Summer is a time when public funds -- and private donations generated by publicly-subsidized initiatives -- start flowing into the hands of our local arts organizations. The Oregon Arts Commission was first out of the gate, announcing $1.2 million in statewide grants on July 2.

Earlier this week, RACC announced $1.5 million worth of grants for arts organizations the Portland tri-county area -- which includes funds from local governments plus proceeds from last year's Work for Art campaign.

And I have just come from an event at the PCPA where Nick Fish, vice Chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust (and our newest arts-loving Portland City Commissioner) announced $1.6 million in grants for 59 arts organizations across the state. These grants are made possible because thousands of Oregonians made contributions to the Oregon Cultural Trust this past year in exchange for a tax credit (up to $500). Not a tax deduction, a tax credit. Great program!

Nick Fish (at podium) and representatives from the organizations receiving Oregon Cultural Trust grants this year.

Together, these funds provide vital working capital for our arts organizations as they set out to do all of their great work in the year ahead. Take Portland Center Stage for example: from these three sources PCS receives a combined $120,000 -- and that's no small chunk of change. The impacts are even more significant for a smaller organization like Write Around Portland, which received a combined $28,000 from these three sources this year. That's 15% of their budget! No doubt we are all in store for some great performances, exhibits, and other arts programs this year.

1 comment:

MightyToyCannon said...

Bravo for public support for the arts! Three cheers: one for RACC, one for OAC, and one for the Trust. Okay, RACC deserves two cheers since it is also responsible for Work for Art.

The public sector is one category of giving that has grown in recent years. Let's hope that strong advocacy will ensure that our elected officials don't waiver in their commitments to investing in culture.

My only frowny-face on this topic is that the Cultural Trust timed rejection letters to arrive the day after the big press conference. I found out who received grants (and who didn't) by reading the press release online, before letters started arriving on Saturday. Bad form, in my opinion. I would think some arts managers would have preferred breaking the bad news to their staff and board members before they read about it in the paper. Plus, they could have been invited to the press event to cheer on their successful colleagues.