SAVE the Date- November 6th Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study Results announced

Join us on Monday, November 6, 2023, for the Americans for the Arts- Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 6 ( AFTA-AEP6) Survey share out hosted by the Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of arts and culture as we present a dynamic showcase on the economic impact of this region’s creative endeavors, intricately woven into the broader state and national fabric.

Through data collected between 2022-2023 in the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 6 (AEP6), presented in partnership with Americans for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Regional Arts & Culture Council, Tualatin Valley Creates, and Clackamas County Art Alliance, witness the profound influence of the arts on local communities. Even amidst the challenges posed by COVID-19 and economic downturns, the arts have emerged as catalysts for economic revitalization, drawing people together and fueling local economies.

This event, designed for arts coordinators, tourism providers, economic development managers, creatives, elected officials, and more, promises enlightening insights and meaningful networking opportunities. Light refreshments, accessibility provisions, and engaging presentations await.

Mark your calendars and RSVP at https://AFTA_AEP6_PresentationForTriCountyRegion.eventbrite.com

For further information, contact our dedicated partners representing Oregon’s efforts in this collaborative initiative. Let’s celebrate the enduring power of the arts and their role in shaping our collective prosperity!

Date: November 6, 2023

Time: 5:30-7:30 pm

RSVP: Eventbrite link: https://AFTA_AEP6_PresentationForTriCountyRegion.eventbrite.com  

Location: Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street, Lake Oswego, Oregon  97034

Center Contact: Steve Knox, 503-635-3901, steve@lakewood-center.org


Event includes light refreshments. Parking on site, and public transit near by. Wheelchair accessible. Please inform coordinators no less than 5 days in advance if needing any special accommodations such as translation services or other. For questions about each of Oregon partner’s efforts in this initiative contact the following:

Americans for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission

Liora Sponko, Senior Program Manager, liora.sponko@biz.oregon.gov

Clackamas CountyClackamas County Art Alliance

Executive Director, Dianne Alves at dianne@clackamasartsalliance.org

Multnomah CountyRegional Arts & Culture Council

Manager of Advocacy & Engagement, Mario Mesquita at mmesquita@racc.org

Washington CountyTualatin Valley Creates

Executive Director, Raziah Roushan at 503-567-1713 or director@tvcreates.org

The Arts & Economic Prosperity Series (AEP) is organized by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) and has over a 25-year legacy. The AEP Series was first started in 1994 and is conducted roughly every 5 years to continuously capture the key role nonprofit arts and culture organizations and events play in the United States economy. To learn more about AFTA visit www.americansforthearts.org.

This event is intended for audiences including, but not limited to: arts and culture coordinators, tourism providers and coordinators, economic development managers, foundation and funding managers, business managers centered on hospitalities, individual creatives, elected officials, and municipal decision-makers.



From the Capital to the Community: Highlighting culture in arts Advocacy Day 2023


‍As an advocate for the arts, I firmly believe that art and culture has the power to change lives and transform communities. Art is not only a means of self-expression of culture, but is a tool for learning, connecting, and social change. However, despite its immense benefits, arts and culture often struggle to receive the support and funding they require.

This year, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) as part of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon (CACO) had the opportunity to attend the in-person Advocacy Day 2023 on April 19th in Salem, Oregon. Organized through CACO, arts and culture leaders from across Oregon had the opportunity to meet and discuss the importance for continued support and funding of arts and culture in Oregon; the impact of art in civic life and economic recovery; challenges, strategies, building a community, collaborating with local government.

Introduction to advocating for support and funding of arts and culture

Advocating for the arts is crucial as it helps to raise awareness of the importance of the arts in our communities. The arts play a significant role in shaping our cultural identity, providing a means of self-expression, and promoting social change. However, the arts often struggle to receive the support and funding they need, leading to a decline in access to quality arts programs for many communities. Therefore, advocating for support and funding of arts and culture is essential to ensure that everyone in the community has access to the arts.

RACC team members, Mario Mesquita, Manager of Advocacy & Engagement, Carol Tatch, Co-Executive Director Chief of External Operations, and Phil Barber, Philanthropic Engagement Specialist, visited Senator Elizabeth Steiner (District 17), Representative Rob Nosse (District 42), Senator James Manning Jr. (District 7), Senator Michael Dembrow (District 23), and Representative Maxine Dexter (District 33). We raised up and asked for their support on initiatives identified by our partner, the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon (CACO):

  1. We note that recovery for our sector is expected to be a 3- to 5-year process because of the prolonged nature of Oregon’s shutdown. We appreciate the legislature’s investment in the sector. We encourage your support of HB 2459, which would infuse $50M in recovery funding into revenues that threaten the viability of organizations across Oregon.
  2. Our organization supports HB 2498, which complements recovery efforts by addressing long -term funding of the sector. HB 2498 seeks to honor the original promise the Oregon legislature made to fund the Oregon Cultural Trust (OCT) with a one-time infusion of $200M in lottery bond funds.
  3. We also support an increase of $10M for grant making of the Oregon Arts Commission (OAC). Oregon is currently ranked 38th in the nation for per capita general fund support for the arts. This represents $0.49 per person. We urge policymakers to recognize the importance of our sector and move it into the top half of states at a minimum.
  4. Along with CACO, RACC also supports HB3532, which would replace the cap on OCT’s administrative costs with a percentage that will create the ability to apply up to 5% of the OCT’s permanent fund to staffing. This will better support the sector through additional technical assistance, OCT operations support, and other activities that encourage cultural activity. We are a fiscal sponsor for the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, so we are aware of the struggles this organization has due to the limits on tis administrative funds and inability to support any staff. We continue to support their efforts to be responsible equitable funders to cultural programming.

The impact of arts and culture in advocacy

Art has the power to bring people together, create awareness, and inspire change. Through art, individuals can express their emotions, experiences, and beliefs, which can help to create a sense of community and foster empathy. Art can also be used to advocate for social change by fostering learning, raising awareness of critical issues such as social justice, environmentalism, and mental health.

The Oregon Coast Art Bus ready in Salem to welcome everyone in person at Wilson Park next to the capital building. Image by Cultural Advocacy Coalition


The Oregon Coast Art Bus made an appearance in Salem during Advocacy Day accompanying live performances by the Portland Opera in their mobile stage, and even a live performance by Representative Nosse playing the guitar.

The Art Bus rolled into the event – wrapped in the vibrant and colorful Celebrate Oregon! artwork developed by the Oregon Cultural Trust. The artwork on the wrap, developed by artist Liza Mana Burns, explores the vibrant arts and culture of the state. The Oregon Coast Art Bus, a program of the Oregon Coast Council, launched in August 2022, is an example of art as learning-opportunity that eliminates transportation and cost barriers for youth. The hope is now to share the experience throughout the state, with youth who do not have regular access to hands-on art activities.

The gathered advocates explored the activities available on the bus which ranged from printmaking, rubbings, and stamping, all while learning about flora and fauna in and around Oregon. A prime example of putting the “A” back into “STEAM” curricula: science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The challenges of advocating for support and funding of arts and culture

Advocating for the arts can be challenging especially when we face budget cuts from our local cities and counties; communities facing recovery and access, and inadequate services. Many legislators  have a hard time recognizing the value of the arts or understanding how they can benefit from them if they have not experienced first hand the impact of the arts and culture in their lives. Therefore, it is crucial to raise our voices, create platforms, and educate others on the importance of the arts and their impact on our communities and our economies.

You can check out more on RACCs Advocacy Hub.

Strategies for advocating for support and funding of arts and culture

There are several strategies that individuals and organizations can use to advocate for support and funding of arts and culture. One effective strategy is to collaborate with local government officials and organizations to ensure that the arts are included in community planning and development. Another strategy is to showcase the impact of the arts by highlighting success stories and the positive outcomes of arts programs.

Currently, RACC serves as lead in partnership with Americans for the Arts (AFTA) in Multnomah county the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6th study (AEP6). The study documents the economic contributions of the arts in over 250 diverse communities and regions across the country, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. During 2015, AEP5 in Oregon found that the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $687 million of economic activity—$364 million in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $323 million in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This activity supported 22,299 full time equivalent jobs and generated $53 million in revenue to local and state governments.

The study put to rest a misconception that communities supported arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, what AEP5 showed was that communities were investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism. This economic impact study sent a strong signal that when we support the arts, we not only enhance our quality of life, but we also invest in the Greater Portland Area’s economic well-being, including Clackamas and Washington Counties.

Building a community around arts and culture advocacy

Finally, building a strong community around art advocacy can help to create a united front and amplify the message of the importance of the arts. Building a community around art advocacy is crucial to creating a sustainable advocacy movement. This can be achieved by organizing events, such as Advocacy Day, and activities that bring people together, and getting involved with your local and state level organizations, like the newly formed Oregon Arts and Culture Caucus. Membership  stands at 23 and makes this group one of Oregon’s largest bipartisan caucuses.

As noted in the Oregon Cultural Trusts blog: “The interest in this Caucus, and its rapid growth, just show how much people value the arts and culture organizations in Oregon and how important it is that we support this sector,” said Rep. Nosse (D-Portland), Caucus coordinator.

The Arts and Culture Caucus was formed in recognition of the vital role arts and culture play in the livability and prosperity of Oregon communities – and in enriching the lives of Oregonians. Formation of the Caucus was led by the Oregon Arts Commission.

Inaugural members of the Caucus include Sen. Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City); Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas); Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland); Rep. David Gomberg (D-Otis); Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena); Rep. John Lively (D-Springfield); Rep. Pam Marsh (D-Ashland); Caucus Coordinator Rep. Nosse (D-Portland); and Sen. Deb Patterson (D-Salem).

The Caucus serves as a resource to the Oregon Legislature on key issues impacting the arts and culture sector. Its members work closely with stakeholders including the Oregon Arts Commission, the Oregon Cultural Trust (and its Statewide Partners) and the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon to stay informed on the latest research and issues. It also sets the agenda on priorities for arts and culture legislation, including a sustainable and robust funding mechanism for arts and cultural initiatives.

~Mario Mesquita, Manager of Advocacy and Engagement




Join RACC on Advocacy Day-Wednesday, April 19, 2023!

Picture of a brightly colored bus with images from across the state of OregonJoin RACC, arts and cultural leaders, and supporters from across Oregon to unite our voices, align our priorities, and remind our elected officials that the pandemic-related hardships felt throughout our creative sector are not going away anytime soon. When it comes to policy, we believe we are most effective when we are unified. We are strongest when we work together. You are an important part of this work to ensure that arts and culture continue to thrive in Oregon.

Register now 

We know you are doing an incredible amount of work to keep your organizations afloat. Your time at a premium. It can be bewildering to navigate the internal workings of Salem.

NOW is the time to schedule meetings (generally 15 minutes long) with your local legislators for the afternoon of Advocacy Day on Wednesday, April 19!

This year’s legislative priorities include HB 2459, HB 2498, HB 3532, CACO’s CREF capital projects, and an increase in the Oregon Arts Commission’s grant budget.

Advocacy Day is a hybrid event again this year.

  • Our morning session will be held via Zoom, featuring more in-depth information and advocacy training to prepare you to meet with legislators in the afternoon.
  • Several CACO members will be present in Salem for in-person meetings in the afternoon, but because of renovations at the Capitol, we are unable to invite our full membership to gather there in person.
  • Please plan to attend Advocacy Day as best fits your needs and schedule – either meeting with your elected officials in person or virtually in the afternoon on Wednesday, April 19, following your attendance at our virtual morning session.

Most legislators are doing the bulk of their meeting scheduling via email, regardless of meeting virtually or in person. NOW is the time to get these meetings on the calendar for Wednesday, April 19. Here is a helpful email template:

[Greeting Rep. /Sen.]

I hope [Friday] finds you well. I serve as the [insert title and organization and mention if you are in their district]. We [include information about your organization, who you serve, etc.]. I will be participating in the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon’s Advocacy Day, and I am reaching out to request a meeting in the afternoon of April 19 to discuss [e.g., your CREF project, priorities for the arts and culture sector before the legislature for consideration this session]. Please let me know if there is a time that will work best for the [Rep. /Sen.] on Wednesday, April 19. Thank you!

In the meantime, here is a quick preview of our legislative session priorities.

For more information on how RACC is involved please, reach out to Mario Mesquita, Manager of Advocacy and Engagement.

(information provided by the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon)

RACC’s 2022 Legislative Priorities

Regional Arts & Culture Council 2022 Legislative Priorities

2022 State Legislative Priorities – Adapted from the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon

The Regional Arts & Culture Council’s (RACC) mission is to enrich our communities through arts and Culture. We envision a thriving region, powered by creativity, with arts and culture in every neighborhood. To do this, RACC promotes equity, diversity, inclusion and access and uses a racial equity lens to advocate for the equitable distribution of resources and the creation of public policies that will provide support for the arts ecosystem now and into the future.

This year, we are reminded that the history that we are looking to make is not for us, it is for the leaders who come after us. How we work together during our time here—both with our Team and our community, will determine how our region responds to crises in the future.

The opportunity to continue supporting our creatives and artists is paramount. RACC is leaning deeply into this space to ensure that they are supported and held during this unprecedented moment in history. We are here to ensure that they are here today, and tomorrow, enriching their communities through art and culture.

2021 was  a crucial legislative year for Oregon’s vital cultural sector. We urged our state policymakers to prioritize arts, culture, heritage, and the humanities in order to encourage creativity, contribute to Oregon’s economic recovery and rebuild community. As we look to this season’s short legislative session, we continue to urge policymakers to Invest in Oregon’s creative and cultural life, supporting Oregonians’ values, promoting whole person health, strengthening communities, and attracting and retaining workers in an innovative and yet thriving economy.

This is an historic year for arts and cultural funding across the nation. We are proud that Oregon is joining in these efforts to provide advocacy and relief, and to elevate our creative economy. Here are legislative initiatives that RACC supports and is keeping on eye on during this season. Let’s shape an arts and culture environment that serves for the common good of all.

– Carol Tatch (Chief of External Operations) and Della Rae (Chief of Internal Operations)


The Arts Education for All Act-HB 5581 – will support and encourage arts education and programming for our young children, K-12 students, and youth and adults impacted by the justice system.

RACC supports and will continue to monitor the Arts Education for All Act for funding impacts in the arts in our local school districts and incarcerated youth and adults. A one-page summary of the Arts Education for All Act can be found here. The text of the legislation can be found here. To endorse, click here.


Introduced on August 13th in the House of Representatives by U.S. Reps Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) and Jay Obernolte (R-CA), the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA)-HR 5019, and endorsed by Oregon Congresswoman Bonamici, will help communities recover through creative jobs.

The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) is a $300 million dollar program that will mitigate creative worker displacement, stimulate local creative workforce growth, strengthen connections for local creative small businesses and networks, create a pipeline for new creative jobs, enrich communities, increase access to culture, and invest in creative workers and local economies harmed by COVID-19.  To read more and endorse CERA, click here.


Oregon HB 4040 – Effective July 1, would appropriate money to the Oregon Business Development Department to develop and implement a program to award grants to Oregon cultural organizations in response to the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on organizations’ earned revenue. The text of legislation can be found here.



Ensuring American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding allocated in 2021 is distributed quickly to the arts and culture sector 

  • The Oregon legislature allocated $50M in APRA funding to be distributed: 
    • $5M for movie theaters (anticipated Jan. 2022) 
    • $30M for “live venues” (anticipated Feb./March 2022) 
    • $15M for live venue support (anticipated in March/April 2022) 
  • RACC will continue to monitor and support Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon’s (CACO) work with Business Oregon and legislative leaders to support progress and distribution of funds through these programs. 

Advocating for additional funding support to the sector 

  • According to data from Americans for the Arts, Oregon’s art sector has lost an estimated $66M, with over 70% of entities expecting a “severe financial impact.” 
  • RACC supports CACO request of an additional $50M in funds to support the long-term recovery of the sector, including recruitment of staff, reopening, additional costs to put on productions, etc. 


Americans for the Arts surveyed arts organizations and agencies of all types, genres, sices, and tax statuses for nearly a year to capture the human and financial impact of the coronavirus on America’s art sector.”

  • 905 organizations participated in the survey
    • $66,029,425 in financial loss
    • $21,00 was the median loss
    • 13% are not confident of their survival
    • 71% expect sever financial impact
  • 369 organizations were included in the Financial Data (Outliers and nul responses were removed prior to reporting)
    • The median loss was $22,000

Supporting the renewal of special assessments for historic preservation 

  • History can be found in our people, museums, art, and even our buildings. RACC supports local and state initiatives ensuring the access and interest for all Oregonians in preserving the humanities through a variety of programs.