Our role at the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is to harness everyone’s creative energy and build a fully accessible, culturally diverse and financially sustainable arts community that serves everyone in the Portland metropolitan region.
This Year in Review communication is our opportunity to reflect on some of the success that we achieved together in pursuit of this goal. We hope you will be as proud as we are of what has been accomplished over the past twelve months — it was a year of celebration for RACC.
- 20 years ago we transitioned from the Metropolitan Arts Commission, a joint bureau of the City of Portland and Multnomah County, to a non-profit tri-county council. The reasons ranged from opportunities available to non-profit organizations and not easily to government, to wanting our entire region to be a hub of arts and culture.
- Portlandia turned 30. Nine people masquerading as our copper icon marched in the Starlight Parade with BodyVox. In October several hundred fans sang the birthday song to Portlandia led by city officials, Storm Large and 80 students from Chapman School. The Visual Chronicle of Portland — works on paper that interpret people, activities and places that make Portland distinctive — also marked its 30th year.
- And finally, to mark 35 years of the Percent for Art program, images selected from the public art collections were hung throughout City Hall and a festive, music-filled public reception was held to thank the hundreds of artists who have created public artworks and the panel members who chose them.
Now, we turn our focus to the 10th anniversary of Work for Art, our workplace giving program that raises around $750,000 annually for arts organizations from individuals, corporations, and the public/private matching fund. RACC has set an ambitious goal to raise $1 million for 2015-2016. We are working hard to meet that goal and to maintain a strong pace going forward.
We remain firmly committed to our equity and inclusion work so that every person in our region has access to arts and culture. Over the past year we have strengthened many existing relationships and built new ones, learned from invaluable trainings, created a new grants program specifically for organizations serving underserved populations, held grants and public art orientations across diverse communities, and provided resources to the arts organizations we fund to support their own equity work.
Highly diverse students and teachers throughout the region continue to absorb the integrated arts learning the Right Brain Initiative provides. We were in 59 schools last year and as successes around student improvement and teacher training mount up, momentum is building for future growth.
We remain constantly grateful to the citizens of Portland who approved the Arts Education and Access Fund. The “arts tax” has enabled Portland school districts to hire over 80 new certified music and art teachers thus serving all elementary students. Hopefully collections will improve going forward, which will enable RACC to support arts organizations more robustly and award many more access grants, as the ballot measure intended.
It has been a busy, challenging and rewarding year and we thank everyone who has helped us to keep thriving.
Eloise Damrosch Executive Director
Jan RobertsonChair, RACC Board of Directors