RACC Blog

RACC Creative Spotlight: Artist James Enos

Artist James Enos, Make | Learn | Build grant recipient

Introducing the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Artist and Organization Spotlight–where each quarter we will feature one artist and one organization in consecutive months that have been impacted by the support of programming, training, grants, or other services through RACC, and/or have been nominated for their impact on our community.

James Enos was a Make|Learn|Build Grant recipient in June 2021. RACC’s Make|Learn|Build Grant Program was designed to address the ways the arts community in the tri-county region needed support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists, creatives, organizations, and businesses were awarded either $1,500 or $3,000 to make work, gain skills, or build up their arts business.

With RACC’s grant award, Booklyn, Inc. represented James Enos at the 2022 Outsider Art Fair. The Outsider Art Fair is a world renowned art fair that provides a stage for self-taught artists, art brut, and Outsider Art and takes place biannually in New York City and Paris.

James Enos works at North Pole Studio, a Portland-based progressive art studio for artists with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities. With James’ consent, this Q&A was answered collaboratively with North Pole Studio staff and his mother, Beth Enos.


Would you share your journey as an artist with us? When did you begin; how did you begin?

James is an entirely self-taught author and illustrator. James began drawing in high school, and was encouraged to expand his drawings with the encouragement of an early teacher. His deep creativity quickly emerged, as he transitioned away from life drawing to more fanciful subjects. It was years before he started making the books that he is now known for, and the catalyst for this shift is still unknown.

James designs and executes each book from scratch. His extraordinary process includes binding, researching, writing, and hand-drawing illustrations— many of which fold-out and can extend upwards of 275 cm. His stories weave together to form a collection inspired by his life experiences, picture books adapted from major motion pictures, and pop-culture of the late 80s and early 90s, among others.

James began by hand-writing his books with penmanship that is a work of art in itself. James’ early books alternate line for line with a slightly different shade of the same color (i.e. light blue, dark blue; pink, red). Over the past two years, James has transitioned to writing on a type-writer. His illustrations have evolved but adhere to a consistent style.

James created art at the Portland Art and Learning Studio (PALS) until it closed in 2020. During his time at PALS, James was discovered by Marshall Weber at Booklyn, Inc. in NYC who began representing him and selling his books nationally. In 2021, James joined North Pole Studio, where he works to date. 

In a very short period of time, James went from being an unknown artist to boasting an impressive resume which includes being collected by major universities including Bainbridge Island Museum of the Arts; University of California, Los Angeles, Special Collections Library; University of Central Florida, Special Collections Library; University of Delaware, Special Collections Library; Yale University, Haas Family Fine Arts Library.

How would your community of peers (family, friends, other creatives/artists) describe you?

James is incredibly focused and has an admirable art practice, working continuously from 10am – 3pm and pausing only for a lunch break. When James is in the writing phase, his typewriter starts buzzing the moment he walks into the studio, and doesn’t stop until he leaves. It has become a beloved soundtrack of North Pole Studio. 

Because of the seriousness James approaches both his art practice and the world with, many don’t know what an incredible sense of humor he has. He is a prankster at heart and has a sharp and sophisticated sense of humor which is best captured in his books. 

James’ artistic genius and extensive knowledge of pop culture, familiar kids’ stories (such as Mulan, Tarzan, and the Chronicles of Narnia) is admired by his peers.

Thinking back to your artistic journey, bridging to where you are at now, how would you summarize your artwork currently? Where are you now with your work?

James continues to hone his craft; his evolution from hand-writing his books to his typewriter has marked a distinctive shift in his process. James’ illustrational style and syntax are consistent across his stories, but he continues to refine both with each book. 

James experimentation with various methods and materials for binding his large-scale, multimedia books is evident over time. James books are often up to 6” thick and well over 5lbs when complete, with fold-out illustrations strategically folded to fit into a structure that can be read cover to cover.

James’ latest books are tighter, both visually and structurally with consideration to decisions around materials and paper size. Additionally, many of his recent works are written in chapters, and can be read as isolated stories or as a collection.

Based on the award/grant you received from RACC how have you continued your direction in your project/artwork/process?

In 2021, James was invited to exhibit his books in a solo booth at the Outsider Art Fair in New York City. The Outsider Art Fair is a world renown art fair, and provides a huge opportunity for lesser known self-taught artists’ work to be viewed by major art collectors alongside the greats. With the support of his team, James applied for a Make | Learn | Build grant to cover the cost of the booth fee. With RACC’s grant award, Bookyln, Inc. represented James Enos at the 2022 Outsider Art Fair in spring of 2022.

Accessing grant funding is rife with barriers for many artists in the disability community, from awareness of opportunities, through application to the disbursement processes. James’ team values RACC’s recognition of his work through this award, and their collaboration in making this grant funding accessible.

What have been some of the speed bumps you have encountered? Did it change your trajectory or direction?

For a long time, James did not have access to the resources needed to fully develop his creative practice. Being part of a progressive studio community has provided James with access to materials, direct support, and advocacy to both structure and develop his existing practice and promote visibility of the work. Having access to progressive studio programming changed everything, as it provided a platform for James’ work to be seen and acquired. Without this platform, it is unlikely that James’ work would be included in the art collections and conversations it is today.

When the pandemic hit, James’ studio program (PALS) closed, putting a temporary pause on his practice as he no longer had access to materials and space to work. In the spring of 2021, James resumed his practice at North Pole Studio. 

What is next for you?

James is currently working on writing and illustrating and original series based on the Chronicles of Narnia. Both North Pole Studio and Booklyn, who represents James in NYC, will continue to facilitate opportunities for James’ work to contribute to the art and literary world.

Artist James Enos sits among his illustrations.

James Enos working in North Pole Studio. Photo by Kaitlin Green


RSVP for RACC Arts3C Grant Info Session on Zoom

RACC offers free, optional information sessions in the month before most grant deadlines. These information sessions are approximately 90 minutes long and go through every step of the application process. Arts3C Grant program Info Session will be hosted via Zoom webinar on Friday, August 26 at 12:00pm and recorded for later viewing. Please RSVP.


RACC Arts3C Grants – new program with applications due 9/28/2022 by 5:00pm

The RACC Arts3C Grant Program is for the Creation, Cultivation & Community in the Portland metropolitan tri-county region. Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas County applicants who are creating and sharing arts and culture programming in all disciplines are welcome to apply for support.

Click here to visit our Arts3C Grant page for more information.

 


FY2021-22 General Operating Support Grant Awards

Learn more about RACC’s General Operating Support program.

General Operating Support Partner Base Awards

Cycle 1 – Reports received in December 2021 and awarded February 2022

  • Blue Sky / Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts – $15,000
  • Corrib Theatre – $15,000
  • Literary Arts – $60,000
  • Oregon Ballet Theatre – $85,000
  • Portland Center Stage – $100,000
  • Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra – $20,000
  • Portland Youth Philharmonic – $45,000
  • The Portland Ballet – $30,000
  • Third Angle New Music – $15,000

Cycle 2 – Reports received in February 2022 and awarded awarded in April 2022

  • Boom Arts – $15,000
  • Hand2Mouth – $15,000
  • Lakewood Center for the Arts (Clackamas County) – $45,000
  • Metropolitan Youth Symphony – $30,000
  • Northwest Children’s Theater & School – $60,000
  • Outside the Frame – $20,000
  • Pacific Youth Choir – $20,000
  • PETE (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble) – $15,000
  • PlayWrite, Inc – $15,000
  • Portland Art Museum – $175,000
  • Portland Baroque Orchestra – $30,000
  • Portland Opera – $85,000
  • Portland Playhouse – $45,000
  • Profile Theatre – $30,000
  • White Bird – $30,000
  • Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington – $45,000

Cycle 3 – Reports received in May 2022 and awarded in June 2022

  • Artists Repertory Theatre – $60,000
  • Bag & Baggage Productions (Washington County) – $30,000
  • BodyVox – $30,000
  • Broadway Rose Theatre Company (Washington County) – $60,000
  • Cappella Romana – $30,000
  • Chamber Music Northwest – $45,000
  • Children’s Healing Art Project – $15,000
  • CoHo Productions – $20,000
  • Echo Theater Company – $20,000
  • Ethos Inc. – $30,000
  • Film Action Oregon dba Hollywood Theatre – $60,000
  • Friends of Chamber Music – $30,000
  • Imago Theatre – $15,000
  • Independent Publishing Resource Center – $15,000
  • Live Wire Radio – $20,000
  • Miracle Theatre Group – $30,000
  • My Voice Music – $20,000
  • New Expressive Works – $15,000
  • NW Dance Project – $45,000
  • NW Documentary Arts & Media – $15,000
  • Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestras – $45,000
  • Oregon Children’s Theatre – $60,000
  • Oregon Contemporary – $20,000
  • Oregon Symphony Association – $175,000
  • PassinArt: A Theatre Company – $15,000
  • PDX Jazz – $30,000
  • PHAME – $30,000
  • Polaris Dance Theatre – $15,000
  • Portland Gay Men’s Chorus – $20,000
  • Portland Institute for Contemporary Art – $45,000
  • Portland Piano International – $20,000
  • Portland Street Art Alliance – $15,000
  • Portland Taiko – $15,000
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls – $15,000
  • Shaking the Tree Theatre – $20,000
  • The Circus Project – $30,000
  • The Red Door Project – $30,000
  • Third Rail Repertory Theatre – $20,000
  • Triangle Productions – $20,000
  • World Stage Theatre – $15,000
  • Write Around Portland – $20,000

 

GOS New Partner Organizations awarded June 2022

  • All Ages Music Portland – Friends of Noise – $15,000
  • Street Books – $15,000

 

Capacity Building Organizations participating in FY21-22

  • ArtMax Academy (Washington County) – $25,000
  • Cymaspace – $25,000
  • En Taiko- $25,000
  • Instituto de Cultura e Arte In Xochitl In Cuicatl – $25,000
  • MediaRites – $25,000
  • Morpheus Youth Project – $25,000
  • Rejoice Diaspora Dance Theater- $25,000
  • Takohashi- $25,000
  • Theatre Diaspora- $25,000
  • Vanport Mosiac – $25,000
  • World Arts Foundation- $25,000

 

GOS Investment Awards

  • 50 GOS organizations – $619,440 – full list published when all administration is complete.

Make|Learn|Build Grant Program Overview

The Regional Arts & Culture Council launched the Make|Learn|Build grant opportunity for artists, arts organizations, and arts businesses in Winter 2021, seeking to support the local arts community while we remained in the pandemic lockdown. Throughout the last 16 months of shifting public health guidelines, new variants, social unrest, and climate events, RACC was able to offer two rounds of the grants each fiscal year, totaling four grant cycles open to the community, with Round 4 grant awards most recently announced at the end of March 2022.

The Make|Learn|Build grant was set up to prioritize breadth, reach and access. We worked to expand our technical support with Instagram live events and recorded Info Sessions with ASL interpretation, along with team member grant writing guidance through panel feedback and draft reviews.  It touched a lot of people and achieved significant impact during an uncertain time.

It allowed RACC to move away from past grantmaking standards (i.e. matching dollars, in-kind support, limits on eligible expenses, required in-person events) and put the emphasis on supporting community values and voices.

In total since January 2021, we experienced the following:

  • 1,661 applications
  • 1,364 unique applicants
  • 30 Community Reviewers
  • 85% BIPOC* representation in Community Review Panels
  • 48 Zoom panels
  • 806 grant awards
  • $2,310,500 awarded to artists, arts organizations, and arts businesses
  • 755 unique grantees
  • Average 52% BIPOC* artist support across 4 rounds
  • Over 457 technical assistance sessions for draft reviews and panel process feedback

*not including responses in “I describe my ethnicity/race as”

RACC launched the Make|Learn|Build grant program with the goal of supporting 50% of the applicants, which was a higher percentage than past funding rates (typically between 30% to 43%). This funding rate was possible with the smaller award amounts (average of $3,000 grant, rather than an average award of $5,000 in Project Grants.) This goal became harder as the number of applications began to skyrocket, but through the four rounds of the program, RACC was able to support the entire process at 48.4%.

Some other highlights of this program have been the following:

  • The pandemic hasn’t slowed creative folks down. People are making art!
  • A simple, accessible application welcomed in new and first-time applicants. This has allowed for more risk-taking. It also resulted in explosive growth in the applicant pool.
  • The need in the artist and creative community is huge. By making smaller awards to a wider number of grantees, the support was able to reach more people. However, great ideas and projects were still left on the table, as always.
  • Paying artists for their professional role as Community Reviewers is important. Reviewing applications and making decisions is WORK. By paying artists for their time to evaluate, they could step away from being applicants and their own artmaking and have comparable compensation.
  •  Reviewers are responding to what they want to see in their community – clear impact on community and value-based investment.
  • Making the full grant award up front puts trust in the work of the artist or organization.

As we move forward into the next vision of RACC grant programs, we know that we will be opening back up to arts projects proposed by all types of entities, including other nonprofits, businesses, institutions, schools, and community groups beyond those rooted in the arts. We will also be working to support individual artists in the many ways that they are creating and sharing art and culture. However, public presentations and a plan to share work with an audience will be important as a way to show community impact. One benefit of the new normal is acknowledging that virtual presentations and digital distribution are an accessible way to share your work.

Based on the recent RACC Planning Survey from Winter 2022, we know that Grants are the number one way that the community engages with our organization (79% of respondents). The majority of the survey respondents find RACC services and programs to be moderately or very accessible (78.4%) but feedback also shows there is ongoing work to do. Grants Team members are working to incorporate all our most recent lessons learned into the next phase of RACC grant support. Stay tuned!

 

FY2022 Make|Learn|Build Community Reviewers

Sarah Brahim

RaShaunda Brooks

May Maylisa Cat

Melina Coumas

Kapu Dancel

Jay Flewelling

Celina Flores

Elizabeth Higgins

Shobha Jetmalani

Laura Martinez

Megan McGeorge

Christine Miller

Sushmita Poddar

Logan Ridenour-Starnes

Paul Susi

garima thakur

Jennifer Viviano

 

Sample Quotes from grantees:

“This grant process is streamlined and made easy for artists who are not part of a non-profit, and don’t have a lot of experience with grant writing and reporting requirements often associated with those types of grants. This is frequently the only source of funding for many marginalized community members. We are grateful for these opportunities.”

 “I appreciate that during this very challenging year, RACC was flexible and allowed me to modify my project, and offered their help and support every step of the way.”

“I appreciated that this grant payout was not broken up into two payments like my last RACC grant. It was such a breath of fresh air not to have to hold off on paying hard-working contractors promptly instead of holding their payments until the project was completed. Thank you for trusting me and believing in me once again to make my art and hire indie filmmakers in Portland.”

“Thank you for providing opportunity and flexibility in a time that severely lacks these things.”

“One standout feature of this grant is that the total amount of the award was disbursed at the beginning of the project. Without this model I would not have had the necessary funds to cover expenses because of the challenges faced with work during the pandemic. This model of financial support made a big difference in helping this project happen.”

“I really appreciated the support in getting my declined first-round application reviewed and revised for submission the second time around. It was great getting specific feedback, and of course, having that result in a successful application the second time around.”

 “The Make|Learn|Build Grant has my greatest appreciation and gratitude. This grant really hit the mark in making things possible during 2021!”

“I think it’s been one of the more welcoming grants I’ve applied for. The application wasn’t overwhelming or complex. I think the simplicity of requirements make it more inclusive to underrepresented groups.”

 


2021-22 Make|Learn|Build Grants (Round 4)

RACC’s Make|Learn|Build Grant Program was designed to address the ways the arts community in the tri-county region needed support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists, creatives, organizations, and businesses were awarded $1,500, $3,000 or $5,000 to make work, gain skills, or build up their arts business. The following 214 Make|Learn|Build Grants were awarded in March 2022 in Round 4 for a total of $644,000.

 

2021-22 Make|Learn|Build Grant awards (Round 4):

Individual Artists Category Discipline County Award
Adam Brock Ciresi Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Aiyana Monae McClinton Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Alexandra Behr Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Alexandra Loves Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Allie Perez Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Allison Ray Perrin Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Aloicious Moss Learn Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Amo Reyes Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Ana Hurtado-Gonzalez Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Anchitta Noowong Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Anna Hoye Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Ansar Muhammad Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Arvie Smith Learn Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Asa Mease Make Visual Arts Clackamas  $1,500
Ashleigh Flynn Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Azure Attoe Make Social Practice Multnomah  $3,000
BeeBee Sanchez Make Dance/Movement Multnomah  $5,000
BrandonLee Cierley Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Brendan Deiz Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Bridgette Hickey Learn Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Carter Silago Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Cay Horiuchi & UwU Collective Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Christina Rusnak Make Music Multnomah  $1,500
Christine Clark Learn Other Multnomah  $3,000
Cole Reed Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Craig McCarthy Make Theatre Multnomah  $5,000
Crystal Jiko Sasaki Build Dance/Movement Multnomah  $1,500
Damien Gilley Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Damon Smyth Build Media Arts Washington  $3,000
Dani Townsend & Bernadette Little Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Daniel Reyes Llinás Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Danielle Ross Make Dance/Movement Multnomah  $5,000
Darrell Grant Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
David Shirkhani Build Visual Arts Clackamas  $3,000
David Vala Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Debbie Baxter Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Del Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Denver David Robinson Make Literature Multnomah  $3,000
Dominick Branch Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Ebenezer Galluzzo Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Edward Bourgeois Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Eien Hunter-Ishikawa Make Folk Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Elijah Hasan Build Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Elisabeth Loomis Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Emily Bixler Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Emily Newton Learn Theatre Multnomah  $3,000
Emma Josephson Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Erika Comparoni Make Visual Arts Washington  $3,000
Erinn Kathryn Learn Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Esteban Camacho Learn Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Felicia Murray Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Gabriel Espinosa Build Music Clackamas  $3,000
Gaby Tirta Jenkins Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Hampton Rodriguez Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Harley Cowan Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Heather Goodwind Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Heather Lee Birdsong Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Henry Felton Make Multi-Discipline Clackamas  $5,000
Henry Miller Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Ivan McClellan Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
James Mapes Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
James Travers Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Jason Okamoto Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Jax Chow Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Jeff Oliver Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Jennifer Timmer Trail Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Jennifer Wright Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Jerry Jenáe Sampson Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Jesse Blanchard Learn Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $1,500
Jessica Israels Make Music Multnomah  $5,000
JmeJames Antonick Make Dance/Movement Multnomah  $3,000
John Frentress Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Joni Whitworth Make Literature Multnomah  $1,500
Juhea Kim Make Literature Multnomah  $3,000
Julia Laxer Make Literature Multnomah  $3,000
Julz Clementine Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Kalimah Abioto Build Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Kanani Koster Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Karen Polinsky Make Dance/Movement Multnomah  $5,000
Karlee Boon Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Katherine Brann Fredricks Make Music Multnomah  $1,500
Keenan McCune Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Kelda Van Patten Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Kerry Politzer Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Komi Jean Pierre Nugloze & N’Kossi Boutique Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Kristina Barker Learn Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Lamiae Naki Learn Music Multnomah  $3,000
Leslie Vigeant Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Lisa Cox Learn Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Lisa Korpos Make Social Practice Multnomah  $3,000
Lisa Molinaro Build Music Multnomah  $1,500
Liz Asch Make Literature Multnomah  $3,000
Liz Quezada Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Lucy Paschall Build Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Lynn Deal Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
M. Martinez Learn Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Mami Takahashi Learn Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Marcelo Fontana Make Media Arts Clackamas  $3,000
Mars Xoxo Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Mary Jacqueline MacDonald Learn Theatre Multnomah  $1,500
Masimbaashe Zvovushe Learn Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Matt Weiers Build Music Multnomah  $3,000
Matthew Packwood Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Maxx Katz Learn Music Multnomah  $1,500
Medina Maurice & ʻIolana Collective Fellows Ensemble Learn Dance/Movement Clackamas  $3,000
Meech Boakye Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Melanie Stevens Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Meredith Law Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Mic Crenshaw Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Michael Bui Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Michael Langman Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Michelle Ruiz Keil Make Literature Multnomah  $3,000
Moe Bowstern Make Literature Multnomah  $3,000
Monet Ezra Learn Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Monica Dailey Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Nathaniel Praska Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Nik Hassinger Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Nykell DeVivo Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Onry Henreid Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Onyx Baird Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Pearlyn Tan Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Pearson Kunz Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Pepe Moscoso & Blind Insect Gallery Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Phacelia Cramer Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Pikake Jazzmin Sergia Kahananui Learn Folk Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Princess Bouton Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Qiddist Ashe & Womb Homb Collective Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Rachel Kimbrow Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Rachel Rosenthal Make Theatre Multnomah  $5,000
Rainyanni Paris Build Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Randa Benaziz Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Reed Wallsmith Build Music Multnomah  $3,000
Reema Zaman Make Literature Multnomah  $3,000
Ricardo Nagaoka Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Richard Harrington Make Visual Arts Clackamas  $3,000
Riley Waite Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Rio Wrenn Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Roland Dahwen Wu Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Russell Short Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Samara Andre Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Samuel Eisen-Meyers Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Sarah Meadows Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Scott Braucht Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Sean Bascom Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Shannon Amidon Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Sharon Servilio Learn Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Simone Fischer Make Visual Arts Clackamas  $3,000
Srijon Chowdhury Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Stacey Hareid Learn Other Multnomah  $3,000
Stephan Nance Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Suma Jane Dark Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Sweta Ravisankar Build Dance/Movement Washington  $3,000
Talilo Marfil Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Tallon Jackson Make Media Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Tamesha Scott Learn Other Multnomah  $3,000
Tara Johnson-Medinger Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Taylor Valdes & The Venderia Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Theresa Tran Make Literature Multnomah  $3,000
Tia Katcharian Build Social Practice Multnomah  $3,000
Tyler Jacob Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Tyler Stone Build Music Multnomah  $1,500
Ursula Barton Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Wendy Noonan Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Zack Dougherty Make Media Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Zeloszelos Marchandt Make Multi-Discipline Washington  $3,000

 

Arts Organization/Arts Business Category Discipline County Award
Alexis Mercedes LLC Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $1,500
All Classical Portland Learn Music Multnomah  $3,000
ArtBack Make Visual Arts Clackamas  $3,000
Arts and Cultural Management Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Banana Pepper Music, LLC Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Beaverton Symphony Orchestra Make Music Washington  $3,000
Blackfish Gallery Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Buzzy’s Bees Make Visual Arts Washington  $3,000
Casa Della Zisa Collegium Musica Build Music Clackamas  $3,000
Cathedral Park Performing Arts Collective Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Center for Study and Preservation of Palestine Make Folk Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Center for the Arts Foundation Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Cerimon House Make Dance/Movement Multnomah  $5,000
Clackamas County Arts Alliance Make Visual Arts Clackamas  $3,000
Curvy Chic Closet Foundation Learn Multi-Discipline Washington  $1,500
Custom Deluxe Studio Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Damascus Fiber Arts School Learn Visual Arts Clackamas  $3,000
Eleven West Media Group Build Social Practice Multnomah  $3,000
Fuse Theatre Ensemble Make Theatre Multnomah  $5,000
Fused Creative Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Golden Road Arts Build Visual Arts Washington  $3,000
Good in the Hood Make Music Multnomah  $5,000
Helen’s Costume Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Kickstand Comedy Make Other Multnomah  $3,000
LP Mode, LLC Build Other Multnomah  $3,000
Misfit Academy Make Theatre Multnomah  $3,000
New Room Studios Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Pacific NorthWest Council of Water Protectors Build Folk Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Pacific Northwest Sculptors Learn Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Pathways Dance Company Make Dance/Movement Washington  $5,000
Portland Art Dealers Association Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Prismagic LLC Make Other Multnomah  $3,000
Risk/Reward Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
Rock Dojo Make Music Multnomah  $3,000
Rogue Pack Theatre Make Media Arts Multnomah  $1,500
Scarlet Sails Cultural Foundation Build Theatre Washington  $3,000
Slavic Community Center of NW Make Folk Arts Multnomah  $5,000
Stephanie Chefas Projects Build Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Street Books Build Social Practice Multnomah  $3,000
Stroll PDX Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $5,000
The Broken Planetarium Make Theatre Multnomah  $3,000
The Nature Atelier Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Tiny Dance Life Build Dance/Movement Multnomah  $3,000
Tualatin Valley Creates Make Multi-Discipline Washington  $3,000
Uplifted: Locally Upcycled Goods LLC Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Vibe of Portland Make Visual Arts Multnomah  $3,000
Viva La Free Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah  $3,000
Willamette Writers Inc Build Literature Multnomah  $3,000

 

 


2021-22 Make|Learn|Build Grants (Round 3)

RACC’s Make|Learn|Build Grant Program was designed to address the ways the arts community in the tri-county region needed support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists, creatives, organizations, and businesses were awarded $1,500, $3,000 or $5,000 to make work, gain skills, or build up their arts business. The following 174 Make|Learn|Build Grants were awarded in November 2021 in Round 3 for a total of $506,500.

 

2021-22 Make|Learn|Build Grant awards (Round 3):

Individual Artists Category Discipline County Award
a.c.ramírez de arellano Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Aaron Wheeler-Kay Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Adrienne Livingston Build Other Clackamas $3,000
AJ McCreary Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Alice Christine Walker Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Alisha Christiansen Make Theatre Multnomah $3,000
Alison Lutz Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Allan Pichardo Make Media Arts Multnomah $1,500
Allie Hankins Make Dance/Movement Multnomah $5,000
Amy Wike Make Social Practice Multnomah $3,000
Angela Saenz Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson-Paulsen Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Annabelle McCall Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Annelyse Gelman Build Literature Multnomah $3,000
Arietta Ward Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Ash Shirazi Make Theatre Multnomah $3,000
Ash Wyatt Make Folk Arts Multnomah $3,000
Ashley Hollingshead Make Theatre Multnomah $5,000
Ayal Alves Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Barbara de la Torre Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Becky Springer Learn Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
bitter camari Make Music Multnomah $1,500
Brianna Luce Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Cassia Gammill Learn Multi-Discipline Multnomah $1,500
Catie Hannigan Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Celeste Pulido Garcia Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Christian Henry Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Claire Gunville Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
D.A. Marie Make Literature Washington $3,000
Dao Strom Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $5,000
David McElhatton Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Dawn Jones Redstone Learn Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Diego Morales-Portillo Learn Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Dohmoenike Nevills Build Music Multnomah $3,000
Doug Cummings Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Emily Kepulis Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Emily Miller Make Visual Arts Washington $3,000
Erin Yanke Make Literature Multnomah $3,000
Fernanda D’Agostino Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Freddy Paredes Make Music Washington $3,000
Grace Bigler Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Haley Reda Learn Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
haya bashir Build Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Heather Cannon Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Helena Dupre Thompson Learn Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Irene June Chau Make Visual Arts Washington $3,000
Jamie McPartland Make Literature Multnomah $1,500
Jason Edwards Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Jason Okamoto Build Music Multnomah $3,000
Jennifer Brommer Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Jennifer Perrine Learn Literature Clackamas $3,000
Jess Graff Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Jessica Rogers Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Jessie Nowak Build Dance/Movement Multnomah $3,000
Joe Seeley Build Music Multnomah $3,000
Jonathan Hanisits Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Jordan Souza Make Literature Multnomah $1,500
Jorge Martinez Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Jude Icarus Make Media Arts Multnomah $1,500
Kelly Mackura Learn Visual Arts Washington $3,000
Kendra Larson Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Kenney Polson Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Kevin McConnell Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Kevin Truong Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Kira Smith Make Literature Multnomah $3,000
Kyle Kraiter Learn Visual Arts Washington $1,500
Larry Yes Build Folk Arts Multnomah $3,000
Laura Cannon Build Dance/Movement Multnomah $3,000
Laura Medina Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Lauren Johnson Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Leialohaokeanuenue Kaula Learn Folk Arts Washington $3,000
Lillyanne Pham Make Social Practice Multnomah $3,000
Lisa Lipton Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $1,500
Lo Steele Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Loo Bain Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Lucas James Build Music Clackamas $3,000
Machado Mijiga Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Maren Jensen Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Marissa Yang Bertucci Make Literature Multnomah $3,000
Martha Grover Build Folk Arts Multnomah $3,000
Mary Lee Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Maxx Martinez Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Mckenzie Strong Build Multi-Discipline Clackamas $3,000
McKenzie Young Build Visual Arts Washington $1,500
Melina Kiyomi Coumas Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Melissa Duclos Build Literature Multnomah $3,000
Micah Hummel Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Michael Espinoza Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Mike Vos Learn Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Myhraliza Aala Make Visual Arts Washington $3,000
Myra Day Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Nate Atwell Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Ori Jay Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Pamela Ann Sadberry Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Phil Baker Make Music Washington $5,000
Pilar Gallego Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Prashant Kakad Make Music Multnomah $5,000
Ran Sheng Make Media Arts Washington $3,000
Rimona Eskayo Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Roberta Eaglehorse-Ortiz Build Social Practice Multnomah $3,000
Romana Sena Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Romina Del Castillo Learn Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Sabina Zeba Haque Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Sadie Wechsler Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Sara Burke Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Sarah Farahat Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Seth Lorinczi Make Literature Multnomah $3,000
Silver Chalice Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Sommer Martin Make Other Multnomah $3,000
Stacy Brewster Learn Literature Multnomah $3,000
Steven Allen-Reeves Build Music Multnomah $3,000
Stevie Anne Nemazee Make Theatre Multnomah $3,000
Susan Chan Build Music Washington $1,500
Susannah Mars Make Multi-Discipline Clackamas $5,000
Sydney Rainer Make Other Multnomah $5,000
Taiyah Marshall Make Music Washington $3,000
Tamara Carroll Build Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Tammy Hamamoto Make Visual Arts Multnomah $1,500
Thomas Vidosh Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Todd Marston Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Vanessa Boer Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Yaara Perczek Make Music Multnomah $3,000

 

Arts Organizations/Arts Busineses Category Discipline County Award
ARC in Movement LLC Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Art By Lissette LLC Build Visual Arts Washington $3,000
Art in Oregon Make Visual Arts Clackamas $5,000
Art-O-Maddic Make Visual Arts Clackamas $5,000
Banana Pepper Music, LLC Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Believe In Wonder Publishing Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Bridgeworks Oregon Build Other Multnomah $3,000
Bridging Voices Learn Music Multnomah $1,500
C.C. Stern Type Foundry Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Caldera Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Creative Music Guild Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Curvy Chic Closet Foundation Make Media Arts Washington $1,500
Desert Island Studios Build Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
EngAGE NW Build Multi-Discipline Washington $3,000
Fonograf Editions Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Fourteen30 Contemporary Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Fuller Rosen Gallery Make Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Graphic Arts Center Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Harry’s Room Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
HeartCenter Art Studio, LLC Build Visual Arts Washington $3,000
HOLDING Contemporary Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Indigenous Come Up Build Folk Arts Multnomah $3,000
Jailbreak Studios LLC Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Milepost 5 Learn Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Mirador Magazine Build Literature Multnomah $3,000
Nationale Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
North Pole Studio Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Oregon Potters Association Learn Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Our Bold Voices Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Portland Child Art Studio Build Visual Arts Multnomah $3,000
Portland Indigenous Marketplace Learn Folk Arts Multnomah $3,000
Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble Make Music Multnomah $5,000
Portland Lesbian Choir Make Music Multnomah $3,000
Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival Build Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Pulp & Deckle Build Visual Arts Clackamas $3,000
Red Pig Garden Tools Build Other Clackamas $3,000
Renegade Opera Build Music Multnomah $3,000
Residency Earth Inc Build Music Multnomah $3,000
Slick Education Make Multi-Discipline Washington $5,000
Small Axe Gallery + Projects Make Multi-Discipline Clackamas $3,000
SoulPatch Music Productions Build Music Clackamas $3,000
Street Roots Make Media Arts Multnomah $3,000
Sugarpill LLC Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Teva Oriata Polynesian Dance Troupe Make Dance/Movement Washington $1,500
The Geezer Gallery Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Theatre Vertigo Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Vanport Placemarking Project Make Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Variable West Build Other Multnomah $3,000
White Lotus Foundation Inc Build Multi-Discipline Multnomah $3,000
Wilsonville Arts & Culture Council Build Multi-Discipline Clackamas $3,000
Women-SEW Global Foundation Learn Folk Arts Multnomah $3,000
World Arts Foundation Inc. Make Music Multnomah $3,000

Community grant review uplifts artists in RACC decision-making process

Our grantmaking continues to change as we strive to align our values of access and equity in our services and investments. Feedback from an online survey in summer 2020, and a series of focus groups with Black, brown, and Indigenous artists who shared their perspectives and needs with us last fall, fueled the creation of our 2021 Make|Learn|Build grants.

By offering more flexible awards, we are supporting a greater number of artists and arts-based businesses, responding to what we heard the arts community in greater Portland needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists, creatives, organizations, and businesses were awarded either $1,500 or $3,000 to make work, gain skills, or build up their art business and creative practice during a time of rapid change and creative innovation.

Filmmaker Melina Kiyomi Coumas photographed with green leaves in the background.

Community reviewer and filmmaker Melina Kiyomi Coumas

We also adapted how the community participated in our decision-making processes. Through our survey and focus groups, we heard that artists and arts administrators wanted to know more about what happens behind the scenes in our grantmaking processes and needed more opportunities to get to know each other and their community. We embraced the call for more transparency and for engaging people more deeply in our processes.

As a pilot program alongside the Make|Learn|Build grants, RACC hired a cohort of contract grant reviewers called community reviewers to read and make recommendations about which grant applications to fund. The opportunity to review grants was shared through our networks with past grant recipients, arts and cultural organizations, organizations that have arts programming, and practicing individual artists. Between March and June 2021, we paid the community reviewers for two rounds of review of Make|Learn|Build grants.

Filmmaker and community reviewer Melina Kiyomi Coumas shared what she felt made some applications stronger than others. “The ones that stood out to me, that got the most positive response, had the most community impact to them. In these times it’s nice to see applicants think about the community – how they can inspire, and make change, and help people out right now.”

All of the community review cohort are practicing artists, with experience managing or designing arts programming or running an arts-based business. We prioritized artists without regular employment, or whose work was disrupted by COVID-19, and who were living in Multnomah, Washington, or Clackamas counties. Additionally, we looked for diversity on our panels, including consideration of artistic genre, age, race, gender, ability, and geography. The contractors read, scored, and discussed the Make|Learn|Build grant applications from artists, arts organizations, and arts-based businesses and recommended a slate of awards to the RACC board and grant program team members.

Bathed in rose-colored light, actor Claire Rigsby tousles her long, dark curly hair.

Community reviewer and actor Claire Rigsby. Photo credit Phil Johnson

Claire Rigsby, an actor who served as one of the 14 community reviewers, described what the experience meant to her. “I have only so many resources to share. To be given the chance to support artists by giving funds felt good. Uplifting artists in a way that I can’t in my day-to-day life.” She added, “this really opened my eyes to what a massive community there is in Portland. To see the larger community gives me hope for Portland generally and in the future of art in Portland.”

See who was awarded the first rounds of Make|Learn|Build grants. Rounds 3 & 4 open Monday, August 9, 2021.

2021 Make Learn Build Community Reviewers

  • Yathzi Turcot Azpeitia
  • Melina Kiyomi Coumas
  • Brendan Deiz
  • Monet Ezra
  • Sarah Farahat
  • Brisa Gonzalez
  • John Akira Harrold
  • Vaughn Kimmons
  • Machado Mijia
  • Kelly Moe
  • Claire Rigsby
  • Devin Tau
  • Erin Yanke
  • Xavier “Decimus” Yarbrough