is a certified public accountant and shareholder at Perkins & Co.  

All board and staff profiles are available online at racc.org/about/staff-board.

 

Linda McGeady Photo credit: Dodge and Burn Studios


Latinidades: Redefining Art Spaces to Support Latinx Creatives

How do a regional arts and culture organization and a Latinx economic and community development organization intersect? Months ago, RACC and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber (HMC) first met to discuss partnering and what that would look like. Together, we asked this question, and the answer was right there: our commitment to the creative and entrepreneurial Latinx community.

We turned this commitment tangible through Latinidades: An Art Show Celebrating Latinx Artists, a first-of-its kind First Thursday art show that opened on August 2nd. Mercedes Orozco, Director of UNA Gallery, led the show curation. Once a contemporary art space, UNA Gallery is now a non-localized visibility project that supports the creativity of people of color (POC), queer, femme, and gender non-conforming artists through exhibit curation and events throughout Portland.

Show attendee viewing the feature artist artwork in the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber

Together, we transformed the HMC office into an art gallery with an opening reception that welcomed over 60 community members. The range of artwork and artist experience, thanks to Mercedes’ curatorial direction, is truly the soul of Latinidades. Just like the Latinx identity,  these artists’ work are not homogenous – and Latinidades is just a taste of what the creative Latinx community looks like.

 

 

Eleven local Portland Latinx artists were featured in the exhibit, ranging from sculptors, painters, to printmakers:

Daniela del Mar and Camila Araya of Letra Chueca Press standing and speaking to Latinidades attendees

Latinidades attendees listening to Latinx artists featured introduce themselves and their work

The night was filled with live music, appetizers from Latinx vendors, and vodka tasting sponsored by Parlae vodka, a local Latinx vodka distillery. By night’s end, 5 pieces of artwork were sold, and we’re expecting several more as the show remains up on the Chamber’s walls.

As organizations with the resources not often afforded to artists of color, we understand the importance of finding ways to make those resources or opportunities more widely available, more often. These all matter, since it is shows and exhibit opportunities like Latinidades that have the potential to propel artists into bigger and more opportunities. Ultimately, the warm reception for Latinidades serves as both a reminder and encouragement for more creative, non-traditional collaborations to address the needs of many communities often left out of the traditional arts scene.

Latinidades attendees walk down the HMC office hall to view featured artworkFor those who missed the opening reception, we invite you to stop by the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber office (333 SW 5th Avenue Suite 100, Portland, OR 97204) Monday thru Friday between 9am – 5pm. The works will be up until September 30th, 2018. As for future collaborative shows, RACC will continue finding opportunities to create spaces for the many communities facing similar challenges of representation and inclusion, and we hope you will join us as these take place.


Reflections, Lessons, and Projections

by Jeff Hawthorne
Interim Executive Director

June is coming to an end, and so too is RACC’s 2017-2018 fiscal year. Now is a good moment, before a new fiscal year begins on July 1, to ruminate on RACC’s past and present, and what that means for our future.

A year ago this week, we celebrated the accomplishments of our retiring executive director, and prepared to launch a national search for her replacement. Even as this transition phase continues, RACC has shown that it is leader-full, confidently moving forward as the search goes on. Throughout this shift, I have been impressed time and again with the board’s profound dedication to the organization, and the staff’s drive to lead innovations that make our work more effective, accessible, and impactful than ever before.

Some of the staff-led accomplishments of the past year that I’m particularly proud of include:

  • Our grantmaking program launched two new initiatives: a Capacity Building Program for culturally specific organizations, and additional Equity Investments for General Operating Support organizations that are making real progress diversifying their staff, board, and audiences.
  • RACC revamped the Art of Leadership program to better align with the needs of small and midsize arts and culture organizations, resulting in the program’s highest attendance ever – with 63 graduates this past spring.
  • We continue to facilitate public art projects, including three collaborations with Portland Parks this past year – two of which were in East Portland. Big projects are also getting underway at the Multnomah County Health Department and with the renovation of the Portland Building… stay tuned!
  • Our Fresh Paint temporary mural program invited its first three muralists of color to paint Open Signal’s wall facing the highly visible Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and we collaborated with Prosper Portland to install murals by Eatcho and Arvie Smith at the new Natural Grocers store on NE Alberta St depicting Northeast Portland’s African American history, present, and future – check out the video.
  • RACC’s arts integration program, The Right Brain Initiative, continues to expand but with a new focus on serving schools where the achievement gaps are greatest – specifically schools where 30 percent or more of the population are students of color, English language learners, low-income and/or in neighborhoods with limited arts resources nearby.
  • RACC continues working to build better relationships with marginalized communities, and our community engagement team has been listening to shape RACC’s program delivery model as a result. This past year, staff launched the Art & Power conversation series that centers the experiences of artists from historically marginalized communities with topics ranging from cultural appropriation to the healing power of the arts.

We’ve also had learning moments. As an organization advocating for and supporting artists, we take continuous feedback and improvement seriously. This past year, we’ve done some new things or made changes based on feedback we received from community members, artists, and arts institutions. Some highlights include: conducting a survey with all General Operating Support organizations and restructuring how organizations are funded; adding more project grant application cycles per year to address artists’ needs; modifying our executive director search process based on community feedback; and developing policies and programs aligned with our equity lens.

RACC is stronger and more committed than ever as we continue working to enrich our communities through arts and culture. In a region that is ever-changing and growing, we keep the community’s arts and cultural needs first and foremost in our mind as we move through changes of our own.

Going forward, we have work to do to build deeper relationships with our government partners, and will be rolling out a new grantmaking framework for General Operating Support organizations in the months ahead. We are also in the process of revamping our fundraising programs in response to funding cuts, and pledge to reinvigorate RACC’s role in building a strong arts and culture advocacy network.

This September, RACC will present its annual State of the Arts report to Portland City Council. Some of our report will focus on these accomplishments, but it is also incumbent upon us to remind City Council of the real and persistent challenges we face as artists and arts workers. I’d love to hear about your success stories from the past year, and your perception of what’s working and what’s not. Please help us inventory the unmet needs that you experience or observe in our local arts community by dropping me a line at jhawthorne@racc.org with your thoughts.

From myself and all of us at the Regional Arts & Culture Council, thank you for supporting our work and holding RACC and our government partners accountable for more equitable investments in our community of artists, arts educators, and nonprofit organizations. We look forward to building even more with you in the year ahead.


RACC supports 88 upcoming artistic projects with $444,861 in funding

RACC has awarded $444,861 in project grants to 43 artists and 45 nonprofit organizations. These grants are funded by a combination of public and private investments, including the City of Portland’s general fund, the city’s Arts Tax, Multnomah County, Clackamas County, Washington County and Metro. Additional funding comes from RACC’s workplace giving campaign, Work for Art, and proceeds from RACC’s summer fundraising event, “In the Garden of Artistic Delights.”

“There are so many creative ways that local artists and nonprofit organizations are building connections between cultures, entertaining and inspiring us, and addressing important civic issues,” said interim executive director Jeff Hawthorne. “We are thrilled to invest in such a wide variety of projects, and I am especially delighted to see that 65% of the individuals receiving awards this year, and 27% of the organizations, are first-time Project Grant recipients. That’s a great reflection of our ever-evolving community.”

As part of its ongoing focus on equity and inclusion, RACC has established a goal of directing at least 30% of its programs and resources to culturally specific communities and people of color. In this round of project grant awards, 29% of the funded individual artists identify as people of color—the largest percentage since RACC began tracking this data in 2010. RACC is still working to quantify the cultural identity of organizations and to measure the demographics of their audiences.

“We are excited to be making progress,” Hawthorne said, “but there is still much work to do.”

A total of 197 grant requests were evaluated by peer review panelists who were organized by discipline and tasked to assess the artistic merit, public access, community impact and financial viability of each proposal. “We continue to engage new community members in our grant review process,” said Helen Daltoso, RACC’s grants director. “This year 32 artists, arts administrators and creatives participated in nine panels, and the vast majority of them were new to this role. We couldn’t do this work without them.”

The RACC Board of Directors unanimously approved all panel recommendations on December 13, with awards in three categories: Artistic Focus, Arts Equity & Access, and Arts Services.

Artistic Focus projects help artists realize their vision, and help organizations support their artistic mission. Examples funded in this round include $6,150 for Ropa Vieja, a fashion show and book launch presented by the multicultural collaboration “cvllejerx,” Angelica Milan and Maximiliano Martinez; $1,315 for Stacey Tran’s ongoing storytelling series Tender Table about food, family, and identity featuring women and gender non-conforming people of color; and $4,815 to Corrib Theatre for their production of Quietly, a play presenting a powerful scenario of truth and resolution in present day Northern Ireland.

Arts Equity & Access grants support programs and services with a strong community engagement component, including festivals, arts education projects, and programs that expand arts experiences for underserved communities. World Stage Theatre is receiving $6,500 to lead a city-wide Black History Festival in February in locations spanning as far east as Troutdale and west to Beaverton. Jeffrey Thompson will be leading his “Stay Sharp” drawing for life workshops at an assisted living facility in North Portland for seniors with his award of $5,596. Pacific Youth Choir will continue their outreach choir classes at two neighborhood elementary schools with their $6,500 award, with high school age student mentors, field trips, and a series of concerts.

Arts Services grants include projects that provide professional development opportunities for the arts community, including workshops or conferences. In this category, PDX Puppet Collective and the Secret Knowledge conference will be receiving funding to provide training programs that provide artistic growth for participants.

Project grants, which had been offered only once a year, are now available three times per year. The next project grant deadline is February 7. Grant orientations to be held: 1/18, 25, 30, 31. The next project grant deadline is February 7. Guidelines and orientation RSVP can be accessed at
racc.org/grants/project-grants.

A complete list of project grants appears below, and more detailed summaries of each grant are available at http://bit.ly/2CBoGra (PDF).

RACC project grants for individuals, December 2017

Note: (*) denotes Clackamas County applicants, and (**) denotes Washington County based applicants.  All other applicants are based in Multnomah County

Submission Title Project Type Discipline Award
Ezekiel Brown Artistic Focus Media Arts $5,600
Tamara Carroll Artistic Focus Theatre $5,120
Srijon Chowdhury Artistic Focus Visual Arts $6,300
Kindra Crick Artistic Focus Visual Arts $5,569
Lori Damiano Artistic Focus Literature $3,750
Marico Fayre Artistic Focus Visual Arts $4,285
Josh Feinberg ** Artistic Focus Music $5,600
Jon Garcia Artistic Focus Media Arts $7,000
Jared Goodman Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $1,715
Allie Hankins Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $3,943
Megan Hanley Artistic Focus Visual Arts $3,222
Wayne Harrel Artistic Focus Theatre $4,474
John Akira Harrold Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $5,216
Megan Haupt Artistic Focus Music $6,300
Jennifer Kim Arts Equity & Access Literature $5,250
kathleen Lane Arts Equity & Access Literature $5,292
Shayla Lawson Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $5,165
Tonya Macalino ** Artistic Focus Literature $3,642
Elizabeth Malaska Artistic Focus Visual Arts $5,250
Christine Martell ** Arts Equity & Access Visual Arts $5,560
maximiliano martinez Artistic Focus Visual Arts $5,900
Angelica Millan Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $6,150
Matthew Minicucci Artistic Focus Literature $5,929
Stephen O’Donnell Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $5,250
Gabe Ostley ** Artistic Focus Literature $4,725
Jayanthi Raman ** Artistic Focus Dance/Movement $5,440
Kaia Sand Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $6,300
Bryan Smith Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $4,200
Jennifer Springsteen Artistic Focus Literature $3,096
Melanie Stevens Artistic Focus Visual Arts $3,825
Jack StockLynn Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $6,339
Shilpa Sunthankar ** Artistic Focus Media Arts $5,600
Norman Sylvester Arts Equity & Access Music $6,300
Ariella Tai Artistic Focus Media Arts $5,250
Kim Taylor Blakemore Artistic Focus Literature $3,123
Barbara Tetenbaum Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $7,000
Jeffery Thompson Arts Equity & Access Visual Arts $5,596
Stacey Tran Artistic Focus Social Practice $1,315
Danielle Weathers ** Artistic Focus Theatre $5,600
Damaris Webb Artistic Focus Theatre $6,006
Ezra Weiss ** Artistic Focus Music $4,360
Ryan Woodring Artistic Focus Media Arts $3,908
Jennifer Wright Artistic Focus Music $4,500

 

RACC project grants for organizations, December 2017

Note: (*) denotes Clackamas County applicants, and (**) denotes Washington County based applicants.  All other applicants are based in Multnomah County.

Submission Title Project Type Discipline Award
Architecture Foundation of Oregon Arts Equity & Access Visual Arts $6,282
Art Gym at Marylhurst University * Artistic Focus Visual Arts $5,600
Artback * Artistic Focus Visual Arts $4,500
A-WOL Dance Collective Artistic Focus Dance/Movement $5,600
Beaverton Civic Theatre ** Arts Equity & Access Theatre $5,448
Big Horn Brass * Artistic Focus Music $2,828
Boom Arts Inc. Artistic Focus Theatre $7,000
Caldera Arts Equity & Access Visual Arts $5,120
Choral Arts Ensemble Artistic Focus Music $3,000
Circus Cascadia Arts Equity & Access Folk Arts $5,250
Classical Up Close ** Arts Equity & Access Music $5,600
Corrib Theatre Artistic Focus Theatre $4,815
Creative Music Guild Artistic Focus Music $2,700
defunkt theatre Artistic Focus Theatre $6,039
Disability Art and Culture Project Arts Equity & Access Media Arts $5,100
en Taiko Arts Equity & Access Music $6,300
Fear No Music Artistic Focus Music $6,300
India Cultural Association ** Arts Equity & Access Multi-Discipline $3,600
Live On Stage Artistic Focus Theatre $5,159
Mask and Mirror Community Theatre ** Arts Equity & Access Theatre $4,128
Media Project Artistic Focus Media Arts $5,250
Northwest Animation Festival Artistic Focus Media Arts $6,300
Pacific Northwest College of Art Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $7,000
Pacific Youth Choir Arts Equity & Access Music $6,500
People-Places-Things  LLC Arts Equity & Access Literature $2,160
Portland Chamber Music Artistic Focus Music $2,300
Portland Community College Artistic Focus Literature $1,675
PETE (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble) Artistic Focus Theatre $7,000
Portland Puppet Lab/PDX Puppet Collective * Arts Services Theatre $4,170
Prequel Artist Program Artistic Focus Visual Arts $3,488
push/FOLD Artistic Focus Dance/Movement $5,250
QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival Artistic Focus Media Arts $7,000
Risk/Reward Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $7,000
Rock Dojo Arts Equity & Access Music $5,108
Secret Knowledge Arts Services Multi-Discipline $5,250
Signal Fire Artistic Focus Literature $5,250
The Library Foundation Arts Equity & Access Multi-Discipline $6,300
The Old Church Society  Inc. Arts Equity & Access Social Practice $5,250
The Vanport Mosaic Arts Equity & Access Multi-Discipline $5,600
Viva La Free Arts Equity & Access Theatre $5,536
Washington County Cooperative Library Services ** Arts Equity & Access Multi-Discipline $5,600
Water in the Desert Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $6,300
Willamette Light Brigade Artistic Focus Multi-Discipline $4,580
World Stage Theatre Arts Equity & Access Multi-Discipline $6,500
Zoulful Muzic Artistic Focus Theatre $4,160

Art Spark on July 21

Art Spark is back the evening of of July 21st, 6-9 p.m. Join us for another evening of education and celebration. This time we will be located at Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center (8371 N Interstate Ave​) for an indoor/outdoor event.

Enjoy the summer vibes and learn about community partners DUG (Deep Underground), Just Seeds, and more!

Connect with Portland Emerging Arts Leaders (PEAL) and network with Portland creatives.

As always, our Art Spark DJ, VNPRT will be providing the the music. “Like” Art Spark by RACC on Facebook to get new information on the event as it is announced.

Event is all ages and free.  We Look forward to seeing you there!

See details at http://bit.ly/2s3h1vZ


Summer events celebrate Eloise’s legacy

We invite the community to join us for two events honoring Eloise Damrosch, who will retire as RACC’s executive director on June 30. A free community event will take place on June 29, and a fundraising event to support local artists is scheduled for July 30.

  • On Thursday, June 29, join us for an open house and block party with music, food, drinks and entertainment – plus a special ceremony honoring Eloise. Scheduled performers include drummers and dancers from NAYA, Joaquin Lopez, Unit Souzou and Portland Lee Association Dragan and Lion Dance Team. This event is free and open to the public; RSVP here.
  • On Sunday, July 30, RACC presents In the Garden of Artistic Delights, a benefit for individual artists and a tribute to Eloise. This event is sponsored in part by Arlene Schnitzer, and takes place at Bella Madrona Gardens in Sherwood. Tickets are $150 each and include paella dinner, hosted beverages, entertainment and a brief live auction. Only 200 tickets are available for this limited capacity event; visit  gardenofartisticdelights.org for tickets and information.

Executive Director search update

The search committee has been finalized. The members are:

We continue to encourage broad community participation in our Executive Director Search Survey, open through May 10. An executive summary of our findings will be posted on this page shortly thereafter.

 

Previous updates:

POSTED ON APRIL 18, 2017 AT 9:12 AM.

The RACC search committee has hired executive search firm Aspen Leadership Group to lead the process to find the successor to outgoing executive director Eloise Damrosch, who will be retiring June 30. The committee considered several search firms and was most impressed with Aspen’s diversity experience, extensive network and impressive track record of high level arts searches, including many successful arts appointments in Oregon.

Aspen Leadership Group’s lead project manager, Anne Johnson, will be in Portland on May 1 and 2 to meet the Search Committee and representatives of RACC staff and the arts community to begin the formal due diligence process. In addition the search committee has just released an online questionnaire, open to anybody interested in providing input on the search for RACC’s next Executive Director. You can participate in the survey here.

 

POSTED ON MARCH 29, 2017 AT 12:37 PM.

With the retirement of our longtime executive director Eloise Damrosch, the RACC board has begun the process of finding her successor. We are committed to a transparent and inclusive search process resulting in the appointment of an outstanding individual to lead RACC into the future and continue to realize our mission of enriching our communities through arts and culture.

The RACC Board has appointed a Search Committee to steward the process of identifying and hiring the new executive director. In April the Search Committee will select an executive search firm who will help us manage the process of identifying, screening, interviewing and recruiting the new ED from a wide and diverse pool of candidates.

In the coming weeks we will be sharing in this space and in correspondence with our many constituents, the job posting, job description and ways to provide input on the search and selection process. There will be many opportunities for comment and suggestions, including a questionnaire, direct contact with the search committee at EDsearch@racc.org and regular progress reports in our newsletter and on the RACC website.

Once a finalist or finalists have been chosen there will be opportunities for community members to meet them and provide feedback to the Search Committee before a final choice is made. We are hopeful to have a new executive director in place late Summer or Early Fall.

We thank you for your ongoing support of RACC and our wonderful arts and culture community. We are excited about this new chapter of RACC and are grateful for your interest and input.

 

POSTED ON FEBRUARY 8, 2017 AT 4:40 PM.

RACC’s executive director Eloise Damrosch announces plans to retire June 30. Read the press release here.