“Visual Chronicle of Portland” exhibition opens at the Portland Building, March 28 – April 21

PORTLAND, ORE – A special exhibition focusing on new acquisitions to the Visual Chronicle of Portland collection opens at the Portland Building on March 28th. The Visual Chronicle of Portland, a collection of original works-on-paper that portray artists’ perceptions of what makes Portland unique, has been steadily growing since its inception in 1985 and now boasts 356 works by over 200 different artists. RACC normally rotates sets of work from this well regarded city-owned collection throughout public spaces in City of Portland and Multnomah County facilities, but this special exhibition offers the public a unique chance to see these recent acquisitions from the 2016/17 purchase in one place.

About the Artists: The Visual Chronicle strives to reflect a diversity of populations, artistic disciplines, and points of view; it represents a living archive that seeks to honestly document life in our city through the eyes of the artists who live here. RACC is committed to engaging and expanding the communities of artists and the range of artistic and cultural expression that it represents. The artists represented in this recent purchase include:

Holly Andres Kristin Kohl
Bobby Abrahamson Eva Lake
Heather Lee Birdsong Christopher Mooney
Alison Foshee Steven Slappe
Joseph Glode Mami Takahashi
Bryan David Griffith

To browse the collection on line visit the RACC website: Public Art Search

Viewing Hours & Location: The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. This exhibition of new acquisitions from the Visual Chronicle of Portland opens Tuesday, March 28th and runs through Friday, April 21st. The exhibition is free and open to the public.


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.

Next up at the Portland Building: Recent additions to the Visual Chronicle of Portland, March 27 – April 21, 2017

A special exhibition focusing on new acquisitions to the Visual Chronicle of Portland opens at the Portland Building on March 27th. The Visual Chronicle of Portland, a collection of original works-on-paper that portray artists’ perceptions of what makes Portland unique, has been steadily growing since its inception in 1985 and now boasts 356 works by over 200 different artists. Sets of individual works from the Chronicle are regularly displayed in various public spaces in the City of Portland and Multnomah County, but this special exhibition offers viewers a unique chance to see these recent acquisitions in one place.

The Visual Chronicle of Portland strives to reflect a diversity of populations, artistic disciplines, and points of view, it represents a living archive, and RACC is committed to engaging and expanding the communities of artists and the range of artistic and cultural expression that it represents.

Viewing Hours & Location: The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland and is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. The Visual Chronicle of Portland exhibit will end April 21, 2017.

To browse the collection on line visit the RACC website: Public Art Search.


Regional Arts & Culture Council welcomes new board members

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) board of directors has welcomed four new members. They include:

  • Eve Connell is a writer, editor and trainer of professionals in communications. She is the managing editor of University of Hell Press and visiting professor for various MA/MFA/MBA programs in California and Oregon, including OCAC and PNCA.


  • Katherine Durham is vice president, Individual Disability Insurance and Corporate Marketing & Communications, for Standard Insurance Company. Durham’s experience includes 20 years as a leader in a variety of positions in both start-up and Fortune 500 companies.


  • Frances Portillo of Portillo Consulting, International is an international independent consultant specializing in Cross-Cultural Communication, Social and Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution. She has worked in over 33 countries as a presenter, trainer, facilitator and coach.


  • James Smith is a member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe of Montana and a descendant of the Warm Springs Tribe of Oregon. He is currently a Financial Analyst for Morrison Child & Family Services, and volunteers as Treasurer for the Concerned Indian Community

RACC board officers include Mike Golub, board chair; Phillip T. Hillaire, vice chair; Eileen L. Day, treasurer; Steve Rosenbaum, secretary and Jan Robertson, chair emeritus.

Other continuing RACC Board members include Nik Blosser, Verlea G. Briggs, Raymond C. Cheung, CPA, Representative Lew Frederick, Debbie Glaze, Osvaldo ‘Ozzie’ Gonzalez, Angela Hult, Dana Ingram, Susheela Jayapal, Parker Lee, Linda McGeady, Brenda L. Meltebeke, Anita Menon, Mitchell Nieman, Joanna Priestley, Shyla M. Spicer and Anita Yap.

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

Eloise Damrosch announces retirement

Eloise Damrosch, the executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, has announced her plans to retire on June 30, 2017. From 1987 to 2004, Eloise served as the public art director of RACC and its predecessor organization, The Metropolitan Arts Commission. She was appointed executive director in 2004.

“Eloise’s accomplishments are too many to list,” said RACC board chair Mike Golub. “Inarguably RACC has become a much stronger organization during her tenure. The number of artists, arts organizations and students that we serve has grown exponentially under Eloise’s watch. Our programs and impact on arts and culture in the region have grown dramatically under her stewardship. In short, her impact and imprimatur on the arts community in our region is an indelible one.”

“My time at RACC has been an amazing experience,” said Damrosch. “I have been so fortunate to have worked with smart, talented and creative people internally with our board and staff and externally in the arts and culture, business, government and non-profit communities. Together we have faced challenges and opportunities; celebrated wins; broadened our reach to be ever more inclusive; and pushed ourselves to meet our mission. Happily I will leave RACC with confidence in its future, faith in its staff and board, and a knowledge that our arts and culture community is vibrant and resilient.”

Damrosch has earned a local and national reputation as a respected arts administrator while helping create one of the best-known public art collections in the country. During her tenure of Executive Director, the organization developed an annual workplace giving campaign for the arts, Work for Art; established a comprehensive arts integration program, The Right Brain Initiative; increased the City of Portland and Multnomah County percent-for-art ordinances to 2%; and helped secure the passage of Portland’s voter-approved Arts Tax. Damrosch has also worked closely with RACC’s board of directors to develop a comprehensive agenda for equity and inclusion, transforming the way the organization allocates resources to help ensure that everyone in the region has access to culture and the arts. She is a member of the United States Urban Arts Federation, and recently termed off the Board of the Non-profit Association of Oregon.

RACCs Board of Directors has convened a committee to oversee the search process to find the next Executive Director.  A search firm will be retained in the coming weeks to help conduct the national search.

Company bands invited to Battle on May 17

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is now accepting registrations for its second annual Battle of the Bands competition slated for Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at the Crystal Ballroom. Eight employee bands, sponsored by their companies, will perform in front of friends, family, co-workers and a panel of celebrity judges as they vie for the title of Best Company Band and other prizes. The event will raise more than $80,000 for RACC’s annual Work for Art campaign.

The debut of Battle of the Bands last year was an unqualified success, attracting seven employee bands, 400 music fans and $70,000 for the cause. Top honors went to Pencil Skirt Paula and The Straight Edge Rulers from ZGF Architects (Best Company Band); Members Only from Kaiser Permanente (Best Showmanship); and Smoke Before Fire from The Standard (Audience Favorite).

While those companies prepare to defend their titles in 2017, five spots remain for the 2017 Battle. Among the rules:

  • In order to perform, companies pay a sponsorship fee of $5,000 or more; sponsorships also include complimentary tickets and other benefits.
  • Spots are offered on a first-come basis. All bands must register by Monday, April 3, 2017.
  • Each band can have between 3-15 members.
  • Bands must be made up mostly of employees working for the sponsoring company; only one musician in each band may be exempted from this requirement.
  • Each band will have 10 minutes to perform, and all genres of music are welcome.

New this year, RACC is providing additional opportunities for local business participation through a lip sync video competition. For more information and application materials, visit http://workforart.org/bob/ or contact Alison Bailey at 503-823-5424.

Work for Art, now in its 11th year, is an annual campaign to raise money and awareness for local arts and culture organizations, primarily through workplace giving and other partnerships with local businesses. The 2017 campaign is led by Kregg Arntson, executive director of the PGE Foundation and director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Portland General Electric. More than 70 companies will participate in this year’s Work for Art campaign, and all proceeds from Work for Art and Battle of the Bands will be granted to approximately 100 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties.

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and ZGF Principal Sharron van der Meulen are co-chairing the 2017 Battle. Tickets are on sale now for $12 each at The Crystal Ballroom box office, 1332 West Burnside Street in Portland; by phone at 1-855-CAS-TIXX; or online at https://tinyurl.com/jy6pjyg. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100 each, including complimentary food and beverage plus reserved seating.


Kalimah Abioto, Artist-in-Residence with Open Signal and RACC, to debut film on First Thursday

PORTLAND, ORE – Open Signal and the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) have partnered to support an artist-in-residence, Kalimah Abioto. The residency is part of Night Lights, a monthly digital media event in which artists project their work onto the north exterior wall of RACC’s downtown offices on First Thursdays. Abioto will produce a new work for the next edition of Night Lights on Thursday, March 2.

A graduate of the film program at Hollins College, Abioto’s work includes experimentally edited short documentaries and narrative films, with a focus on the Portland and Memphis African-American communities.

Through Night Lights, Abioto was granted a stipend of $5,000 from RACC and use of Open Signal media equipment, facilities and training. In November, she used these resources to travel to Mali, West Africa, where she collected video footage in Dogon Country, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Since returning to Portland, Abioto has collaborated with local dancers, musicians, filmmakers and prop-makers to create her Night Lights film entitled Sight. The film tells the story of three young girls with the ability to travel to different dimensions, who help an adult woman to rediscover her own power.

“It’s a film about spirituality—going inside to retrieve your gifts and share them with the world,” Abioto said. “Embracing your shadow, in a way.”

Through her residency, Abioto had access to Open Signal’s equipment and production studios, which she used to create one of the dimensions in Sight. Dancers Uriah Boyd, Akela Jaffi and Mia O’Connor staged a dance alongside the three young leads in Open Signal’s Cyclorama green screen studio, to music written and performed by Abioto’s sister, Amenta Abioto.

“The green screen studio is phenomenal,” Abioto said. “So is having the office space to meet with the team and the talent, as well as access to the equipment—it’s like having a support team.”

Abioto will debut her film at Night Lights on Thursday, March 2, starting at dusk, at the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s north exterior wall, 411 NW Park Avenue in Portland.

Abioto will also share her work in progress during Open Signal’s first Open House on Saturday, February 25 from 4-8 p.m. at 2766 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. in Portland.

On Wednesday, March 22, she will deliver an artist talk in conjunction with her collaborators at Open Signal at 7:00 p.m., screening her film again, discussing her filmmaking process and taking questions from the audience about its inspiration and production.


About Night Lights
Night Lights is a monthly public art event that promotes digital media, urban intervention, and technological innovation. On the First Thursdays of October through April, select artists are able to showcase their work on the north wall of the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Night Lights is a collaboration between Open Signal and RACC.

About Open Signal
Open Signal is a media arts center making media production possible for anyone and everyone in Portland, Oregon. Launched in 2017, the center builds upon the 35-year legacy of Portland Community Media to create a resource totally unique in the Pacific Northwest. Open Signal offers media workshops, an equipment library, artist residencies and programs five cable channels with locally produced content. Open Signal delivers media programming with a commitment to creativity, technology and social change. Learn more at opensignalpdx.org.

About RACC
The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) was established in 1995 and is funded by public and private partners to serve artists, arts organizations, schools and residents throughout Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. RACC provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through workplace giving and other programs; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and integrates the arts into K-8 curriculum through The Right Brain Initiative. Online at racc.org.

NEA and NEH Letters to the President

ELOISE BLOG: As we know there has been considerable angst and very little reliable information circulating regarding the President’s position on arts and humanities.

As a first step in advocating for these vital organizations Americans for the Arts (AFTA), the national organization focused on arts advocacy, research, and support to the field, has shared a recent letter to the President from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen Tom Udall (D-NM) in support of continued funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 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).

There will be many opportunities going forward for advocacy, but I wanted you to see this letter and encourage the signers to press on.

Read the letter here.