What is the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA)? Why Do We Need It?

The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) will help communities recover by putting creative workers to work across the country—if it becomes law!

“Creative workers have been some of the most severely impacted by the COVID pandemic. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, 63% of creative workers experienced unemployment, translating to over 2 million Americans. The creative economy is essential to the U.S. economy. Our country exports art, music, and film to the entire globe…. Since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. has lost an estimated $15.2 billion in the arts and cultural sector alone. Just as important as these livelihoods, is the well-being of the communities they serve. The pandemic has not only affected individuals and families, but eroded our social fabric as people were unable to gather, to mourn, and celebrate together, to support each other and their communities in person.”
– Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández

On September 28th, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) led a group of his colleagues in introducing the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA). U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) are co-sponsors of the legislation. In August, U.S. Reps Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) and Jay Obernolte (R-CA), introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 5019. Read the press release.

In September, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution in support of the Creative Economy Revitalization Act. More than 175 organizations endorsed the legislation, including the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon, Tualatin Valley Creates, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council to name a few locally.

To rebuild and reimagine our communities, Oregon, and the nation, must put creative workers to work.
Pledge YOUR support for creative workers here by contacting your legislator today!

Oregon’s Creative Economy is Big Business
The creative economy is big business in Oregon. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis, the creative sector is among the most heavily impacted nationally and locally. Direct investments in the arts will not only improve the health and recovery of our communities, but the broader economy as well – boosting tourism, travel, and spending at hotels, local businesses, and restaurants.

Teal blue square. Black lettering reads creative workers in Oregon. 69,549

$9.1 billion Generated in Oregon by the creative economy.
3.6% Percent of Oregon’s annual economic output from the creative economy.
11,606 Creative businesses in Oregon.
69,549 Creative workers in Oregon.


Bright orange square with black letters reads lost revenue for creative economy businesses in Oregon in 2020. Black numbers $1.6 BILLION

$1.6 billion Lost revenue for creative economy businesses in 2020 in Oregon (est).
70% Oregon creative businesses were severely impacted.
43,332 (64% unemployed) Creative workers made unemployed in Oregon.
$1.1 billion Total loss of revenue for creative workers in Oregon in 2020 (est).
$15,069 (a 40% loss/person) Average loss of creative revenue per creative workers in Oregon in 2020.
63% Creatives in Oregon now have no savings.

*Source – Americans for the Arts

How CERA works
The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) will create a workforce grant program within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, putting creative workers back into jobs.  The Department of Labor, in coordination with the National Endowment for the Arts, will administer the grants to eligible government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. Priority will go to creative workers who became unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Creative Economy Revitalization Act will require that grantees create art that is publicly accessible to the entire community such as free concert series, large-scale murals, photography exhibits, published stories, or dance performances. It is modeled on the WPA Federal Project One which hired creatives across the country as the U.S. recovered from the Great Depression.

To rebuild and reimagine our communities, Oregon, and the nation, must put creative workers to work.
Pledge YOUR support for creative workers here by contacting your legislator today!




RACC Board of Directors Confirm Statues Should Not Be Returned

RACC Team and Public Art Committee to outline next steps for community review process

Today the Regional Arts & Culture Council Board of Directors endorsed a recommendation that toppled and removed monuments not be returned to their previous location and to inform City officials of this recommendation. The recommendation not to return statues to their previous location does not mean that works will be permanently removed from the City of Portland’s public collection. The statues include: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt: Rough Rider, Harvey Scott, and Promised Land. City officials have decided that Elk will return to downtown Portland.

RACC’s Public Art Committee (PAC) made the recommendation not to return the five statues to their previous locations. The committee oversees and guides Public Art Program policies for the selection, placement, and maintenance of works of art acquired through the Percent for Art Program and other public/private programs RACC manages. The committee is made up of artists, art administrators, and community stakeholders. The PAC recommendation is consistent with recent action by the Portland City Council recommending new public art representing more diverse cultural identities and histories for the South Park Blocks. The George Washington statue cannot be returned to its former site as that site is privately owned and the owners do not wish to have it in that location anymore.

The recommendation not to return these statues to their previous locations raises the question of what happens next. Should the monuments be assigned a new home? Should all of them remain in the public collection? According to RACC’s Public Art Program policies, consideration of these questions requires meaningful community engagement. The Board directed the RACC team and PAC to come back to them at a meeting in October with a process for engaging stakeholders in a conversation about what happens next with each statue.

How can the community get involved?
Community engagement and stakeholder input are part of the process. Follow this link to provide input. Sign up for RACC’s online newsletter to be notified of future engagement opportunities at www.racc.org/about/newsletter/

Public Art Program Background
The Public Art Committee, in consultation with city leadership, reviewed the Public Art Program policies and criteria as they relate to donation and deaccession of memorials, monuments, and statues. The PAC updated those policies to align with RACC’s mission, vision, and values and the City’s value of antiracism. The updated policy states that public artworks can be removed if the “subject or impact of an artwork is significantly at odds with values of antiracism, equity, inclusion.” They also expanded circumstances that can lead to the removal of a piece of artwork, if it becomes a rallying place for “gatherings centered on racist or bigoted ideology.” RACC’s board endorsed the policy changes in May 2021.


An independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, we support greater Portland’s creative economy by providing equitable funding and services to artists and art organizations; managing and growing our diverse, nationally acclaimed public art program; and developing long-lasting public and private partnerships. For more information visit racc.org

Heather Nelson Kent
Communications Manager, Regional Arts & Culture Council

Next steps for toppled and removed monuments – FAQ

Updated following RACC Board Action 9/29/2021

What is the status of statues that were removed or toppled in 2020 protests?
The statues from the City of Portland’s public art collection are secured in a temporary storage facility. This includes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt: Rough Rider, Harvey Scott, Promised Land and Elk.

Will these statues be returned to their former locations?
RACC’s Public Art Committee (PAC) oversees and guides Public Art Program policies for the selection, placement, and maintenance of works of art acquired through the Percent for Art Program and other public/private programs RACC manages. On Wednesday, Sept. 29 the RACC Board endorsed the Public Art Committee’s recommendation not to return these statues to their previous locations (excluding the Elk) and to notify City officials of the recommendation. The recommendation is consistent with recent action by the Portland City Council recommending new public art representing more diverse cultural identities and histories for the South Park Blocks. The George Washington statue will not return to its former site as that site is privately owned and the owners do not wish to have it in that location anymore.

What happens next?
RACC’s recommendation to the City Council sets in motion a process for considering next steps. Should the monuments be assigned a new home? Should all of them remain in the public collection? According to RACC’s Public Art Program policies, consideration of these questions requires meaningful community engagement. Each of these statues has its own unique story and engagement may vary depending on the stakeholders.

What about the Elk statue?
City officials have determined separately that the Elk will return to downtown Portland. The project details, budget and timeline are being developed.

RACC’s Public Art Committee revised policies regarding the donation and removal (deaccession) of art from the public collection. What were the major changes?
The committee, in consultation with city leadership, reviewed the Public Art Program policies and criteria as they relate to donation and deaccession (removal) of memorials, monuments, and statues. The PAC updated those policies to align with RACC’s mission, vision, and values and the City’s value of antiracism. The updated policy states that public artworks can be removed if the “subject or impact of an artwork is significantly at odds with values of antiracism, equity, inclusion.” They also expanded circumstances that can lead to the removal of a piece of artwork, if it becomes a rallying place for “gatherings centered on racist or bigoted ideology.” RACC’s board endorsed these changes in May 2021.

What happens to a statue if a determination is made to remove it from the public art collection?
If a decision is made to “deaccession” an artwork (remove it from the collection), it could be traded or sold, returned to the donors, recycled or destroyed.

How can the community get involved?
Community engagement and stakeholder input is required as part of the process. Follow this link to be notified of engagement opportunities and provide input.

Here and There – Three Conversations with Mural Artists

We are thrilled to introduce HERE AND THERE, a new series of conversations between Portland-area muralists and muralists working outside of our region. This three-part series, unfolding monthly through  October, hopes to serve as both a professional development opportunity for aspiring and working muralists and a point of connection for our communities to relate more fully with the art that surrounds us. Join us to listen, ask questions, and learn!

Check out the second in our fall series of conversations between Portland-area muralists and muralists working outside of our region. Next up, a virtual conversation between local muralist Alex Chiu and Brooklyn, NY artist Katie Yamasaki. Join us to listen, ask questions, and learn!

Thursday, Sept. 23, 6 p.m. Free of charge.
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/here-and-there-a-mural-conversation-series-alex-chiu-and-katie-yamasaki-tickets-169675942311

How are artists today helping us understand our place in time? Kyra Watkins and Cece Carpio explored this question, and others, along with our Public Art Senior Specialist Salvador Mayoral IV in the first our series on August 27. You can hear more from these two artists – one from “Here” and the other “There” – by watching the video recording. Here’s a link to the full video: https://youtu.be/c9uSGdWYIK8 

Watkins, who is based here in Portland, plainly shares her point of view. “As artists we are historians,” she says. “We capture the moment. We canonize what’s happening in time. There’s the text but there’s also the visuals and we’re in charge of setting that.” Follow Kyra Watkins @hernamewaskyra.

Self-described “visual storyteller” Cece Carpi, who is based in Oakland, CA explains why she focuses on “everyday people” in her work. “We are worth the attention,” she says. “Our stories are magic.” Follow Cece Carpio @cececarpio.


Our three-part series wraps up in October. It’s an opportunity to hear from working muralists and connect with our communities. Learn about their practices and the role of artists and artmaking in a time of change.

October 21, 6 p.m. Watch for sign up details.


September – December Edition Newsletter 2021

Welcome to the first edition of our new K-12 Arts Educators newsletter, #newsforyourheart. As we work to reconnect and engage with this brave new world, we know it will take time, it will be painful, it will be hard, but we will also find joy, hope, and love. I hope that this newsletter will illuminate some of the work we are doing at RACC, direct you to opportunities, professional development and resources. You’ll find features about our district arts educators and arts partners. With your help we can showcase student work from our six districts. Spread some joy! Please share #newsforyourheart with your colleagues and students!

Chanda Evans (she/her), Arts Education Program Specialist

Features & Highlights


Arts Education and Access Fund New Logo

Vincente, Rose Waterfall, logo design 2021

During the Spring of 2021, RACC and the Arts Education and Access Fund (AEAF) Oversight Committee unveiled our new student re-designed AEAF Logo. We encourage you to help guide the process of having your school proudly display this on their websites. As we work to reframe the narrative around arts funding in schools, we know that this is a small step in letting our neighbors, family, and friends know their yearly $35 payment is worth it. It goes to arts education! We thank you. To learn more about how funds from the Arts Education and Access Fund are used to support students and increase access to arts and culture in our community, click here.

All of the AEAF Oversight Committee meetings are open to the public. For more information click here.





Two Questions for AEAF Oversight
Committee Chair,
 Laura Streib (she/her).

What is your favorite memory around the arts? My favorite elementary arts memory is in my 3rd-grade class. Our teacher had us do a project where we dipped yarn into various palettes of tempera paint, and then we curled them onto a large piece of black construction paper and then fling/pull it back to create these amazing abstract painted flowers. Now, my adult self is blown away that she had a class of 30 nine-year-olds flinging yarn with paint on it around her classroom! But it was very memorable and fun!

Laura Strieb smiles at the camera. She is wearing a long necklace and blue blouse.

Laura Streib

What made you choose the arts as a career? Growing up within a public school system that was so supportive of the arts and music helped guide me into a career in the arts. By the time I was in high school, half of my school day was filled with arts-focused classes from symphonic band and concert choir to photography. This is why I was motivated daily to go to school, where I developed community, connected, and built life-long friendships. I founded an arts education nonprofit in Portland to help support educators and ensure that kids have an opportunity and access to build a community and have a creative space to flourish. Until our Portland Metro schools have that opportunity for kids to have continuous K-12 arts pathways – that is where I will continue to pour my efforts. Kids deserve to have a robust arts education as part of their K-12 educational experience.

Laura is at aeafpdx@gmail.com





Since 2010, RACC has had a unique partnership and relationship with the Kennedy Center, which brings several programs into the fold of Arts Education: Any Given Child and the Partnership for Education. In 2018 RACC was one of nine sites across the United States selected to participate in a 3-year pilot program to launch artlook®. Through this relationship with the Kennedy Center and Chicago-based developer Ingenuity, artlook® provides communities with an arts-based interactive mapping database platform. This allows school districts to understand their local arts and culture landscape and create more equitable and accessible arts and culture education opportunities for all students. School districts, educators, families, and the community can navigate arts and culture education opportunities in their region. One of RACC’s goals in arts education is to expand to other school districts and create robust arts and cultural partnerships across Oregon as they join the artlook® platform.




Arts Education Resources 

A comprehensive curated resource list from RACC’s Arts Education Program is available for download. Click here 

Back-to-school resources on social emotional learning and trauma can be found here. This information is from Trauma Informed Oregon.

Colorful textile art with day of the dead imagery.

Orquidia Violeta, Árbol de la Vida, 2020


Professional Development: Trauma Informed Care Workshop Series
In partnership with Trauma Informed Oregon, RACC presents a series of workshops for arts educators. Please join us for our second workshop October 8. This free event will be held remotely, as we continue to center health and safety for all. Look for our Eventbrite invitation in your inbox coming soon.




The Beat: Interviews from the Field


Jessica Juday (she/her), Music Educator from West Powellhurst Elementary School, David Douglas School District

What inspires you when you teach arts education to your students?

I believe that children are inherently joyful. When I see them have fun, I am always inspired to find new ways to teach. They love experiencing new things and they are so easily swayed by excitement. Teaching music at the elementary level is so much more than reading rhythm and singing songs…. It’s about creating a love of music and sharing joy with those around you. Every day I get to watch children discover new things, and they do it with such thought and care… it’s hard to not be inspired!

Jessica Juday looks directly at the camera. She has long, curling brown hair and wears a black hat.

Jessica Juday

What have you learned from your students?

I have learned that there is something out there for everyone! Some students may never truly love singing, but they excel at the recorder. Other students who struggle at playing the marimba end up being incredible at rhythm dictations. I even have students who say music isn’t their thing…but they are SO excited to help design the set for our musicals. Working with students from all over the world has taught me that music is just ONE beautiful part of what makes us human! I teach music to teach the whole child, not just the musical parts!

What brings you joy when you teach? 

The children! Being able to watch a student go from struggling to understanding is an incredible thing. I love watching a student develop their skills from just reading rhythm all the way to composing their own song. Every tough part of my job is worth it when I see how proud students are of themselves when they learn a new skill or get better at an old skill. They are always so excited! One of my favorite times during the year is showing Kindergartners the moment in “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy opens the door, and the film goes from black and white to color… They gasp with wonder, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.




Mrs. Langston (she/her), Music Educator from Prescott Elementary School, Parkrose School District

What inspires you when you teach arts education to your students?

Inspiration comes from many sources. The students themselves are the most inspiring part of teaching music in schools. Their enthusiasm, engagement, and inquiry for all things musical lifts and carries me through the years. Other inspiration comes from the music I teach…is it of the highest quality? Does it nurture the musical mind? Does it connect us and help us better understand ourselves and the world we live in? Does it endure? High-quality professional development is another source of inspiration. I relish the times when World Music Drumming and Hot Marimba are in town! I also keep an ear to the airwaves and find inspiration in current music-making by all types of artists. Knowing who I teach is yet another way I find inspiration. Who are these people? What are their backgrounds (culture, class, race)? What impedes their access to education? What supports them? What do they want to learn? Ideally, I use all this information to develop tuneful, beautiful, artful humans.

What have you learned from your students?

Bright blue eyes shine out of the smiling face of Mrs. Langston

Mrs. Langston

Flexibility. Let me state that again…FLEXIBILITY. Gone are the days of a meticulously planned lesson with no time or space for anyone or anything that was not anticipated in advance. Don’t get me wrong, I still plan! I plan and prep and practice and plan some more. Then, children enter the room and things shift really shift. What I have learned is to grab onto those shifts and use them to accomplish the same goal. Let the kids drive! My role is to facilitate and guide; going deeper is better than going wider. What’s the rush? Let’s explore together!

What brings you joy when you teach?

Time with students is most joyful for me. When I watch and listen to students who are genuinely struggling to master a skill or concept and then…they get it. I love seeing/hearing others as they break through and gain a level. When there is a room full of 8-year-olds playing drums, and marimbas and we’ve been working on sticking the ending and then…we achieve a perfect cutoff. I love seeing the effect of community and non-verbal communication on young musicians. When we’ve slogged through a particularly difficult piece of music for far too long and then…a child asks “why are we working so hard?” I love helping develop critical thinking in children. When we are invited to perform on our high school stage and these adorably small people are freaking out because they are now “big time” and then…they sing and play so well they get a true standing ovation. I love helping children achieve performance success. Every day I get to work with children, I am filled with joy!


A street mural with whimsical robotic characters in front of a bike rack.

Gary Hirsch, Questions for Humans, 2015

What brings YOU joy?

We would love for you to share your thoughts with this question.



A collage made from newspaper pieces show a group of people holding signs of protest

Hampton Rodriguez, Protests in Portland, 2020

Student Art Showcase

Call for student work to be featured in our Winter edition. Student work will be chosen randomly by district submission.

Please submit student artwork to cevans@racc.org by Dec. 1 for consideration.



 More Interviews from the Field

Featured Arts Organization

 The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) The mission of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is to provide affordable access to space, tools, and resources for creating independently published media and artwork, and to build community and identity through the creation of written and visual art.

An interview with Alley Pezanoski-Browne (she/they), Executive Director of IPRC. 

When youth participate at IPRC, what do you want them to take away from their experiences?

A group of young art students hold up their colorful prints.

Photo courtesy of IPRC

We want youth to know the history of printmaking and zines as tools for sharing community stories and highlighting historically excluded voices. We also want them to learn that art making & writing are about experimentation, problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaboration. Most of all, we take them seriously as artists, so we give them opportunities to teach what they’ve learned from others (most often their peers or their parents) as well as make art with their instructors and fellow students. We teach them the tools, but we want them to bring their own ideas and originality to making art that will mean something special to each of them. We hope that they will develop a life-long interest in art making and for experiential learning.

How can schools help encourage students to include media in the arts?

I think that a really unique part of printmaking is that, because it’s meant for easy reproduction, it’s meant to be shared. I think that school can help students to include media in the arts by really emphasizing the social  communications element. It is very common in IPRC classes for youth to trade prints and zines. It helps students to be less perfection-minded and to recognize the value in their voices. They also think about how they communicate their thoughts to the world when they know it is made to be shared.

When you think of art, what inspires you? 

I get really inspired by people who make art together in order to change the world they are living in, which is why I admire projects like the Living School of Art, KSMOCA or SHED.PDX. 




Public Art & Arts Education: Featured Artist, Laura Camila Medina

By Morgan Ritter (she/her), RACC Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator

Image from video shows hands on a blue plate holding a clay figure of a person

Laura Camila Medina, Consuming a Past Self, 2020

What comes to mind when you think of “Public Art”? Maybe a stoic, bronze monument of George Washington or another political figure we may have learned about in U.S. History classes, or a sanctioned street mural. Maybe Public Art for you is a mere landmark that tells you what street to turn on to find your way. Public Art can be so much more than these common perceptionsit can build worlds. It can gesture towards untold histories, bridge communities, and remind individuals of all ages that our imaginations enhance our quality of life.

At RACC, the Public Art Team avidly works to directly support a wide range of artists in the region, including both established and emerging artists. This includes artists who have wildly different approaches to what art can be including artists working in traditional, craft-based practices, or fine art, as well as artists who work experimentally at the nexus of multiple genres.

As the Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator, a crucial part of my job is engaging directly with local artists and helping RACC to imagine new opportunities for their radical creativity to be supported. One of the new initiatives I manage is Support Beam. Support Beam’s intent is to strengthen artists’ long-term creative practices and overall livelihood, by giving them money to continue making their work, without a fixed expectation of art production or media restrictions. At the end of their work periods, one piece of art is acquired from these artists into the collection. This initiative prioritizes Black, Indigenous, artists of color and emerging artists. Artists were funded between $3-$5,000 each.

Laura Camila Medina, Consuming a Past Self, 2020

Laura Camila Medina is one of the phenomenal, emerging artists that we recently funded through Support Beam. Laura’s practice is based around memory and identity as a response to personal, cultural, and historical research. Her work utilizes a unique combination of traditional mediums within digitally constructed spaces to create immersive visual analogies of cultural hybridity. Medina engages in a practice of self-reflection as a means to create a personal mythology. This mythology brings her closer to building her own world, both real and imaginary, where her identity becomes whole.

“Consuming a Past Self” is the piece she made through the Support Beam initiative, and is now part of the Public Art Collection. It is a hybrid video that combines painted collage, stop-motion animation, and performance.

The following writing is included alongside her video:

Consuming my past self is
Accepting my past self
It is processing my past self
It is digesting my past self
In order to nourish my
Future self

Laura explained that when she eats arepas (a food made from ground maize dough, originating from pre-Columbian South America), she has a memory of sitting in her grandmother’s dining room, looking at the reproduction of a painting that had drastically different colors than it did when it was new, with faded pinks. She remembers the flavor of the arepas combined with her grandmother’s milky coffee while looking at this faded painting. In this memory now, she contemplates the truth that everything ages, and aspires to recreate that taste memory.

Click here to view Laura’s video alongside other artists who participated in Support Beam.

Learn more about the other Support Beam artists on Instagram through the virtual posts #raccsupportbeam 

Laura Camila Medina (b. 1995) is an interdisciplinary artist born in Bogotá, Colombia. Her immersive installations and animated collage work have been exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, PLANETA New York, Fuller Rosen Gallery, Wieden+Kennedy, the Portland Art Museum, and with the Nat Turner Project. She was at Open Signal, Artist in Residence at the Living School of Art, IPRC Artists & Writers in Residence Program, ACRE Residency, and most recently the Centrum Emerging Artist Residency. She earned her BFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is currently based in Portland, OR. Learn more about Laura’s work here: https://lauracamilamedina.com/

For a database of public art in the Portland region, click here.


Workshops • Events • Lectures*  

Sign-up for alerts about lectures, workshops, events, and conferences from local colleges and universities. Here are a few highlights:

Patricia Vázquez Gómez, Untitled 1, 2020

Latinx Heritage Month September/October, celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Teachers guide for Latinx Heritage Month (free).

Portland Latin American Festival, opening at the Hollywood Theatre  in person on the big silver screen. September 22, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Oregon Humanities is offering an online fall course of Humanity in Perspective (HIP), a free college-credit class and learning community for students 18 years or older in Oregon who face barriers to continuing their education. Learn more and apply.

Portland Metro Stem Partnership: Join a new Elementary STEAM Leaders cohort. 15 spots for teachers for the NEW 2021-2022 Cohort.  All partner districts elligible to apply, including: Banks School District, Beaverton School District, Forest Grove School District, Hillsboro School District and Portland Public Schools. Click here for more information.

Portland Open Studios October 9-17 (free).

Portland Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes and Hayrides, for local fall family-friendly activities and events.

Portland Film Festival Oct. 6-Nov. 8 (various venues).

Save the Dates!
The Kennedy Center National Partnerships Convening Feb. 7-8, 2022
Any Given Child Feb. 8-9, 2022 Partners in Education Annual Meeting – VIRTUAL

If you know of an event, workshop, lecture, or art exhibition that is coming up please go here to submit an opportunity.

*Please note: Some workshops/events/lectures might have changed due to COVID-19. Please check before you make plans.

The Scoop – Grow your Brain

We are often curious of what research is happening behind the scene in the space of arts education. Take a look!


Art for Life’s Sake: The Case for Arts Education 2021 report from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Americans for the Arts Logo Americans for the Arts COVID-19 July 2021
NEA - edjustice logo edjustice Click here for valuable resources


Thanks to all of our partners, supporters, and funders supporting arts education.

Capturing the Moment artist Luvjonez

Outraged by the senseless killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police, instrumental hip hop producer LuvJonez waged a 50-day Instagram campaign starting on July 19, 2020, to “shine a light” on an all-too-common story. Originally from Kentucky but now based in Portland, Luvjonez wanted to do something to bring more attention to Breonna Taylor’s case and keep her name in the public conversation.

Black and white photo of hiphop artist Luvjonez standing with arms folded.

Hiphop artist and producer Luvjonez

He collected all 50 tracks into this album, a collaboration with Devine Carama and others who contributed beats, shout-outs, voice memos, and more. “At first we were going to do it all on social media,” Luvjonez explained. “Just an Instagram campaign we would share, tagging folks – activists and others in Louisville to keep her visibility. We were going to do it every day until they read the verdict. But it was unsatisfactory so we just kept going.” One year later, this compilation still resonates as the wheels of justice slowly turn in the case of Breonna Taylor, and another unarmed black man was killed by police in June in Louisville.

When he saw RACC’s call for submissions “Capturing the Moment” was a perfect opportunity to create a time capsule of what had happened and what they had done as artists. “If people had missed the news of the world, they could put on a headphone and hear this,” he said.

Looking back on what’s happened since the project started nearly one year ago, Luvjonez reflected, “Sadly whether Portland or Kentucky it’s still relevant.” Today he sees the album as “a launching point for how we entered into the conversation” as he looks for new ways to address the ongoing instances where the killing of Black and brown people by police happens across the nation.

Front cover of album Squad. Image of rainbow-colored line drawings of a group of people..

Compilation album, Squad, released in July 2021

Luvjonez’s new album, Squad, is the result of the call he put out on social media in March 2020 when he was laid off from his job at Portland Center Stage due to the Coronavirus global pandemic shutdown. He reached out directly to friends to see if they wanted to collaborate while in quarantine and continued to stay active with other artists. “We kept each other company via Discord, Zoom, and Instagram, trading ideas and samples back and forth as often as possible,” he explained.

“I gathered enough material from friends and homies to make an entire compilation of these collaborations.” This compilation album gathers all of those elements into a single project and celebrates his coast-to-coast community of artists and creatives in the aftermath of 2020. “This entire project is a celebration of the people around me and a document of a time when the world shut us down but couldn’t shut us up.”

Regional Arts & Culture Council adds four new board members, elects officers

Four new members were approved to the Regional Arts & Culture Council Board of Directors and Nathan Rix became RACC’s new board chair on June 29, 2021. Rix succeeds Parker Lee who will serve as Chair Emeritus until June 30, 2022.

The Board also approved a new slate of officers to steward the organization including Vice-Chair Leslie Heilbrunn, and Treasurer David Wynde. Frances Portillo continues serving as Secretary.

Departing board members include past Chair Linda McGeady, Angela Hult, Alejandro Queral, and Raymond Cheung.

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


Debby Garman headshotDebby Garman

Debby Garman has years of proven success leading and growing nonprofit organizations and creating successful marketing strategies for businesses and nonprofit organizations. Now retired and keeping busy as a volunteer, Debby enjoyed a diverse career in bookselling, publishing, and nonprofit leadership. Her career includes multiple previous and current board and officer positions, as well as serving as Executive Director for Portland Revels, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon, and the Siletz Bay Music Festival. She is past Chair of the Hillsboro Arts and Culture Council and has done grant writing for Seeding Justice (previously MRG Foundation) and Portland Festival Symphony.

Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers




Headshot of smiling Swan PaikSwan Paik
Swan Paik is Nike’s Vice President of Women’s Innovation, driving Nike’s new products and experiences designed to empower women to realize their human potential through sport. Prior to this role, Swan led Nike’s Universal Ease initiative to serve athletes of all abilities with inclusive and universally designed FlyEase Innovations. She served on the Zappos Adaptive Advisory Council from 2018-2019 and is currently a Board Director for The Challenged Athletes Foundation.

During her 19-year tenure with Nike, Swan has held a variety of positions. She started in Nike’s Global Strategic Planning group working with Nike’s C-Suite of executives in setting the company’s long-term growth objectives and strategy.  She then headed up Strategic Planning for Asia Pacific, working with 11 country teams to bring Nike’s mission to life for the over 1 billion youth in that region.  She then went on to become the GM for Women’s Training in Asia Pacific, combining her passion for the region with her love of empowering girls and women to play sport.  And before her current position, she led the “Girl Effect”  social innovation portfolio for the Nike Foundation. The programs Swan and her team designed and funded impacted over 5 million girls and their families throughout the world and fueled a global movement to unleash the full potential of all girls living in poverty.

Before joining Nike, Swan worked at the National Football League, NBC Television, and Miramax Films.  She holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Columbia University.

Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Elizabeth Stock headshotElizabeth Stock

Elizabeth is a committed nonprofit leader serving as Executive Director of PDXWIT (PDX Women in Tech). Her work is centered on disrupting problematic systems in the technology industry to shape an equitable future for humanity. Through advocacy, mentorship, and scholarships, PDXWIT is advancing the careers of BIPOC, women, non-binary folks, and those traditionally underrepresented in tech.

Prior to her work at PDXWIT, Elizabeth produced and managed several large-scale art installations with Diversa Edu, a company that uses digital and physical art to tell stories of individuals and communities often left out of history books. Elizabeth also worked for nearly a decade in child welfare at Boys & Girls Aid across many departments including direct service, advancement, and community outreach. She continues to have a strong passion for supporting children in the foster care system, a population too often overlooked.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Oregon and a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University. She is passionate about Restorative Justice and applies restorative principles to all of her work. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and is a mom to two young boys.

Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Matt Watson
Creative Director and founder of Watson Creative, Matt Watson’s portfolio features some of the world’s top-tier firms, organizations, athletic teams, and cultural icons. He got started as a designer at Lippincott, an NYC-based global leader in brand design before moving back to Oregon and a 10-year run at Nike. Today, Matt enjoys running his own studio and participating as an active advisory board member for the School of Design at alma mater Oregon State University. He also teaches business and design courses at local Portland-area colleges and guest lectures at universities around the country.

A husband and father of a growing family, Matt can be found cheering and/or yelling at the Oregon State Beavers, hiking Northwest trails, restoring his 1923 home, or improving upon his well-established sneaker collection. Ask him about his favorite (for the moment).

Gender Pronouns: He/Him/His


Capturing the Moment artist – Michelle Fujii

Fourth-generation Japanese-American Michelle Fujii creates contemporary work centered in the Japanese art forms of taiko (drums) and folk dance. “The work I create is rooted in my cultural identity and lived experiences,” she explains. “It responds to current events, community conversations and societal issues. Being personal and authentic is the foundation of my work, investigating notions of identity, otherness, and home against an American landscape.”

Her submission, Sayonara Mata Ashita, debuted May 16, 2020. She explains, “Fifty-two people sang along that are a significant and inspirational part of our taiko lives – our mentors, our Unit Souzou taiko family, our Women & Taiko community connections, our Warabi-za family, our organizational partners. It was such a beautiful and overwhelming journey. As our communities face duress, self-isolation, social distancing, this song was written with the hope that the narrative of this time is not of more othering, but of more togetherness.”

Credits: Conceived and directed by Michelle Fujii in collaboration with Unit Souzou Ensemble – Ian Berve, Toru Watanabe, David Wells, Vicky Zhang. Special Thanks to: Amy Naylor – Video Editing, David Wells – Sound Editing, Michelle Fujii – Video Project Manager, Koto-Izumi Kuroki, Shakuhachi-Tsuyoshi Ozawa.


#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Asian, Black, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.