Art to Come

Figure 1: Let's look into our crystal ball, shall we?

Figure 2: The Crystal Ballroom, site of the Portland Jazz Orchestra's upcoming “Intricate Rhythms," one of 102 projects receiving funding for 2009.

While our friends at Art Scatter were shaking the money tree last Wednesday, the RACC Board was quietly approving record sums of grant funding for artistic projects in 2009. Now that artists and organizations have had time to receive their award letters (and rejections), I'm giddy to help announce the winners.

Actually, let me just link you to the full description of all projects that have received awards for the year ahead. This is one story that actually gets a fair amount of attention each year, as the media and bloggers have fun picking out the projects they are most excited to see. What's your favorite?

Two themes are especially noteworthy here, in my opinion. First, how many of these project grants would you guess are going to the "same old" groups vs. first-time winners? Would you believe 50-50? It's true.

Secondly, this is the most money ever awarded by RACC for project grants, and while the recipient artists and organizations have plenty to cheer about, I suspect it will trigger a few critical remarks from folks who think this a frivolous investment amidst serious economic woes. You'll notice that the press release was written to counter any such sentiment, but we as an arts community must be sure to respond swiftly and intelligently to any Letter to the Editor or other public document that ridicules these investments or calls for arts funding cuts. It's time to gear up for the spring budget cycle, and we have much work to do to maintain arts funding locally as well as renewing statewide arts funding, including the Oregon Cultural Trust, for the next biennium as well.

To arms!

1 comment:

Mead said...

It's encouraging to see theater so well-represented among this year's awardees. So often theater comes up short in multidiscipinary panel deliberations because (I think) so little of it can presented during the discussions. You can read poems, look at visual art, listen to music and so on, but any piece of theater worth its salt cannot be conveyed out of context.

Anyhow. A lot of exciting projects coming up, and I especially look forward to the pieces proposed by Devon Allen and Megan Ward.