Aaron Whelton’s “Stacked Toroid” in the Portland Building lobby January 17 – February 10

PORTLAND, ORE – Architect Aaron Whelton will present his Stacked Toroid project at the Portland Building beginning January 17th. This room-sized installation is part of Whelton’s design research at Portland State University’s School of Architecture and his ongoing investigation of the physical manifestations of digitally designed architecture.

The installation, titled Stacked Toroid, is site-specific and is designed to fill the lobby gallery space from floor to ceiling. This sculptural figure, the toroid, is a shape resembling a torus (like a doughnut) that is formed from lofted elliptical profiles. Visitors to the Portland Building will immediately notice that the shape of the installation seems to shift significantly as they move past it. Walking a closer elliptical orbit around the object reveals a variety of effects generated from a single detail—stacking—as the structural wood lattice intersects the boundary of the toroid’s surface.

Stacked Toroid combines sophisticated digital design technologies with simple methods of construction and assembly to explore the relevance of manual labor in the age of computation. The simple, primitive act of stacking wood, a utilitarian, space-making impulse, is given new expressive potential by forming a complex, computationally generated figure.

A number of logistical challenges had to be worked out to create Stacked Toroid, the primary one being that it is composed of over 650 individual wood members stacked in precise arrangements, but Whelton’s architectural and public art experience have prepared him well. The entire process of installing the work at the Portland Building has been carefully orchestrated to belie the intense, repetitive physical effort required for its making, and the final result presents the polished “easiness” we expect from digital objects.

Meet the Artist Event: Join us for a chance to meet the artist and discuss the installation in person on Wednesday, January 18th from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.  

About the Artist: Aaron Whelton studied architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Kentucky and is currently Assistant Professor at Portland State University’s School of Architecture. His practice includes work on public art commissions where digital design informs new ways of making place. These include the David Campbell Memorial in Portland and several collaborations with the artist David Franklin including the public art project Drift Inversion opening in Denver later this year.

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. Stacked Toroid opens Tuesday, January 17, and runs through Friday, February 10.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) manages the 13’ x 8’ installation space in the lobby of the Portland Building and presents installation-based art there year round. For more information, including images, proposals, and statements for projects dating back to 1994, go to www.racc.org/installationspace.


The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.

Dedication of “River Guardian” by Lillian Pitt

The new sculpture River Guardian by Lillian Pitt with Mikkel & Saralyn Hilde will be dedicated on Friday, January 27 at 2:00 p.m.

The sculpture is located on the South Waterfront Greenway adjacent to where SW Penoyer Street meets the Greenway. Additional information will be posted on the RACC Facebook page or call Kristin Calhoun at 503.823.5401.

The next Art Spark is Friday, January 27 at Holocene

RACC’s networking series for artists and arts leaders has been happening and evolving since the spring of 2008. This year, Art Spark will evolve even further as we develop new and interesting events for the arts community to convene and connect beyond the Third Thursday format we have used in the past.

Throughout 2017 we will continue gathering in fun spots throughout Portland, bringing together community partners and holding space for group conversations and other forms of learning. An Art Spark event could be a forum, an open house, a happy hour gathering or a field trip, but whether the form, Art Spark will always endeavor to provide a rich blend of information and inspiration in a social setting.

We also invite community wisdom, so please feel free to tell us how we can help you connect with local artists and arts leaders – and what you would like to see, hear, and learn about in the year ahead. We look forward to seeing you at an Art Spark soon!

Our next Art Spark gathering is January 27th. We hope you will join us!

Art Spark
Friday, January 27, 5:30pm – 8:00pm at Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison.

“Night Lights” presents 2nd Annual Bring Your Own Beamer event

Portland Community Media and The Regional Arts and Culture Council invite artists to participate in a one night projection event.

We provide: power source, walls for projection and limited rain coverage.
You provide : A Beamer and content to project through your beamer. A beamer can be any type of projector or light source.

All content must be original and suitable for a public space.

Several shared digital projectors will be available to artists who have content on a USB drive.

Length of airtime will be determined by number of participants and availability of wall space.

BYOBeamer is a community event aimed at bringing together artists of all levels who have interest in using projection as part of their art making process.

If you plan to bring your own equipment, please be prepared for January temperatures and precipitation.
Night Lights 2nd Annual Bring Your Own Beamer event
Thursday, January 5th 2017, 5-8pm
North wall of RACC’s offices at 411 NW Park Ave, Portland, OR

Direct any questions to William Rihel wrihel@racc.org or Sarah Turner sarah@pcmtv.org.

RACC announces 2017 Professional Development Grants

The RACC Professional Development Grant Program individual artists and arts organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties with activities that improve their business management development skills and/or brings to them to another level artistically. A total of $39,871 was awarded to 29 individuals and 4 organizations. These grants were approved by the RACC Board on December 14, 2016.

* First Time Professional Development Grant Recipient

Except where noted, recipients are from Multnomah County



*Alvarado, Amaya – Acrobatic training in Beijing – $1,000

*Bay, Amy – Online mentorship/feedback program – $750

Brock, Charissa – Update artist website – $1,500 (Washington)

*Brown, Ezekiel – Work with fundraising consultant – $1,200

*Bundy, Elizabeth – Update artist website – $1,500

*Burns, Hannah – Present work in Minneapolis – $520

*Cook, Jan – Photo Lucida portfolio review – $750

*Corris, Amy – Tradeshow in Utah – $1,200 (Washington)

*Curington, Susan – Study with master teacher in California – $984 (Washington)

*Fuchs, Jodi – Create marketing plan with consultant – $810

*Green, Cheryl – Audio description training in North Carolina – $1,070

*Gregor, Amarette – Craft jewelry tradeshow in Baltimore – $2,000

*Hanson, Erica – Work with artist coach – $600 (Clackamas)

*Horan, Elisabeth – Residency and exhibition in Maine – $912

*Kemp, Courtney – Residency and exhibition in Denver – $780

*Kilbourne, Kate – Internship in Washington DC – $800

*Lux, Ali – Dance workshops in Jamaica – $1,360

*Mefford, Benjamin – Sculpture exchange program in Japan – $1,500 (Clackamas)

*Pagliarulo, Jane – Etching workshop in San Francisco – $1,800

*Prado, Emilly – Residency in Mexico – $1,430

*Roessler, Sophie – Conference and residency in Toronto – $1,165

*Stewart, Aremy – Residency in Italy – $1,605

*Stull Meyers, Ashley – Residency in Canada – $750

*Tolosa, Consuelo – Work with business consultant – $1,000

*Trail, Jennifer – Photo Lucida portfolio review – $750

*Turley, Austin – Residency in Mexico – $1,595

Walker, Curtis – Study with master artist in London – $2,000

*Wrenn, Rio – Residency in France – $1,000

*Yes, Larry – Create artist website – $1,500



*Oregon Society of Artists – Continue updates to website – $1,540

*Oregon Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts – Create new website – $2,000

*The Obo Addy Legacy Project – Study dance & music in Ghana – $1,500

*Westside Cultural Alliance – Attend AFTA Conference – $1,000 (Washington)



The soul of a city: the arts in Portland

By Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner

Imagine Portland with no art. No paintings or murals. No Lee Kelly sculptures. No Grimm or Wild or Live Wire. No Jefferson Dancers, symphony and opera in our parks, or production of Our Town. No Mel Brown Quartet. Would you still choose to live here?

Fortunately, art, culture and heritage are woven into the fabric of our city. And this year, we have much to celebrate: a proud history of public and private support for the arts; strong leadership from organizations like the Regional Arts & Culture Council and the Oregon Arts Commission; and an Arts Tax delivering on its promise of enriching the lives of 36,000 elementary school children in six local school districts.

And these issues rose to the top during the Mayor’s race this spring. At a forum on arts and culture, the candidates displayed an impressive depth of knowledge. In the end, Portland elected a new Mayor, Ted Wheeler, deeply committed to arts and culture.

As 2016 comes to a close, we also face many challenges.

Portland is fast becoming unaffordable for artists and non-profit arts organizations. We continue to struggle with translating equity into action. And will a new Republican administration in Washington continue to support public funding for the arts?

Here is my (highly selective) report on the State of the Arts.


In April, RACC presented its annual “State of the Arts” to the Council. The sounds of Portland Opera and youth singers from the BRAVO Orchestra and Rosa Parks Elementary reverberated through our chambers.

The City of Portland continued to prioritize funding for the arts. This year we contributed $7 million to RACC, about 70% of its $9.7 million budget. If we are to grow the pie, however, our partners also need to step up to support this regional effort.

Under Mike Golub’s leadership, Work for Art, a workplace giving campaign, hit $912,000 this year. I signed up, and not only enjoy the convenience of automatic deductions from my paycheck, but also the added benefit of the Arts Card!

And RACC is fully engaged in the important work of expanding access to the arts and building equity into all of its grant-making. Small community-based arts organizations deserve our support.

The Oregon Cultural Trust

Our vision for the arts extends beyond the region. I once served as vice-chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust. The Trust allows individuals and businesses to support art, culture and heritage statewide, for which they get a tax credit on their state tax return.

2015 saw record fundraising—$4,560,000.  The Willamette Week Give Guide generated over $350,000 in donations. As a result, the Trust awarded nearly $3 million dollars to 149 cultural non-profits. Bravo!

Federal Funding for the Arts

This past year, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). At the bill signing ceremony on September 29, 1965, President Johnson declared that “[a]rt is the nation’s most precious heritage…it is in our works of art that we reveal ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a Nation.”

Stirring words. But today, federal funding for the arts and the humanities is very modest, and vulnerable to more cuts. Will President-elect Trump defend the NEA, or will we see a repeat of 1995, when its budget and staff were slashed by fifty-percent?

The Arts Tax Delivers for Kids

The voter-approved Arts Tax had a good year. Collections were up significantly, and revenues will exceed $10 million dollars.

That means 36,000 elementary school kids benefited from arts instruction in school. We know from the Right Brain Initiative that arts education improves student achievement across the board.

The Arts Tax has prevailed in three legal challenges. Now the Oregon Supreme Court has agreed to hear a final appeal. The hearing, which is open to the public, will be held at Lewis and Clark College on March 6th, 2017. We continue to believe the tax is constitutional.

Stan Penkin completed four years of service as the chair of the Arts Oversight Committee. He has been a tireless and passionate supporter of the arts, and we owe him a big debt of gratitude.

The Housing Crisis and Artists

Last year, the Portland City Council declared a housing “state of emergency.” With rising rents and land values, Portland is quickly becoming unaffordable for older adults on fixed incomes, full-time minimum wage workers, students and working class families.

Artists and arts organizations are also feeling the squeeze. The eviction of artists from studio spaces in Towne Storage was the proverbial canary in the tunnel. If we do not act quickly, we risk losing something that can’t be replaced.

I believe it is time to convene a panel of stakeholders, including artists, public-spirited developers, the Portland Development Commission, and RACC to identify solutions.  We should look at best practices in other cities, including incentives, zoning changes, and cutting red tape.

My Personal Highlight Reel

This year, arts and culture once again enriched my life. Here are some of my personal highlights:

  • A student art exhibit at City Hall, featuring fourth graders from Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School. They based their inspiring work on a tour of the Bull Run Watershed.
  • The legendary Dianne Reeves, who headlined the Portland Jazz Festival.
  • Architect Brad Cloepfil’s show at the Portland Art Museum.
  • A screening of Skye Fitzgerald’s documentary, 50 Feet from Syria, at the Portland Film Festival.
  • World-class modern dance performances at NW Dance Project and White Bird.
  • A screening of short films featuring survivors of the Vanport flood, produced by Vanport Mosaic.
  • The designation of Veterans Memorial Coliseum as a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • My first visits to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, and etown’s studio in Boulder.
  • The Portland 2016 Biennial presented by Disjecta.
  • Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s TBA:16 Festival, and the celebration of its new home at 15 NE Hancock Street.

I had a cameo role in Artist Repertory Theater’s production of The Skin of our Teeth; was interviewed by Jessica Rand of KMHD Jazz radio about my first encounter with Oscar Peterson, and by OPB’s State of Wonder about the shortage of affordable artist studios; and participated in a City Club forum on the arts at Milagro Theatre.

Sculptor Lee Kelly was named an “Honored Citizen” by the Architecture Foundation of Oregon.  And my friends Walter Jaffe and Paul King at White Bird presented me with their “Angel Award,” a singular honor.

Finally, I visited Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts in Pendleton, Oregon. The collection of prints, made by prominent Native-American artists, is breathtaking.  I met one of the founders, James Lavadour, whose paintings and prints celebrate the natural landscape of Eastern Oregon.

Looking Forward

In 2017, we must continue to build on our success. Complacency is not an option.

Here are some of my priorities for the next year:

  1. Develop a plan to help keep Portland affordable for artists and arts organizations.
  1. Engage our regional partners in supporting the important work of RACC.
  1. Address the systemic inequality in the funding of minority and community-based arts organizations.
  1. Protect Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a civic treasure, for future generations.

A Holiday Toast

For the past three years, I have had the honor of serving as the Arts Commissioner for the City of Portland—following in the footsteps of past champions like Sam Adams and Mike Lindberg.

I have learned that our success depends on vision, leadership and strong partnerships.

Thanks to our dedicated leadership team: RACC Executive Director Eloise Damrosch, Director of Community Engagement Jeff Hawthorne and Board Chair Mike Golub; OCT Chair Carole Morse and Executive Director Brian Rogers; Julie Vigeland and Libby Tower at the Oregon Arts Commission; Tim Williams at Oregon Film; Stan Penkin, Chair of the Arts Oversight Committee; the Cultural Advocacy Coalition; our city’s Creative Laureate, photographer Julie Keefe; and all the volunteer board and commission members.

Thanks to the artists, teachers, and nonprofit arts and culture organizations that call Portland home.

Thanks to the cast and crew of Grimm—for filming over 100 episodes in Portland, and for giving back to the community through the Grimm Gala.

Thanks to Jimmy Maks, for twenty years of featuring the city’s best jazz players.

Finally, thanks to my Council colleagues, our partners throughout the state, and the taxpayers who share our vision.

Portland is a special place because of your collective good work.


Visit Commissioner Nick Fish’s website.

20th Annual City and County employee art exhibit opens at the Portland Building December 15

PORTLAND, ORE – The Regional Arts & Culture Council will be hosting the 20th annual City of Portland and Multnomah County employee art exhibit, all the art that fits, opening on Thursday, December 15. The exhibit will be held in the Portland Building lobby Installation Space and is a yearly favorite for both the artists and regular visitors.

Only original artwork created by current employees of the City or County is eligible. All the artwork submitted will be installed salon style—wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling. For those eligible and interested in participating, submissions must be dropped off Wednesday, December 14th, between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m., at the Portland Building lobby located at 1120 SW 5th Ave. between SW Main and SW Madison. See guidelines at http://bit.ly/2gPyaav.

RACC will also invite exhibit visitors to vote for their favorite artwork as part of the People’s Choice Award. To celebrate the exhibit’s 20th anniversary, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will each receive a special prize. The exhibition will run through Monday, January 9th, and the People’s Choice Award winners will be announced on January 10th, 2017.

Viewing Hours & Location: The exhibition is free and open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. The Portland Building is located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Portland.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) manages the 13’ x 8’ installation space in the lobby of the Portland Building and presents installation based art there year round. For more information, including images, proposals, and statements for projects dating back to 1994, go to www.racc.org/installationspace.


The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.

AFTA’s Robert L. Lynch Speaks of Hope, Unity, and Resilience at the End of This Presidential Election

Issued by Americans for the Arts November 9, 2016.

I congratulate President-Elect Donald Trump and all of the national, state, and local elected leaders across the country who won their elections last night. I also thank Secretary Hillary Clinton for her hard-fought campaign, along with all the candidates who did not win but participated in our great democracy by running for elected office.

The historic election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States brings some uncertainty in terms of federal support for the arts. President-Elect Trump, in answering questions co-developed by Americans for the Arts during the course of the campaign, deferred to Congress on supporting increased federal funding of the National Endowment for the Arts and other federal funding for culture in general. He also deferred to state and local school districts on maintaining or increasing support for arts education funding. While he does express appreciation for arts education and the arts in his own life, specific policy positions are unknown or undeveloped.

We do know that the President-Elect is very interested in growing the U.S. economy and improving international trade deals. Arts and cultural industries contribute 4.23 percent, or $704.2 billion, of the nation’s GDP. The value added by arts and culture to the U.S. GDP is greater than that of several other sectors, including the construction industry, transportation and warehousing, mining and extraction, utilities, and agriculture. In contrast to U.S. goods and services as a whole, arts and cultural commodities are yielding a trade surplus—of $24 billion. The arts and cultural sector supports 4.7 million jobs, with more than 2.2 million people in the U.S. whose primary occupation is as an artist.

Americans for the Arts, with the support of hundreds of thousands of grassroots arts advocates in every state, will reach out to the Trump transition team and administration to share these economic numbers on the arts and culture. We will work hard to advance pro-arts policies and strengthen our efforts to transform communities through the arts. It is more important than ever that we use the arts to help the economy, our communities, families and children, and our nation to seek hope, opportunity, and ultimately to come together.

President-Elect Trump has said, “…supporting and advocating for appreciation of the arts is important to an informed and aware society. As President, I would take on that role.” We hope for a White House and administration that supports the nonprofit arts community, the local and state arts support infrastructures, as well as independent artists and creative entrepreneurs. Arts policy recommendations that the Americans for the Arts Action Fund has put forward and will continue to fight for include:

  • Increasing federal funding for the arts to $1.00 per capita (an increase from 46 cents per capita);
  • Fully funding and implementing the “well-rounded education” provisions within the Every Student Succeeds Act by strengthening equitable access to learning in the arts;
  • Preserving or expanding charitable tax deduction incentives for giving to nonprofit arts and culture ed-trio.com/buy-levitra-online charities; and
  • Establishing a cabinet-level position for the arts and culture to advise President-Elect Trump on matters such as how the arts impact the economy, diplomacy, education, and the overall well-being of citizens and the nation at large.

As the 115th Congress is sworn in this January, it is also possible that we will see more conservative and bold policies emerge with a single party controlling the House, Senate, and White House. Complex challenges may be ahead that will impact funding decisions and policy priorities, including a possible tax reform overhaul that hasn’t happened since 1986 that could impact charitable giving for nonprofit organizations. However, we look to our bipartisan congressional partners, like the long-standing Congressional Arts Caucus, the Congressional STEAM Caucus, along with new Senate Cultural Caucus leadership with the retirement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), to grow their ranks and press for supporting arts and culture in America. Together with all of America’s pro-arts elected officials and continued grassroots advocacy, we look forward to continuing to build upon legislative successes when the next session of Congress begins in 2017.

Further, last night, pro-arts results came in from a number of ballot initiatives at the state- and local-level. For instance, in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties in Colorado, a ballot initiative—Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD)—dedicates one-tenth of a 1 percent sales and use tax to cultural facilities throughout the seven-county Denver, Colorado metropolitan area. Voters overwhelmingly supported extending this through 2030, which currently generates about $55 million a year. The SCFD was first authorized in 1988 and has since been reauthorized twice in 1994 and 2004, respectively. It is local efforts like these that can make real impact in communities all across America. Several arts education funding referendums were also overwhelmingly passed last night by voters in Pinellas County, Florida and Tucson/Pima County, Arizona.

Americans for the Arts will continue to recognize and advance support for the arts and arts education among the nation’s bipartisan state legislators, county officials, mayors, lieutenant governors and governors through a robust set of partnerships that promote leadership in the arts each year.

It’s also important that those of us in the nonprofit arts sector remember the great strength and resiliency that binds us together. For more than 60 years Americans for the Arts has worked with the infrastructures and governments of our communities to make people’s lives better. And of course the arts have helped our communities in different ways for thousands of years before that.

As President-Elect Trump’s administration takes shape, we will remain engaged to ensure that he and his transition team hear from arts leaders, community leaders, and activists and keep the arts central to the many pressing needs of the country. We will unite and strengthen our efforts to show that the arts represent the best of humanity, and urge President-Elect Trump’s administration to advance pro-arts policies that will impact our society, communities, and generations to come.