RACC Blog

Kaiser Permanente, The Standard and ZGF Architects win top prizes at Work for Art’s Battle of the Bands

PORTLAND, ORE — Seven employee bands competed in Work for Art’s first annual Battle of the Bands, which drew more than 400 music fans to the Crystal Ballroom on Thursday night. Celebrity judges Christopher Brown, Steve Pringle and Rindy Ross awarded the top prize – best company band – to Pencil Skirt Paula and The Straight Edge Rulers, from ZGF Architects. The Best Showmanship prize went to Kaiser Permanente’s 1980s cover band, Members Only.

The Audience Favorite award, as determined by the band that raised the most money from the audience, went to The Standard’s Smoke Before Fire. In all more than $75,000 was raised through event sponsorships, ticket sales, a silent auction, a raffle and other cash donations.

Kaiser Permanente’s 1980s cover band, Members Only.

Members Only (Kaiser Permanente), photo by Erica Ann Photography.

All event proceeds will help Work for Art draw closer to its fundraising goal of $1 million by June 30. Work for Art is a program of the Regional Arts & Culture Council that raises money and awareness for local arts and culture organizations, primarily through workplace giving. RACC distributes all campaign proceeds to more than 100 local nonprofit organizations – including Oregon Children’s Theatre, Ethos Music Center, Portland Opera and the Children’s Healing Art Project.

The Standard’s Smoke Before Fire.

The Standard’s Smoke Before Fire.

Battle of the Bands was the first-ever public fundraising event for Work for Art, which is now in its tenth year. The event was emceed by Joe Vithayathil of KPTV Fox 12 Oregon, and by singer-songwriter Merideth Kaye Clarke. The Brothers Jam, led by BodyVox artistic director Jamey Hampton, opened the show, and one of the Timbers Army bands, Greenhorn, played the final set.

Other competing bands included The Legal Limit (Tonkon Torp), The Red Keys (KeyBank), Larry and the Lightbulbs (PGE), and Dystopia (Burgerville). Companies that are interested in competing in next year’s Battle should contact Jeff Hawthorne, Director of Community Engagement for the Regional Arts & Culture Council, at jhawthorne@racc.org, 503-823-5258.

To make a donation that will help Work for Art reach its million-dollar goal, visit workforart.org.

Celebrity judges Christopher Brown, Rindy Ross and Steve Pringle. Photo by Erica Ann Photography.

Celebrity judges Christopher Brown, Rindy Ross and Steve Pringle. Photo by Erica Ann Photography.

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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.


Patty Burkett responds

Patty Burkett (Candidate for Mayor) responded on May 11, 2016:

(1) In what specific ways have you supported arts and culture in Portland?

My Beloved late Mother Maxine, was a brilliant and very Loving Soul! We were her Whole
Life, and as her children, we were expected to contribute to the Arts. We most assuredly did. My
brother, sisters, and me have been very Blessed with a Mom that knew the artistry of her son and
daughters. She encouraged so many souls throughout her lifetime. She learned to play Eubie Blake
style Ragtime; from Mr. Blake himself. She was 8 years old. It was 1926. Her grandparents owned a
working farm and boarding house on their property outside Mason City, Iowa. None of the hotels in
town would allow Asian, Black, Gay, Lesbian or Hispanic artists to rest. My greatgrandmother,
Ella apparently frequently stated, “Their money is just as good as anyone’s!” Plus, entertainment into the wee hours of the mornings! And so, my Mom met Mr. Blake only once! She said he was so kind! She played Ragtime for the rest of her life! My older sister Jerilynn was frequently on the local television program in Portland, “Stars of Tomorrow”. She sings high soprano and has been compared in musical style to famous chanteuse Jane Powell; also a Portlander! My brother Norman a trombone player and high volume Wagner enthusiast! My younger sister Bonnie, a magical natural Shakespearean quality thespian since very young childhood. She performed as a child and adult with Children’s Theatre programs in Portland. One of my fondest memories is participating; in the 1950’s with my sister, as very little girls, dressed beautifully in seamstress quality matching fluffy dresses, exquisitely sewn by our Mother. Specifically for audience participation in the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Recitals at Washington Park; when the cherry blossoms are exploding in beauteous shades of pink blossoms throughout the city! I can still see and hear the snapping of their fans in unison, dancing in the warm Spring evening air, with absolutely stunning women in full regalia of traditional Japanese costume. Precious, in so many more ways to me; as an adult. I could riff on our involvements within multiple pages.

(2) Artists and arts organizations add measurable value to our region’s economy, our education system and our quality of life, and yet there are a number of pressing needs in our community that often compete for attention and investment. What is the Mayor’s proper role in supporting arts and culture in the region?

Unconditional support! Art is truly the Heart of Everyone! I am confident that many more
Portlanders and Friends of Portland, will be supporting the arts throughout the globe when, they are schooled correctly, on how to correctly pay their Gift (and GenerationSkipping Transfer) Taxes. To have the astronomical luxury of supporting one’s special craft financially, in real time, is so
imperative. I am quite certain that many more artists will be thriving in a resurgence of a true
Renaissance of the Arts everywhere! The rewards are stratospheric!

(3) The region’s affordability is a serious concern for all of us, including artists and artsrelated businesses. What are your plans for making housing and creative spaces more affordable?

Teaching the People of their true value and worth in our society! Includes the constructs of
Uniform Commercial Code specifically. Marvelous! These assets can be processed quite easily
within 90 days or less for anyone 18 years of age and older (children birth to 18, are within the
constructs of grandparents tax issues). Thus, generationskipping defined. The vast majority of the
People have no clue as to how to pay their obligations correctly according to federal laws since at
least 1933. The rewards are unbelievably phenomenal!

(4) Are there other unmet needs when it comes to shaping Portland’s arts and culture policy for the future? If so, what steps would you take to help ensure those needs are met, and how should they be funded?

I am certain there are. One of my favorite ideas is university quality degrees in Symbology!
Our world is filled with ancient symbology. It is important to recognize and be aware of the meanings of the symbolic constructs surrounding us in our historic sites, commerce,works, and arts in everyday activities.I will need to school myself on what priorities are most pressing to the Council. I am confident that we will shine even more as a destination location! I especially want to encourage older Portlanders and younger children to be more involved in all of the arts. I know from observation and familial ties that art is extremely important in virtually every theraputic discipline. Many of us benefit so instinctually from the arts. This is the real SPIRIT of being a City of Art Lovers!

(5) The Arts Education & Access Fund, or arts tax , has delivered on its promise of providing arts specialists for all K5 schools in Portland, but the fund hasn’t generated enough revenue to support as many grants for arts and culture organizations as envisioned. If elected, would you take any steps to modify the arts tax, improve administration of it, and/or fulfill the voters’ vision of supporting arts education and access through other means?

As I have shared above, there is NO LIMIT on what we can accomplish! I really want to
intertwine the RACC mission, in place, within every single one of our 95 Neighborhoods. Not to
mention that our Beloved sons and daughters really need inspiration from adults on how to build on their inherent desire to express themselves; particularly our darling children that need love, attention and unconditional support. Everything feels stressful now. Life Affirming is, indeed, the Clarion!

Back to Candidates’ page.


Ted Wheeler responds

Ted Wheeler (Candidate for Mayor) responded to RACC’s arts and culture questionnaire on April 22, 2016:

(1) In what specific ways have you supported arts and culture in Portland? 

When I was the Chair of Multnomah County, I doubled the amount allocated in every public project to the purchasing and displaying of artwork. I served with Mayor Sam Adams on a workgroup organized by the Creative Advocacy Network that was formed to work out the details for an annual investment in local arts and culture, which ultimately influenced the creation of the Arts Tax.

On a personal level, my wife and I have financially supported numerous arts organizations and institutions. My daughter participates in Northwest Children’s Theatre and as we know participation in the arts helps children to excel in school – producing higher test scores and increasing graduation rates. I believe strongly in the importance of enhancing the left-brain/right-brain integrative approach to education. I believe strongly that an emphasis on arts education helps people to think creatively and expressively. Young people with a more well-rounded arts education will be better prepared to succeed in the 21st century at local companies as well as in high growth sectors like healthcare and construction.

(2) Artists and arts organizations add measurable value to our region’s economy, our education system and our quality of life, and yet there are a number of pressing needs in our community that often compete for attention and investment.  What is the Mayor’s proper role in supporting arts and culture in the region?

The Mayor should be a proud and articulate supporter of arts and culture, as well as an advocate for growing the creative economy in our region. Moreover, they should be an accessible and active partner, seeking new and innovative ways to provide increased revenue for art programs without taking money away from other vital City programs.

As Chair of Multnomah County Commission in 2010, I doubled the funding for the arts but didn’t overly limit how the funds could be spent. We must place the value of the arts in front of the community, but not dictate how it is nurtured and developed.

(3) The region’s affordability is a serious concern for all of us, including artists and arts-related businesses. What are your plans for making housing and creative spaces more affordable?

One of the main focuses of my campaign has been on our serious affordability crisis and I recognize that our community must find effective ways to address this problem. For this reason, I have proposed the creation of a city office within the Housing Bureau dedicated to landlord-tenant affairs; a Just Cause eviction requirement; improvements that will result in more affordable housing construction; and an improved application and rental process. We must apply these same protections and parameters when possible to help keep creative non-residential space affordable, as well. The arts community is an integral part of the tapestry of the city and we must show dedication to provide artists with affordable working spaces for their creative ventures.

(4) Are there other unmet needs when it comes to shaping Portland’s arts and culture policy for the future? If so, what steps would you take to help ensure those needs are met, and how should they be funded?

Portland has been a leader in demonstrating how city government and the arts community can collaborate in creative and meaningful ways, but there is more work to be done. In large part due to the skyrocketing cost of living, artists in this city still struggle to make ends meet and often feel their voices are unheard. As mayor, I would be proactive in reaching out to the arts community and engaging in dialogue to better understand how the city can support arts and I would gladly explore potential funding avenues for art projects.

I would say that, overall, arts organizations give back to this community more than they receive, and it is time to reverse that trend. 8,000 individuals are employed in the arts community in Portland. In terms of the cultural tourism sector, 5 million individuals patronized the arts over the last year in Portland. We need to continue to grow this sector so that the arts can continue to thrive, and the city’s vitality will thrive along with it.

(5) The Arts Education & Access Fund, or arts tax, has delivered on its promise of providing arts specialists for all K-5 schools in Portland, but the fund hasn’t generated enough revenue to support as many grants for arts and culture organizations as envisioned. If elected, would you take any steps to modify the arts tax, improve administration of it, and/or fulfill the voters’ vision of supporting arts education and access through other means?

I have always supported the arts and would not advocate repealing the arts tax if I were elected mayor. However, I would like to find a better way to ensure that it’s actually being paid by all of those who can pay it and to encourage greater input from the arts community on how best to utilize the revenue it generates.

We must find an effective and efficient way to enforce collection and improve administration of the tax. It is not fair that some families dig deep to pay while others get off “scot-free.” The arts tax adds to the cultural vitality of the city, and as a result, to the overall livability of Portland. The public supported the arts tax strongly; I would like the public to be more connected to the benefits.

Back to Candidates’ page.


David Schor responds

David Schor (Candidate for Mayor) responded on April 14, 2016:

(1) In what specific ways have you supported arts and culture in Portland?   

As an independent artist myself, I contribute as a performer, producer, and consumer of arts and culture in Portland. I have been involved in numerous musical and theatrical productions in Portland over the decades. I have recorded albums with Walkfast and Babel Echo, starred in a number of music videos, and been a regular attendee at events in the community. I have volunteered to perform in support of nonprofit organizations with a focus on social justice and civil rights, including the Oregon Innocence Project, and the ACLU’s NW Civil Liberties conference.

(2) Artists and arts organizations add measurable value to our region’s economy, our education system and our quality of life, and yet there are a number of pressing needs in our community that often compete for attention and investment.  What is the Mayor’s proper role in supporting arts and culture in the region?

The mayor must be a leader and insist on the fundamental importance of arts and culture as the foundation of community. Understanding and measuring the impact of arts and artists in Portland will be key to shaping this conversation. The economic return on investment in artistic pursuits often seems hard to quantify, but the intangible benefits to our economy and livability are manifest in the community support for arts and artists. The mayor should work to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the role of arts and culture in the regional economy, and to assess the monetary value of these activities – not because putting a price on the arts is necessary, but because demonstrating the economic power of the sector is key to getting all stakeholders on board with robust investment in our local artists.

(3) The region’s affordability is a serious concern for all of us, including artists and arts-related businesses. What are your plans for making housing and creative spaces more affordable?

My Community Housing Initiative is a comprehensive program to raise dedicated revenue that will be used to create community-owned, tenant-managed, permanently affordable housing. My vision is to create shared space for performance and affordable spaces for makers within this new housing model, and to ensure that housing costs match incomes throughout the city – to end the displacement of artists by making an investment in affordable housing as a community. Revenue will come from a Millionaire’s tax on the top 1% of income earners in Portland. The initiative also includes robust renter protections, a transition to just-cause eviction standards, and expanding the use of land trusts to enable buyers with lower incomes to become homeowners.

(4) Are there other unmet needs when it comes to shaping Portland’s arts and culture policy for the future? If so, what steps would you take to help ensure those needs are met, and how should they be funded?

There are always going to be unmet needs when it comes to shaping Portland’s policy, and that is why it is crucial to have a robust system to collect and digest comments and feedback from the public about the arts and culture policies the city pursues. Assessing needs first, and then working to secure the necessary funding, makes more sense to me than seeking unspecified funding for unknown purposes. It’s clear that there is a lack of arts and culture opportunities outside the central city, and that bringing arts and culture activities and resources into every corner of Portland will take concerted, long-term effort from the city and from residents.

(5) The Arts Education & Access Fund, or arts tax, has delivered on its promise of providing arts specialists for all K-5 schools in Portland, but the fund hasn’t generated enough revenue to support as many grants for arts and culture organizations as envisioned. If elected, would you take any steps to modify the arts tax, improve administration of it, and/or fulfill the voters’ vision of supporting arts education and access through other means? 

The Arts Tax as we know it is a great program with a few rough edges. Ensuring arts specialists in all K-5 schools in Portland is a huge accomplishment and well worth protecting. We know the arts tax is something the community supports, but we also know that the administrative burden is a major factor in collecting a small tax from a large number of residents. Reforming the arts tax rates to make them more progressive will help to cover the funding shortfall compared to initial projections, and will also help to make the tax even more popular by making it more fair. The added bonus of relatively lower administrative costs will help to make more money available to fund art, rather than office workers.

Back to Candidates’ page.


RACC launches new website

Welcome to our new website! With an average of 452 unique visits per day, we have redesigned and reprogrammed racc.org to help constituents access RACC’s abundant resources more easily. The new website is also fully responsive for tablets and mobile devices, which now account for 30% of all visits.

In addition to the new navigation menus on our homepage, a new superfooter at the bottom of every page helps constituents access the most popular content on racc.org with one click. For example:

  • Artists can apply for RACC grants, discover public art opportunities, find workshops and networking events, and tap into a wide variety of other online resources.
  • Arts organizations can learn more about RACC funding opportunities, find technical assistance programs and download research to help them be strong advocates.
  • Arts educators can learn more about The Right Brain Initiative and other opportunities for teaching artists in our community.
  • The public at large can browse the public art collection, find arts-related jobs, connect with organizations who offer $5 tickets through the Arts for All program, and learn more about how the Arts Education & Access fund, or arts tax, is making a difference in our community.

The new racc.org allows visitors to customize many of RACC’s resource lists by searching and sorting the results. For example, check out RACC’s list of residency opportunities, arts-related jobs, live-work spaces, workshops, and lectures. We have also created a new form where you can submit additional opportunities for RACC to share with others online.

We invite you to explore the new website and send your feedback to Mary Bauer, mbauer@racc.org. We are eager to hear what you think of the new site – good, bad or indifferent – and we will be happy to assist you if you’re having trouble finding something in particular. 


RACC accepting applications for Artist in Residence project with Portland Archives and Records Center

Pre-application tours in early September, application deadline September 28, 2015

PORTLAND, ORE — The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) in Portland, Oregon, invites artists living in the Portland metropolitan area and producing work in visual, performing, literary and/or media arts to submit qualifications for an artist-in-residence project at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center (PARC). This project is part of RACC’s public art residency program, Intersections.

This is the second in a series of residencies for PARC and the selected artist/team will be asked to explore records related to 82nd Avenue. For many years 82nd Avenue served as the eastern-most boundary for Portland, with portions annexed early in the 1900s and other areas annexed as late 1990. For some areas that are now part of the City, historic records do not exist in the City alwaysvaltrexonline.com Archive. The city has grown and expanded far beyond this area, and yet 82nd is still perceived by many as the boundary to East Portland. The artist/team will create work in any media that engages and/or is a result of working with the collections and staff at PARC.

The project budget is $15,000. The application deadline is Monday, September 28, 2015. To download the RFQ, click here. Pre-application tours of the PARC are encouraged and will occur on September 8 & 11; space is limited and reservations are needed. Send reservation request to intersections@racc.org with subject line “Visit Archives”.

Intersections residencies explore the “art of work” and the “work of art.” The program encourages artists in all disciplines to explore new working methods and develop socially engaging, interactive art experiences in community settings. 


Now available: RACC’s annual report for 2012

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) has released its annual report for 2012. The year in review, available online at, www.racc.org/2012annualreport includes highlights of last year’s activities in service to artists and arts organizations in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties.

Among the organization’s accomplishments in 2012:

RACC expanded the public art collection through murals, portable works purchases, large-scale projects, and more
The Right Brain Initiative expanded its arts integration services to 44 schools
Work for Art, a workplace giving program for the arts, raised a record sum: $823,693
More artists and arts organizations received grants than ever before
Voters approved a new $35 income tax to support arts education and access in Portland
Electronic copies (HTML or PDF) can be accessed at www.racc.org/2012annualreport. Hardcopies are also available upon request; contact RACC at 503-823-5111 or mbauer@racc.org.