THE EVOLUTION OF AN ARTS COUNCIL
Many of our readers may recall being part of the Portland metro area’s first cultural planning process, Arts Plan 2000, which led to the creation of the Regional Arts & Culture Council in 1995. Even in those early years, with a modest budget of $3 million, RACC’s grantmaking programs, public art projects, and technical assistance services played an important role in supporting the artists and creatives who helped forge our region’s identity as a center for creativity and innovation.
Since then, the tri-county population has grown by nearly half a million, and RACC’s programs and services have expanded as well. Thousands have participated in our workplace giving campaigns, which debuted in 2006, raising over $8.5 million to support our region’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations. In 2012, 62% of Portland voters approved the Arts Education & Access Income Tax, which now generates more than $7 million every year for grade schools to hire art and music teachers, and more than $3 million annually for RACC to expand people’s access to culture and the arts through grants. Nearly 30,000 K-8 students currently participate in RACC’s arts integration program, The Right Brain Initiative, and are scoring better on reading, math, and English tests than when we first began in 2008.
Each and every one of us at RACC is dedicated to celebrating and supporting the essential role of artists, arts organizations, and arts educators in our community, and we are working to ensure that every resident has access to culture and creative expression. We are bringing new voices to the table and expanding our commitment to historically underrepresented communities, with new programs like Fresh Paint, Art and Power, and our Capacity Building Initiative for culturally specific organizations. There is still much to do, including the need to unlock more resources for this important work, but we are well positioned to reach new heights with the arrival of our new Executive Director, Madison Cario, in January 2019.
As we prepare for a year of tremendous excitement and bold visioning under new leadership, we are grateful to all who have built RACC’s strong foundation and contributed to many noteworthy accomplishments in 2018. We hope you’ll take a few moments to reflect on these accomplishments in the form of this annual report, and for those who are eager to help us write the next chapter, we welcome your wisdom and your wishes, your questions and your concerns going forward. Please give us a call at 503-823-5258 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
From all of us at the Regional Arts & Culture Council, thank you for a remarkable 2018 and best wishes for a bright and bountiful New Year.
Jeff Hawthorne, Interim Executive Director
Linda McGeady, Board Chair