Community Volunteer: Grand Opening Event

The Regional Arts Culture Council (RACC) has one mission – to enrich our communities through arts and culture. We believe that the arts have the power to change hearts and minds, and to inspire social change. We also believe that arts and culture are key elements in creating desirable places to live, learn, work, and visit.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and strive to cultivate equity in all of our programs. Prejudice and privilege have created barriers that RACC must dismantle, systematically and strategically, until everyone in our community has equitable access to arts and culture.

Your volunteer work will help to educate and empower people from all walks of life by providing and promoting access to a diversity of art and cultural experiences. If you’re eager to make a difference, that’s a great start.

Community Volunteer: Grand Opening Event

Status: Volunteer

Date: June 1st 10:15am-12:15pm

Location: Errol Heights Park, 4807 SE Harney Dr, Portland, OR 97206

Department Lead | Supervisory: Salvador Mayoral IV-Senior Public Art Manager

Role Summary: 

The Community Volunteer will participate in tabling during the Grand Opening of new work by Mike Suri and Terresa White.

The artist will be presenting their work and displaying models of this work to the general public.

The volunteer’s role will be to ensure these works are protected during the event and to raise awareness in the wider community about RACC, including: our role within the tri-county area and beyond; RACC’s core values and history; our nationally recognized public art programs, and the many opportunities we offer.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

  • Attend virtual RACC volunteer orientation and training, if not already done so.
  • Ensure artists models are not damaged during the event
  • Communicate with the wider community about RACC’s core values, history, public arts, and volunteer opportunities
  • Assist in set up/take down of our table

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Positive energy and people skills
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Ability to stand or sit for up to 2 hours
  • Ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups of people
  • Interest in the arts, culture, arts funding, community engagement, arts & culture advocacy, or arts organizations

Time Commitment Needed:

  • 1 ½-hour training and orientation session if not already done so.
  • 2 hours tabling

Support Provided: 

  • Training and orientation will be provided prior to the event. Exact date to be confirmed
  • Volunteer Handbook for resources and information
  • Travel reimbursement with receipts
  • Team members from RACC, who will be onsite throughout the event to offer insight and support

Suggested Dress:

Volunteers will be expected to be tabling for up to 2 hours, so please wear comfortable clothing and footwear. Bring a hat, raincoat, and special foods if you have specific needs. Please make note of the weather prior to the event and dress appropriately.

To apply:

Please apply by May 29th 12pm.

Spaces are limited

Please fill in this intake form if you are new to the volunteer program:

Please state the role as: “Community Volunteer”.

If you have volunteered before please contact scumming@racc.org

Arts for All Program Increases Access and Outreach in Community

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Announces a Relaunch of the Arts for All Program to Increase Engagement and Outreach in Our Community, and Beyond, Ensuring Arts & Culture Are Accessible for All

We envision a community that supports, engages with, and finds joy in arts and culture being accessible by all–not just those who can afford to pay, but also for those with limited resources. RACC wants opportunities to be available for all members of our community. We want people to be uplifted, enjoy arts and cultural events, and be part of the creative fabric of our state. The Arts for All program was conceived by a group of thoughtful arts leaders more than 10 years ago to ensure that everyone receiving assistance through the Oregon Trail Card/SNAP could attend arts and cultural events for $5 a ticket.

While the Arts for All program has flourished and steadily grown, we have seen that there is a need to increase its accessibility. To achieve our goals, we are relaunching the program with renewed engagement and outreach. Our goals include making the information downloadable from our website at www.racc.org and distributing printed materials throughout the region to hundreds of non-profit social service agencies, county and city government offices, schools, health departments and clinics, community centers, arts and culture organizations, and more. Program information will be available in six languages and will be at culturally specific locations.

Friends of Chamber Music was proud to be one of the founding member organizations of Arts for All back in 2011, and I’ve personally had the privilege of continuing to help coordinate the program for the last several years. It’s been so gratifying to see the impact Arts for All has had in making the arts accessible to all parts of our community and see it become a model for similar programs across the country.  – Pat Zagelow, Friends of Chamber Music Executive Director

The Arts for All program enables us to enjoy arts and culture together while ensuring access for all. Without the support and dedication of arts organizations in our community, this program would not be possible. We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Hult Center for Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon. The expansion of the Arts for All program throughout the state ensures better access to arts and culture for all of our residents.

RACC looks forward to hearing the community’s response for this renewed launch and engagement opportunity for Arts for All. Please let us know how we can continue to ensure that access to arts and culture activities is available for all who wish to participate. Let us know how we can make this community-centered program better! – Carol Tatch, Executive Director, Regional Arts & Culture Council

The organizations who have joined RACC to ensure access to arts and culture in our community are listed at racc.org/artsforall. Please support these arts and cultural organizations any way that you can to show your support for arts and culture access for all. For more information, please email us at arts4all@racc.org.

Please join us: RACC in Community on Wednesday Sept.20, 2023

We invite you to our second RACC in Community engagement. This is an opportunity to ask questions about the recent announcement from the City of Portland about the proposal to not renew RACC’s contract, and to learn how you can support RACC at this time. Bring your voice, curiosity, and your questions. RACC was built by community for community. RACC is your solution for a thriving ecosystem, powered by creativity, with arts and culture in every neighborhood. Our first engagement in NE Portland at openHAUS was a huge success!

When: Wednesday September 20, 2023

Where: BodyVox, 201 NW 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Time: 6-8 pm

Please  RSVP here

Please come to hear our response, plans for the future, and to learn how you can be activated to respond to the City. Food and artistic engagement will be provided. We are looking forward to your presence! Thank you for your support—RACC was created by community, for community.

SAVE THE DATES:  More engagement events will be held in SE, SW, and in Clackamas and Washington counties. Please click here for listings. Check out our Instagram  for additional updates.

If you have further questions,  please reach out to advocacy@racc.org.

More information can be found on our Advocacy Hub. Click here for our FAQ’s

A Call to Action: Legacy Arts Council asks Communities for Support in Fight for Continued Partnership with Portland

RACC hosted artists

RACC hosted artists: Javon Johnson, Ted Lange, Regina Taylor, Phillip Bernard Smith, and RACC Team Members during the recent Pacific Northwest Multi Cultural Readers Series and Film Festival. Photo by M. Boakye.

Immediate Release

September 14, 2023

Regional Arts and Culture Council holds in-person events with its supporters to rally awareness, support for its continued contract with the City

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) is doing what it does best: Building community for the purpose of supporting the region’s artists and creatives. Thursday, September 14, the nonprofit will kick off community events across the Portland metro region, to celebrate its base and rally support as they ask the City of Portland to reconsider canceling its contract with RACC.

“We continue to do everything in our power to speak the truth about our three decades-long partnership with the City of Portland,” said Carol Tatch, RACC executive director. “RACC’s level of expertise and involvement is critical to the revitalization of Portland. We stand by our legacy of success and track record of responsible stewardship of the public’s dollars.”

RACC in Community Event
RACC is facing a deadline imposed by the City of Portland. Councilmember Ryan announced in July he is canceling the City’s contract with RACC, effective June 30, 2024. The City plans to bring the Portland arts and cultural decisions inside the government versus through RACC, an established and respected 501(c)(3).

The RACC team and its community are working feverishly to illuminate the impact canceling the contract would have on artists and arts organizations throughout the tri-county area – and how the entire Portland metro area would suffer. Commissioner Ryan’s decision would take away the Portland community’s power to make decisions about arts funding, and hand it back to city officials. The reason RACC was created in the first place, 28 years ago, was to return that authority to the people, where it belongs.

“I truly don’t believe the public understands what’s at stake,” said Debby Garman, RACC interim board chair. “I believe that facts matter, and truth matters. I believe citizens of Portland deserve to hear RACC’s perspective and to hear correct facts about the City claims leading to canceling the RACC contract. Portland is deeply in need of restoration, and the expert team at RACC supporting the broadest creative community can be a brilliant part of the solution.”

Event Details and Activation
Thursday, September 14, marks the kickoff community event, held at openHAUS, 5020 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. RACC encourages everyone to bring their questions, curiosity, and voices. There will be ample food and entertainment, along with details about RACC’s plan. Communities will learn how to leverage their voices to support area artists who depend on RACC funding.


Why a Regional Arts Approach is Best for the Community to Thrive – Oregon ArtsWatch

Carol Tatch (second from left), Executive Director of the Regional Arts and Culture Council, with (from left) Javon Johnson, Ted Lange, Regina Taylor, and Phillip Bernard Smith. RACC hosted these artists during the recent Pacific Northwest Multi Cultural Readers Series and Film Festival. Photo: Meech Boakye

The City of Portland has notified the Regional Arts & Culture Council of its intent to end a 28-year fiscal relationship by Summer 2024. Carol Tatch, Executive Director of RACC, wrote an opinion piece for Oregon Arts Watch on why a regional arts approach is best for the community to thrive. 

“Our grantees are not just names on applications; they are our partners in our mission. RACC continues to demonstrate how our local region can successfully engage, support, uplift, highlight, and share arts and culture. RACC has clearly demonstrated it is the solution for clear access to funding, engagement with respect and dignity, and a regional advocate for more funding and support for arts and culture, for the past 28 years.”

We invite your questions and ask that you actively demand that the city support RACC in continuing its mission, which deeply honors equity, transparency, and community uplift. Please check out the RACC Advocacy Hub as well as joining with us for our “RACC in Community” conversations coming soon (check our website and social media for updates on where and when). All are invited!

Read the full article here.

RACC’s Unwavering Commitment to Arts: Discussing the Future of Arts Funding on “Eye on Northwest Politics”

In a recent “Eye on Northwest Politics” segment on KOIN 6, Carol Tatch, Executive Director of the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), addressed Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan’s decision to terminate the city’s contract with RACC. Carol spoke with Ken Boddie about how this action raises critical concerns about the future of arts and cultural development in Portland at an especially pivotal moment.

RACC is a community-based organization that stands for the values and desires of the community. The organization was formed 28 years ago with a mission to foster artistic expression in the Portland metro area, and this mission is reflected in everything we do. Since then, RACC has been at the forefront of arts and culture, leading the region in understanding what our artists and creatives need.

The decision to terminate the contract is particularly concerning for several reasons. First, it removes arts funding decisions from the hands of the community and places them within government agencies. RACC was established to ensure that arts funding is decided by the community.

Second, RACC is more efficient and faster in its operations than what can be replicated at the government level. RACC uses community reviewers who are familiar with the arts and have specialized knowledge. This ensures that funding decisions are equitable and reflect the voices of the community. We also offer professional development opportunities and engage with the community at levels that cannot be replicated at the City level. RACC is a nonprofit, non-partisan group that has been responsive to the community’s needs.

Furthermore, it is essential to understand that RACC is not a government agency. We work with our communities to ensure that there is a diverse and equitable lens in our approach to arts and culture. We have garnered community trust over time and have become a leading voice in the arts and culture ecosystem in the Portland metro area.

As we move forward, we remain focused on the larger community and are exploring how best to continue in our role. What’s more important is the loss of community input and the community’s voice in making decisions about which artists and arts organizations have their voices lifted or diminished. We were created by the people for the people, and today’s RACC is the culmination of long-time community regional needs.

We are excited to be part of the solution for the City of Portland and all our partners. Portland is at a pivotal point in its economic recovery, and we look forward to being part of the solution. We are the fabric of the Portland Metro region that threads together art and cultural communities, and we are ready to face the challenges ahead with the expertise, heart, and vision that RACC has sustained for over a quarter-century.

Thank you for your continued support. We encourage you to watch the full segment to learn more about our efforts to support the arts community, our plans for the future, and the significance of a centralized organization serving artists, creatives, and the broader creative economy. Despite the upcoming changes, we remain diligently committed to our mission. 

RACC Grantee Heléna Dupre Thompson’s “Unintentional Spectacles”

Laura Vincent Design & Gallery is a space in downtown Portland known since 2018 for its careful selection of contemporary artists. We visited to interview artist Heléna Dupre Thompson and view her exhibition Unintentional Spectacles, funded in part by a Make|Learn|Build grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). 

Thompson was raised in the industrial city of Providence, Rhode Island, and worked as a firefighter. This exhibition served as a testament to her background. Thompson extracts stories from what many overlook: utility poles covered in posters, skate parks, and the undersides of skateboards, transforming close-up images into abstract worlds. 

On view alongside Unintentional Spectacles was James Florschutz’s exhibition, Assembled Fragments. Constructed out of found materials, these objects carried their own histories, challenging our views on urban sprawl and consumerism. Together, these two artists’ were in conversation, their works resonating with each other, weaving narratives of urban life and transformation from the seemingly mundane.

The phrase “industrial beauty” seems like an oxymoron, but in Thompson’s hands, it becomes an exploration of the aesthetic potential hidden in the mundane. “I’ve always been drawn to abstraction,” she says. Providence is a city with an industrial history like her current home, Portland. Despite the geographical distance and the years away, she found unexpected similarities between the two cities. “Providence is kind of like a really small version of Portland,” she notes, describing the shared landscapes, content, and political undercurrents, though also acknowledging a few east-west coast differences.

Her work, characterized by magnifying her lens deep into her subjects, is layered with history, the passage of time, and the gentle or not-so-gentle interventions by humans and nature alike. Focusing on the elements that resonate most with her, Thompson encapsulates vast landscapes within tiny surface areas. “Most of my [photographs]…are about a one to two-inch surface area,” she shares; yet these miniature compositions hint at large geological formations. 

Thompson challenges the notion that her work is a form of documentation. While she captures the tangible realities of her subjects, she intends to remove them from their context and allow them to stand separate. It’s an intriguing juxtaposition of preservation and abstraction that pulls viewers into an almost ethereal space, urging them to question and rethink what they’re perceiving. “I do this…for the viewer to see it however they want to see it,” she explained. The result is an abstraction so detailed, it becomes a world unto itself.

Thompson embraces spontaneity in her creative process, and her work emerges from the unexpected, while staying grounded in the physical world. “Most of my work happens on-site,” Thompson reveals. But there is an element of serendipity at play. She explains, “Sometimes I’ll be riding my bike and I’ll find chunks of metal or glass [on the roadside]. I’ll [then] take them back to my studio and compose them there.”

“Being in that environment, hearing the sounds, seeing the people, meeting the people, smelling the smells… It makes me more connected to the city and the people.”

Her experimentation is not confined to stationary objects; she draws inspiration even from the fleeting, like skateboarders gliding by at the park. “I’m interested in the surfaces that the skaters skate on, but also what the undersides of their boards look like,” she says, unveiling an exciting recent find, recycled skateboard decks. “This is the thing that scraped the wall that I was photographing and now…already…this is a piece,” she marvels, cradling the board. “I love [this] kind of layering…First of all, there’s a graphic on it, right? And then somebody bought it and put these stickers on it. And then who knows where this board has been? Now, through the actions of the skater, it becomes a mashing and regeneration of the original colors, lines and textures,” she contemplates, her words subtly drawing parallels between her work and life itself – a multitude of intricate, layered experiences.

Thompson sees the relationship with these environments and communities as a two-way street — she was observing them, and they were inadvertently shaping her. 

“Being in that environment, hearing the sounds, seeing the people, meeting the people, smelling the smells… It makes me more connected to the city and the people. Even if I see them once, there’s a bond that I feel more connected to,” she confessed. “Being amongst artists and communities, I’ve gotten so much out of that and learned so much from it.” These interactions fostered a sense of shared understanding, a silent bond that she found incredibly nurturing. “I feel like it makes me a more present person, more caring. As artists, we have this connection that a lot of people don’t have. It’s made me feel more whole in a lot of ways, more connected to my environment and myself.”

Thompson also noted the crucial role of funding bodies like RACC, acknowledging how its support had impacted her journey as an artist. She concluded, “[This grant] allowed me to take a few leaps forward, to prioritize my craft, to grow, and to learn. I truly believe I wouldn’t have been in this gallery now if it weren’t for the timing of that grant.” 

As we wrapped up, I was given the exciting news that Thompson had been asked to be represented by Laura Vincent Gallery as the show concluded, confirming the steady evolution of her artistic trajectory. Laura Vincent Gallery’s invitation emphasizes Thompson’s unique visual language and the raw intimacy she brings to her work. With her journey marked by a non-traditional, self-guided education, Thompson’s story reflects the potential for diverse routes into the art world, celebrating creativity that thrives outside established norms. 

All images by Heléna Dupre Thompson, from Unintentional Spectacles.” 

Multnomah County Library and Regional Arts & Culture Council announce community artists as part of wide-reaching public art commissions

Immediate Release

May 22, 2023

Artists bring community-centered approach to their artwork across libraries

PORTLAND, Ore. —Multnomah County Library (MCL) and Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) are teaming up to bring artwork to libraries throughout Multnomah County. This effort is part of the voter-approved 2020 Library building bond which will build, rebuild or expand nine library buildings while providing smaller upgrades to 11 libraries as part of the Refresh projects. Since the bond passed, Multnomah County Library has been hard at work on major updates, with the Operations Center and Holgate and Midland libraries leading the way as some of the first projects.

Public art for the community

As part of these updates, local artists are creating unique installations at each of these sites that represent the community’s history, culture and diversity.

“At the center of these new libraries is the belief that beauty and transformative spaces should be accessible for everyone,” said Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries. “Working with the Regional Arts and Culture Council offers an opportunity to bring the library, community and artists together in a vibrant way to ensure these new library spaces are not just functional for everyone, but also beautiful and inspiring.”

This artwork is developed in coordination with the Regional Arts & Culture Council through the Multnomah County Percent for Art Program, allotting 2% of the construction budget for all county-funded improvement projects toward the investment in public art. Artists are awarded projects as part of a robust public process, which includes selection panels led by local residents, business owners, artists, library staff and project partners.

The first library buildings to plan for public art include the Operations Center. As the heart of the library, it’s where every item placed on hold is sorted in addition to being the first stop for new books and materials. Plus, items for outreach to schools, shelters and more will be centered here. On July 6, 2022, the library broke ground on the Operations Center on the site of a former Safeway grocery store (221 NE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230). This 73,000 square foot building is scheduled to open in late 2023.

Holgate Library will be a brand new two-story building, triple the size of the current space for a total of 21,000 square feet. It will be one of the largest libraries in Multnomah County. To begin on this new building, Holgate Library closed to begin construction on December 5, 2022 and will reopen in 2024.

Midland Library will undergo important renovations and an expansion to add 6,000 square feet of space, or an increase of about 25 percent. To complete these exciting upgrades, Midland Library closed to begin construction on December 23, 2022 and will reopen in 2024.

Thanks to feedback from members of the community, exciting new features at Holgate and Midland will include:

  • Outdoor spaces for community connection.
  • Large play and learning spaces for children.
  • Teen rooms with space for technology, homework and creative expression.
  • Art that represents diverse cultures.

Community artists representing community vision

Community engagement is a core value for the building projects. Selection panels prioritized artists with demonstrated experience and expressed interest in embedding community into their practice and work. Most artists selected for these projects are expected to create and host community engagement opportunities as part of their design phase. Some of these arts-focused events have already taken place and more are on their way in the coming months.

“We are immensely grateful for our continued partnerships with other community-centered, value-aligned organizations such as Multnomah County Library. RACC and MCL are prioritizing equity, accessibility, community, and innovation within our approaches to these significant projects. The expansive nature of libraries and the creativity with which MCL is approaching the library building improvements align well for the inclusion of public art. Providing opportunities for artistic growth is integral to our mission, as is the development, strengthening, and expansion of our arts and culture ecosystem. We are committed to centering the creativity and prosperity of artists and communities who, historically, have not been represented in the cultural fabric of this region. We are thrilled with the artists who have been selected by the community panels and extend our gratitude to all those working to bring these artworks into being,” said Carol Tatch, Co-Executive Director & Chief of External Operations, Regional Arts & Culture Council.


Meet the artists

Operations Center: Exterior entrance

A new, large-scale, 2-dimensional permanent exterior artwork at the Operations Center entrance will be created by artist Tenya Rodriguez (they/them). The site-specific original artwork will greet staff and visitors alike with vibrant colors and energy as they enter the new building, which is considered the heart of the library system. The artwork will also be visible to vehicular and pedestrian traffic along NE 122nd Avenue, capturing the attention of those who pass by. Tenya is a queer, Latinx, self-taught artist whose practice centers on mark-making and layering as a way to communicate through experimental expressionism. Instagram: @tenyarodriguez

Midland Library: Exterior canopy

As part of the overall building renovation, Midland Library will acquire a new entry canopy, framing the redesigned entrance and exterior public plaza. The underside of the canopy, spanning the width of the building, will feature artwork by local artists Lillyanne Pham (LP) and Paola De La Cruz (she/her). Lillyanne is a second-generation Vietnamese artist and cultural organizer who creates through a systemic consciousness framework and lens, specifically place-based justice and racial equity. Paola, originally from the Dominican Republic, interweaves digital and analog media, patterns, stitching and shape-based illustrations to evoke intimacy while challenging the themes of cultural identity, coming of age and interpersonal growth. Together, Lillyanne and Paola conceive and actualize socially engaged projects which blend one another’s strengths, passions and creativity. Instagram: @happynappystudio / @lillyannepham / @paola.lillyanne

Midland Library: Gathering Circle

Kanani Miyamoto (she/her) has been selected to create an original 2-dimensional wall-mounted artwork which will frame Midland Library’s interior Gathering Circle, a communal seating area that encourages and fosters connection. The artwork will be located directly across from the new main entry doors and will be one of the first things visible as people arrive at the library. Kanani is a practicing artist, curator, adjunct instructor and teacher whose work focuses on sharing and celebrating her unique mixed heritage in the hopes of representing her community and the beauty of intersectional identities. Through Kanani’s community-centered work she brings awareness to the damaging effects of capitalism and settler colonialism on Pacific Island people and land. Instagram: @mamakanani

Holgate Library: Interior/exterior wall

The Interior/Exterior Wall public art project at Holgate Library is multi-dimensional in name and practice. Salomée Souag’s (she/her) artwork will be etched onto exterior panels of the building’s façade creating a permanent sculptural drawing on the outside. Elements of these exterior panels will be replicated inside along the full length of the ground floor lobby wall as part of a large-scale, site-specific, 2-dimensional digital mural. Salomée is a muralist, designer and creative from Switzerland who holds her Peruvian and Algerian ancestors closer to her heart, her community and her work. In her consistent and continuous evolution and artistic practice, she creates revolutionary work to give power to the people, youth and artists. Salomée’s bold and powerful work encourages everyone to break down boundaries and borders and to imagine expression. Instagram: @c.hroma

Holgate Library: Exterior site enclosure

Arts activist Crystal Meneses (she/her) will be creating a 2-dimensional wall-mounted artwork for Holgate Library’s Exterior Site Enclosure. The artwork will wrap the enclosure, creatively anchoring the north entry outdoor patio. Located between the new library and the new parking lot, the artwork will be highly visible from SE 79th Avenue as people arrive at the library. In addition, the artwork will act as the backdrop to ground floor flex spaces that will be used by library staff and patrons for classes and events. Crystal creates from a communal perspective, centering connection and relationship and ensuring inclusion. Her mission is to inspire arts activism in the community while supporting others in discovering their passions and talents. Crystal’s expansive approach and ability to cultivate community is, in itself, a work of art. At the heart of everything Crystal generates is the desire to elevate collective healing, particularly amongst marginalized communities. Instagram: @crystalakinsmeneses