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2017 Oregon Arts Summit

Tony Kushner, the return of the Governor’s Arts Awards

to headline 2017 Oregon Arts Summit: “Creating Impact”

The important role of the arts in reflecting and defining society will be explored during the 2017 Oregon Arts Summit, “Creating Impact: Art and Civic Engagement,” scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Hilton Portland Downtown. Celebrating the Oregon Arts Commission’s 50th anniversary, the Arts Summit will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner and the return of the Governor’s Arts Awards after a 10-year hiatus. Scholarships are available. 
Tony Kushner
“Throughout history, art has reflected the most important social issues of its time,” says Arts Commission Chair Christopher Acebo, the associate artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

“It’s fitting that we celebrate the Arts Commission’s 50th Anniversary by examining the important connection between art and civic engagement, and we are thrilled to have Tony start the conversation.”

Nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” Kushner’s honors also include an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards and three Obies. In addition to his two-part epic, “Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” Kushner’s plays include “A Bright Room Called Day,” “Homebody/ Kabul” and the musical “Caroline, or Change.”

In a free 8 a.m. event preceding Arts Summit meetings, Governor Kate Brown will present 2017 Oregon Governor’s Arts Awards to two artists and three organizations as recipients of the 2017 Governor’s Arts Awards. Portland artist Arvie Smith and Yoncalla artist Esther Stutzman will be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Organization honorees include Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, Portland Opera and The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.
Other featured speakers for the 2017 Arts Summit include slam-poet and musician Mic Crenshaw, Oregon Symphony Music Director Carlos Kalmar and Randy Cohen of Americans for the Arts, speaking on the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study. Scheduled performances include Poet Laureate Elizabeth Woody, jazz artist Darrell Grant, singer Edna Vazquez, BRAVO Youth Orchestras and the PHAME Choir-with special guest Excellence in Theatre Education Tony Award-winning teacher Rachel Harry. Breakout sessions will focus on equity, economic impact, education and creativity.
Hosted by the Oregon Arts Commission, the Arts Summit is a forum of learning and shared resources for arts organizations, arts associations, elected officials, individual artists and arts professionals from around the state. The 2017 Oregon Arts Summit is funded in part by The Oregon Community Foundation, The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer Care Foundation. Kushner’s appearance was made possible by the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer Care Foundation.
Registration for the Oregon Arts Summit is $95. Scholarships are available; the deadline to apply for Arts Summit scholarships is Friday, Sept. 29. Student tickets are available for $25. Apply for a scholarship, register or learn more about the Arts Summit here.

2017 Oregon Arts Summit, More News and Grant Deadlines from Oregon Arts Commission

August 2017

Registration now live!

Tony Kushner to headline 2017 Arts Summit

Playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Angels in America,” will deliver the keynote address for the Arts Commission’s 50th Anniversary Arts Summit on Friday, Oct. 6, at the Portland Hilton Downtown. Known for his work in bringing society’s most difficult topics – including AIDS, racism and social justice – to the public stage, Kushner will introduce the Arts Summit theme of “Creating Impact: Art & Civic Engagement.”
Tony Kushner
“Throughout history, art has reflected the most important social issues of its time,” says Arts Commission Chair Christopher Acebo, the associate artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

“It’s fitting that we celebrate the Arts Commission’s 50th Anniversary by examining the important connection between art and civic engagement, and we are thrilled to have Tony start the conversation.”

Nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” Kushner’s honors also include an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards and three Obies. In addition to his two-part epic, “Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” Kushner’s plays include “A Bright Room Called Day,” “Homebody/ Kabul” and the musical “Caroline, or Change.”

John Lahr of The New Yorker says Kushner “takes an almost carnal glee in tackling the most difficult subjects in contemporary history.” Register for the Arts Summit here.

Recipients to be announced soon

Governor’s Arts Awards to Open Arts Summit

After reviewing the more than 100 nominations for the 2017 Governor’s Arts Awards, a statewide committee submitted its recommendations to Governor Kate Brown. The Governor has now made her final decision and award recipients will be announced soon. The Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, just prior to the 2017 Arts Summit.

The ceremony is free and open to the public but registration is required.

On hiatus for 10 years, the Governor’s Arts Awards were reinstated in honor of the Arts Commission’s 50th Anniversary. The Awards recognize and honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the arts in Oregon.

Grant alert!

Applications due Sept. 15 for Small Operating Grants

Launched two years ago as a pilot program, the Arts Commission’s Small Operating Grant program has been continued by the Arts Commission. Applications for FY2018 grants are due by 5 p.m. on Sept. 15; a fillable PDF application is available on the Commission’s website.
Following a program evaluation by Commissioners and staff, the Commission agreed the impact on underserved populations was significant and voted to continue the investment,” says Brian Wagner, community arts coordinator.The evaluation showed a near mirroring of grant dollar distribution to population numbers across the state.

The Inland Northwest Musicians’ Small Operating Grant allows them to continue presenting free concerts in Northeast Oregon like this one in Echo in 2016.
The grants are designed to provide operating support to Oregon small non-profit arts providers with budgets under $150,000. Eligibility is limited to organizations who have operated as an IRS-recognized nonprofit for two years or more and provide on-going programming through the year.

“This grant program was developed to increase the Commission’s support of Oregon’s small arts providers,” says Wagner. “These organizations frequently represent the only arts presenter for remote and underserved regions of the state.”

Welcome Arts Commissioner Nichole Maher

Nichole Maher, the president and CEO of Northwest Health Foundation, has been appointed to the Arts Commission by Governor Kate Brown. Maher fills the position previously held by Julie Vigeland, who completed her second four-year term in July.

Maher was raised in the small community of Siletz in Lincoln County and is very involved in supporting Native art and arts organizations.
“We are thrilled to have Nichole join the Arts Commission as we continue the critical work of ensuring equity, access and inclusion through all of our programs and services,” says Commission Chair Christopher Acebo.
“I am particularly interested in ensuring that all parts of Oregon are included in arts development and that all have access to opportunity and funding,” says Maher.

Nichole Maher
Upcoming application deadlines

Oregon Arts Commission | Oregon Cultural Trust, 775 Summer Street NE #200, Salem, OR 97301

Governor’s Arts Awards nominations due June 30

The hands of master Native basketweaver Pat Courtney Gold at work. Gold is the recipient of a 2001 Governor’s Arts Award from Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

 Call for nominations!

Governor’s Arts Awards nominations due June 30

Do you know someone who has had a dramatic impact on the arts in Oregon? Consider nominating him or her for a Governor’s Arts Award! Individuals and organizations are eligible.

A call for nominations is now posted on the Arts Commission website; nominations are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Awardees will be announced during the Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony from 8 to 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, at the Portland Hilton Downtown.

A partnership between the Office of the Governor and the Arts Commission, the Governor’s Arts Awards recognize and honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the arts in Oregon.
The Governor’s Arts Awards are open to any individual, organization or community that currently resides in or has a significant presence in Oregon and has made outstanding contributions to the arts in the state. Previous awardees are not eligible (see past recipients ).

Oregon Arts Commission News - April 2017

April 2017
Alexis Rockman (American, b. 1962), Evolution, 1992, oil on wood, 96 x 288 in., George R. Stroemple Collection, Lake Oswego, Oregon. Featured in curator and writer Linda Tesner’s essay “Thoughts on a Museum of Wonder,” which was commissioned for the Ecology Project.

Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation
Launch Visual Arts Ecology Project

The Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project is now live at

The online magazine and archive attempts to further explore the depth and expand the breadth of Oregon’s visual arts ecology. The Project is a joint effort of the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation to create an accessible, permanent and interactive virtual collection documenting Oregon’s visual arts landscape, and the interconnected realms of artist, institution, patron, curator and arts writer.

The collection is a beginning, with historic and contemporary content drawn from the archives of the Arts Commission and visual arts partners across Oregon.

Read the full release.
Listen to the Jefferson Public Radio interview with Visual Arts Coordinator Meagan Atiyeh.
Watch Live!

Oregon’s Megan Kim to compete
at Poetry Out Loud National Finals April 24-26

Megan Kim, an 18-year-old senior at Medford’s Cascade Christian High School, will represent Oregon in the April 24-26, 2017 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C. The competition will be live-streamed here.

Megan is scheduled to compete during the third semifinal, with other upper Northwest and Western states’ contestants, from 2 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25. If she advances, she also will compete in the finals 4 to 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26 (Pacific Daylight Time).

Megan, who lives in Ashland, reads poetry for fun and serves as editor of the school’s literary magazine. Her plans are to attend college (she’s considering several) and to major in English.

Enjoy an excerpt of Megan’s performance of Carmen Gimenez Smith’s “Bleeding Heart” and the moment she was named our state champion. Read is a profile of Megan from The Ashland Tidings.
Megan Kim

Breaking news

National report shows Oregon ranks near top
for arts and culture jobs

Oregon is one of seven states- including Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Utah- that exceed the national rate for arts and cultural workers by nine to 17 percent, says a new national study. Only three states (New York, Washington and Wyoming) rank higher.
By Flickr user Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! Courtesy of the NEA.

The research was unveiled April 19 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. It represents the first authoritative federal data on arts and culture employment and compensation.

The data, gathered in 2014, reveals that overall arts and culture contributed $729.6 billion, or 4.2 percent of the Gross National Product (GDP), to the U.S. economy. Oregon employed 69,712 arts and culture workers earning a total of $3.9 billion that year.

Read the full report.
Upcoming application deadlines 

Arts Learning Grants: June 1


Oregon Arts Commission | Oregon Cultural Trust,775 Summer Street NE #200, Salem, OR 97301

Cultural Advocacy Colatition to Fight for Arts Funding in Salem on Arts and Culture Advocacy Day 2017

Cultural Advocacy Coalition Advocacy Day 2017

By now we have all heard about President Trump’s push to eliminate federal funding for a host of cultural agencies and nonprofits. Last week, President Trump doubled down, and proposed additional cuts the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—in the current budget year. These cuts would hit in the final six months of the budget cycle, crippling grants and programs that are planned and approved this year.

Oregon Humanities depends on the NEH for almost half of our funding. Thanks to this funding, we are able to work with hundreds of organizations around the state in communities large and small, urban and rural. The federal dollars that come to Oregon Humanities from the NEH make it possible for people from Klamath Falls to Portland and Enterprise to Astoria to do the ongoing work of building trust and strengthening community.

In addition to my work as Executive Director of Oregon Humanities, I serve on the board of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition. The Coalition is Oregon’s only statewide advocacy organization that lobbies legislators on behalf of the cultural community, and defends funding for the Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, State Historic Preservation Office and Oregon Humanities.

So, while we continue to pressure Congress to reject budget proposals which harm community-based programs like Oregon Humanities’ Conversation Projects and others, we are also in the midst of a challenging session here in Oregon—and we need your help!

We hope you will consider taking a few hours out of your day on Monday, April 24, 2017 to join us in Salem for Arts and Culture Advocacy Day 2017, at the Oregon State Capitol.

By visiting right now you can sign up–and then immediately request a constituent meeting with your own legislators. If you have already registered, be sure you take a moment to request your constituent meeting, then help spread the word by sharing the link with friends and colleagues!

If you can’t make Advocacy Day, and are not yet a Coalition member, please consider joining with a membership gift of $50, $100 or $250 today to help preserve arts, heritage and the humanities, promote the creative economy and protect Oregon’s cultural life.

With your help, the Cultural Advocacy Coalition will continue to speak to those in power on behalf of our values; protecting and amplifying the voices of artists, historians, storytellers, community-builders and creatives whose essential work enriches our lives. With your help, we will withstand these very real threats to veterans’ programs in Central Oregon and North Portland, education programs for low income adults and the rich exploration of individual and community values facilitated by Oregon Humanities through community conversations throughout our state.

Can we count on you to join us April 24, 2017 for Advocacy Day, and to join the Coalition with a membership gift today?

It will take all of us working together, participating in the legislative process and communicating with our elected representatives to protect arts and culture in Oregon and across the nation. Please take the time to join us.

With gratitude,
Adam Davis
Executive Director, Oregon Humanities
Board Member, Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Click the link below to register for the event:

OAC News- grantees for visual artists, performing artists and poets


March 2017
Moments after Megan Kim (second from right) was named Oregon's 2017 Poetry Out Loud champion, she poses with Arts Commission Executive Director Brian Rogers (far left), runner up Philip Chan (second from left) and Arts Commission Chair Libby Unthank Tower (far right)
Moments after Megan Kim (second from right) was named Oregon’s 2017 Poetry Out Loud champion, she poses with Arts Commission Executive Director Brian Rogers (far left), runner up Philip Chan (second from left) and Arts Commission Chair Libby Unthank Tower (far right)

Ashland student named Oregon’s Poetry Out Loud champion

Megan Kim, an 18-year-old senior at Medford’s Cascade Christian High School, will represent Oregon at the April 24-26, 2017 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C. She was one of nine regional finalists who competed in the March 11 state Poetry Out Loud contest at Salem Public Library. The runner up was Philip Chan of West Linn High School.

Megan, who lives in Ashland, reads poetry for fun and serves as editor of the school’s literary magazine. Her plans are to attend college (she’s considering several) and to major in English.

“Falling in love with poetry completely changed how I process the world,” says Megan.

“Through the lens of rich language, I get to explore emotion, to ask questions and seek truth, and to connect with other humans in a way that is entirely set apart from any other experience. I really think the truest me is the me that is writing or speaking poetry,” she adds.

TMegan Kim
Enjoy an excerpt of Megan’s performance of Carmen Gimenez Smith’s “Bleeding Heart” and the moment she was named our state champion.
Here is a profile of Megan  from The Ashland Tidings.

Wendy Red Star exhibits in Governor’s Office 

Wendy Red Star, Apsáalooke Roses, 2016, Four-color lithograph with chine-collé archival pigment ink photographs, 18 x 26 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Portland artist Wendy Red Star will exhibit “Works” in the Governor’s Office of the Capitol Building in Salem through May 11.

Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society.

Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, her work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts and performance.

Red Star has exhibited at venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fondation Cartier pour l’ Art Contemporain, Portland Art Museum, St. Louis Art Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, among others.
Read the full releaseHear a profile of Red Star on OPB’s “State of Wonder.”


Grant alert!

FY2017 Arts Build Communities awards announced

Thirty-six Oregon organizations recently received Arts Build Communities grants from the Oregon Arts Commission. The grants, totaling $210,400, are designed to address and alleviate community needs by engaging in the arts. hh
Among the projects are new public art to revamp the streetscape of Vale while celebrating and reinforcing community collaboration; Slam Across Oregon, bringing together Oregon’s young slam poets from diverse rural, urban and suburban backgrounds for a Slamboo competition in Portland; and a public performance and exhibit designed to facilitate a community discussion about homelessness and home insecurity in the Columbia Gorge.
Lane Arts Council‘s Fiesta Cultural, supported by a 2017 Arts Build Communities grant.
Now in its 21st year, the Arts Build Communities program targets broad geographic impact and arts access for underserved audiences. More than half of the 2017 awards go to communities outside of the Portland Metro region.

43 artists receive Career Opportunity Grants

Wynde Dyer’s tarp quilt tents for Camp Here Tonight at Littman Gallery at Portland State University. 
In the first two of three rounds of FY2017 Career Opportunity Grants, the Oregon Arts Commission, The Ford Family Foundation and The Oregon Community Foundation have collectively awarded $111,146 to 43 artists for career development projects.

The awards include $52,496 from the Oregon Arts Commission; $40,300 in supplemental funding for seven artists through a partnership with The Ford Family Foundation; and $18,350 from The Oregon Community Foundation. Individual grants range from $535 to $7,500.

See the full list of artists and projects.
‘s Creative Container

2017 Fellowship awards announced 

Agnieszka Laska receives Joan Shipely Award

Agnieszka Laska

Agnieszka Laska, a Portland-based dancer/choreographer and the founder of Agnieszka Laska Dancers, is the 2017 recipient of the Oregon Arts Commission’s honorary Joan Shipley Award. The Joan Shipley Award is named for Oregon arts leader Joan Shipley, who passed away in 2011.

Laska leads a group of seven Oregon artists selected for the Arts Commission’s 2017 Individual Artist Fellowships.

The 2017 fellowships support artists working in the performing arts; visual artists are reviewed in alternating years.

The Arts Commission’s fellowship program is available to more than 20,000 artists who call Oregon home. Fellows are recommended by a review panel of Oregon arts professionals who consider artists of outstanding talent, demonstrated ability and commitment to the creation of new work(s). The Arts Commission reviews and acts on the panel’s recommendations.
The following performing artists were awarded 2017 fellowships: Agnieszka Laska (Joan Shipely Award), Portland; Oluyinka Akinjiola, Portland; Leah Anderson, Ashland; Douglas Detrick, Portland; Ashleigh Flynn, Portland; Eliot Grasso, Springfield; and Lydia Van Dreel, Eugene.
 Bios and photos for all 2017 Fellowship recipients.
Avantika Bawa exhibits at LAVC Art Gallery

This month marks Arts Commissioner Avantika Bawa’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.

In “Parallel Faults,” up through April 6 at the Los Angeles Valley College Art Gallery, large painterly gestures sweep across the gallery.

Topographical maps of the surrounding San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Fault line inform the scale, colors and patterns of the swaths.

Stretches of silence are interrupted with multi-channel field recordings of tremors and earthquake sounds procured from geophysicists. The diagonal thrust of the visuals and the spatial distribution of sound synthesize to create a feeling of movement, raw power and unease.

An installation view of “Parallel Faults,” an exhibition by Arts Commissioner Avantika Bawa at the LAVC Art Gallery.
Upcoming application deadlines


Arts Learning Grants: June 1

March news From Oregon Arts Commission

March 2017 News From Oregon Arts Commission

The Eugene Symphony performs at Cuthbert Amphitheatre. The Eugene Symphony received a $15,000 NEA direct grant in 2016 to support its “Ode to the Future” young composers’ project.

Arts Commission issues statement on national arts funding

Many arts supporters have reached out to inquire about the importance of national funding to the arts in Oregon. We’d like to take this opportunity to share information on how national and state funding partner to support arts organizations and artists across the state.
We know that funding of arts and culture in Oregon is comprised of many sources of revenue including public, private, individual and corporate giving. It’s safe to say, however, that without public support many arts organizations would be in jeopardy.
The National Endowment for the Arts allocates 40 percent ($41.2 million) of its annual appropriation to funding the nation’s state arts agencies. Combined, NEA and state arts agency grants reached all 435 Congressional districts. In fiscal year 2016 our Arts Commission received $727,700 in NEA Partnership funding to support grants and services. Combined with our state funding it allowed the Arts Commission to award 267 grants totaling more than $2.1 million. In addition, the NEA made 32 direct grants to Oregon arts organizations and projects totaling $795,000, bringing the total for NEA funding in Oregon to $1,522,700 for fiscal year 2016.

DataArts launches for Operating Support applications 

Photo courtesy of Youth Music Project, a FY2016 Operating Support grant recipient.
All arts organizations applying for FY2018 Operating Support grants, including Arts Services applicants, are required to complete a customized ‘Funder Report’ via DataArts at
The DataArts Funder Report replaces most of the financial and non-financial data traditionally collected in the Operating Support application and Final Report.
Organizations must enter information from their most recently completed fiscal year into a DataArts Cultural Data Profile in order to generate a Funder Report, which must be saved as a PDF and attached to the Operating Support application. Applications will not be considered complete without a Funder Report. The information is required annually for both the Full and Interim Application.

Read more.

Jenny Green of Bend named Arts Commissioner

Jenny Green, a gallerist and art historian from Bend, has been appointed to the Oregon Arts Commission by Gov. Kate Brown.
Green is the owner of Jenny Green Gallery in Bend, a pop up contemporary art gallery exhibiting in Bend, throughout the United States and, soon, in Venice, Italy. She has worked in arts and education for 22 years and is a former adjunct professor of art history at Central Oregon Community College.
“I believe deeply in the power of art and its ability to enhance the quality of life not only for artists but for the communities in which they work,” said Green. “The Oregon Arts Commission strengthens our statewide community through the arts and I want to support this important work.”
Jenny Green
“Jenny is a wonderful addition to our Commission and we look forward to working with her to enhance and encourage the arts across the state,” says Executive Director Brian Rogers.

Howard Fonda exhibits in Governor’s Office

Untitled, 2015, oil and colored pencil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches.

Courtesy of the artist.

Portland artist Howard Fonda exhibits a selection of works he calls “Les premiers seront les derniers*” in the Governor’s Office of the Capitol Building in Salem through March 9.
Fonda’s works, which often feature human, animal and other natural forms against colorful and loosely patterned dabs of bright colors and undulating lines, are both playful and serious, safe and perilous. He describes painting as “an articulate means of exposing a range of emotion, both rational and irrational.
An exhibit in the Governor’s office is considered a “once in a lifetime” honor.
  *The first will be the last.
Spring Jewels by Anji Grainger, one of the works on Beaverton’s Creative Containers.

Grant spotlight

‘Creator Containers’ beautify Beaverton

More than 40 city-owned trash receptacles in Beaverton have received a makeover. The Creator Container Project, a part of the Beaverton Arts Program’s Art in Public Spaces initiative, aims to add an artistic element to the city’s existing infrastructure while supporting both established and emerging artists.
Supported by the Arts Build Communities program, the original plan was to place 10 vinyl-art-wrap installations on existing infrastructures throughout the city. The project became so popular that ultimately 44 wraps were developed by students as well as amateur and professional artists.
(Right) Farmland Quilt by Cate Wilcox.
(From left) Libby Unthank Tower, Erin Graham, Candace Kita and Brian Rogers in front of the Supreme Court building.

WESTAF delegation visits Capitol Hill 

Brian Rogers, left, with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden
Commission Chair Libby Unthank Tower and Executive Director Brian Rogers joined Western States Arts Federation Board Chair Erin Graham and Candace Kita, a WESTAF emerging leader of color, for WESTAF’s annual advocacy trip to Washington, D.C. Jan. 30 through Feb. 1.
The group met with every member of Oregon’s Congressional delegation or their staff to share stories of arts impact in their districts.
The meetings provided an opportunity to relay information about the importance of government funding for the arts and the important impact of NEA funding in our state.

Upcoming application deadlines

Operating Support (Including Arts Services): March 1
Career Opportunity Grants: April 5
Arts Learning Grants: June 1

News from the Oregon Arts Commission


November 10, 2016
The Art Summit’s morning session ended with a panel discussion on arts as an effective change agent.

2016 Summit Eexemplifies Arts In Action

 Attendees ranked their experience of the 2016 Arts Summit in Corvallis highly. With a conference theme of Arts In Action, Keynote speaker Tim Carpenter of EngAGE provided an outstanding example of creative programs that are developed to encourage vibrant aging. The August Wilson Red Door Project’s “Hands Up” performance and its associated speaker panel also gave attendees a rich, powerful and sometimes raw window into the lived experience of many Americans of color.

Overall people found the speakers and performers inspiring and valued the opportunity to network with other arts professionals. Those who came the afternoon before the Summit participated in the welcome reception, generously hosted by the Corvallis Arts Center, and arts themed dinners with Arts Commissioners. These were cited by several attendees as their favorite part of the Arts Summit.

The evaluation revealed that interaction with others is a key take-away from the event.

The 2017 Arts Summit, celebrating the Commission’s 50th Anniversary will be held Friday, Oct. 6, at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland. Mark your calendars now and register early. If you have suggestions for next year’s speakers, please reach out to [email protected]In the meantime, enjoy this link to photos from the 2016 Arts Summit.

LaTevin Alexander of the August Wilson Red Door Project delivers a dramatic “Hands Up” performance.

Pat Boas’ “Cipher” to be exhibited in the Governor’s Office

Pat Boas, Untitled (yellow), 2015, Sumi ink, gouache and flashe on Khadi paper. 30 x 22 in. Photo T. Harrison. Courtesy of the artist and Elizabeth Leach Gallery. Collection of Dave Pollin and the Canopy Hotel.


Portland artist Pat Boas will exhibit “Cipher” in the Governor’s Office at the Capitol Building in Salem from Nov. 22 to Jan. 12.

Boas uses the form, movement and sound-sense of words as maps for abstraction. Her paintings and works on paper distort the code of written language to the point where the viewer might glimpse, but not grasp, an implied meaning. Beginning with common stencil letters or the shapes between letterforms, the pieces develop into characters that are not easily deciphered, like logos too complicated to achieve the usual aim of instant recognition.

The artist explains, “I want to confuse the acts of reading and looking, writing and drawing, jostling them with the noise of color and form.”

An exhibit in the Governor’s office is considered a “once in a lifetime” honor.

Read the full release.

World of Work project wins NAMMY award

One of the recent Connecting Students to the World of Work grant projects contributed to a music video honored Sept. 17 with the top prize in the best music video category for the Native American Music Awards, also known as the NAMMYS.
Students participating in the Beats Lyrics Leaders project funded by the Arts Commission worked with Oregon-based hiphop artist Blue Flamez (Scott Kalama) to produce “Rez Life” with Portland’s Ibori Records. Ibori, through Beats Lyrics Leaders, was awarded a 2014 World of Work grant to partner indigenous youth with professional teaching artists. The project allowed 16 Native American youth to participate in song writing retreats and music training programs with entertainment personalities and musician mentors.
A still of the students featured in “Rez Life.”
“I’ve seen them grow up from kids to young men and it makes me proud to know we won an award for our efforts as a team,” says Flamez. “That’s what life’s about — dreaming big and making it happen!”

Arts Commission schedules meeting in Lake Oswego;

All are invited to Dec. 1 reception


The Oregon Arts Commission will hold its quarterly meeting at the Lakewood Center for the Arts on Friday, Dec. 2. It is open to the public.

Artists, arts organizations and supporters are invited to gather with Arts Commissioners and staff for an informal Arts Salon reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, at the 510 Museum & ARTspace (510 First Street in Lake Oswego).

Please RSVP for the reception by Monday, Nov. 28, to Bonnie Fox at 503-986-0130 or [email protected]

At left: Lee Kelly’s Angkor I in Lake Oswego, purchased through an Oregon Arts Commission Art Acquisition grant.


Grant alert!

Mid-level artists encouraged to apply for Career Opportunity Grants

Record funding is available to support Oregon artists’ career opportunities in December. Through partnerships with The Ford Family Foundation and The Oregon Community Foundation, visual, performing and literary artists may apply for up to $9,000 to further their careers in artistic, business or professional development.
Artists may apply for up to $1,500 from the Arts Commission and, if they are over 30 and actively producing new work, an additional $7,500 from The Ford Family Foundation and the Oregon Community Foundation. The Ford Family Foundation supports artists in the fields of fine art and contemporary craft. The Oregon Community Foundation funds are available only to established Oregon literary and performing arts artists.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Guidelines and more information are

2015 Career Opportunity Grant recipient Beckey Kay’s Chapman Tabula Rasa Shelter Hive.

March News from Oregon Arts Commission

March 2016
Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s 2015 production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel.”
Operating Support grant guidelines now posted;
Guidelines include several changes, DataArts delayed
New guidelines for FY2017 Operating Support Grants distinguish arts organizations by discipline and launch a two-year grant application cycle that includes full applications the first year and interim applications the second.

This year Dance, Music, Film/Media and Interdisciplinary organizations are required to submit full applications while Arts Services, Literary, Theatre and Visual Arts organizations are required to submit an interim application. The deadline for both applications is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

The changes also include the incorporation of Arts Services Grants with Operating Support Grants. Eligible applicants in both categories should apply through the Operating Support application
Note: Due to unexpected delays with DataArts’ (also known as the Cultural Data Project) launch of a new platform, the Arts Commission will not require organizations to fill out a Cultural Data Profile this year. Financial reporting for this year’s application will be the same as last year.
Oregon Community Foundation to provide additional
Career Opportunity Grant funding
Jayanthi Raman, a Career Opportunity Grant recipient who also was awarded a 2015 Fellowship.
A new partnership between The Oregon Community Foundation and the Arts Commission will provide an additional Career Opportunity Grant funding opportunity for literary and performing arts artists this spring.
Applicants may apply for up to $1,500 from the Arts Commission and up to an additional $7,500 from the Oregon Community Foundation.

The partnership mirrors a similar collaboration between the Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation for grants to visual artists.

The grants are open to established literary and performing arts artists over 30 years of age who have an opportunity to further their careers through artistic, business or professional development. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, April 5. The grant guidelines are posted on the Arts Commission’s website.
Poetry Out Loud finalists compete for state title March 12
Regional Poetry Out Loud competitions held Saturday, May 5, in Beaverton, Medford and Salem identified the nine
Oregon high school students who will compete for the state title at Willamette University on Saturday, March 12.
Three finalists were selected from each regional competition with 34 statewide schools participating.
The three top finishers from the Northern Regional Contest, held at Powells Books at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton, were: Brandon Czel, Gresham’s Center for Advanced Learning; two-time state finalist Mitchell Lenneville, Baker Early College Web Academy (Baker City); and Sheila Panyam from Lincoln High School in Portland.
Finalists selected at the Central Regional Contest at Salem’s Willamette University are: Elliot Freeman from Springfield’s Academy of Arts and Academics; Guadalupe Nava-Pena from Oregon School for the Deaf; and Paul Schroeder from Veritas School in Newberg.
The winners of the Southern Regional Contest, hosted at the Medford Public Library, are: Chad Moncus, Logos Public Charter School, Medford; Olivia Frakes, Cascade Christian High School, Medford; and Sadie Swartwout, a two-time school champion making her first trip to state, Crater Renaissance Academy, Central Point.
Central Region finalists (left to right) Elliot Freeman, Guadalupe Nava-Pena and Paul Schroeder.
Southern Region finalists (left to right) Chad Moncus, Olivia Frakes and Sadie Swartwout.
Northern Region finalists (left to right) Sheila Panyam, Brandon Czeland and Mitchell Lenneville.
Eleanor Sandys joins Percent for Art team
Eleanor Sandys
Eleanor Sandys, a former public art assistant registrar at the San Francisco Arts Commission, is the new Registrar and Research Specialist for the Arts Commission’s Percent for Art program. Eleanor will work with Visual Arts Coordinator Meagan Atiyeh to manage Oregon’s statewide arts collection, and to assist program-wide with documentation and artist and artwork information.
At San Francisco, Eleanor helped to manage and document a collection of 3,600 public artworks. She brings previous experience at a variety of arts and cultural organizations, including FOR-SITE Foundation, San Francisco Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley and Portland’s Museum of Contemporary Craft and Portland Japanese Garden.
Eleanor has a bachelor’s in cultural anthropology from Reed College and a master’s in museum studies from John F. Kennedy University.
“I look forward to re-engaging with the arts communities in Oregon and helping to care for the state’s public artworks,” says Eleanor.

The Astoria Bridge near the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Photo by Cory Grove.
Arts Commission, Cultural Trust to visit Astoria March 16-18
North coast arts and culture professionals and supporters are invited to participate in special meetings with the Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust March 16-18, including one-on-one opportunities with staff members to learn about grant opportunities.
The visit will begin at the Liberty Theater on Wednesday, March 16, with a 12-1:30 p.m. brown bag community meeting to present the new five-year strategic plans for both the Commission and the Trust. That afternoon the Commission staff will host a “pop-up” office with Trust staff also available to answer questions about the cultural tax credit and upcoming grant opportunities.
On Thursday, March 17, the Trust will hold its quarterly meeting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., also at the Liberty. Members of the community are encouraged to join Trust Board Members, Arts Commissioners and staff members for a 5-6:30 p.m. reception at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. RSVP for the reception here .
On Friday, March 18, the Arts Commission will hold its quarterly meeting from 9 a.m. to
3 p.m. at the Liberty Theater.
Samanatha Wall wins PAM’s Arlene Schnitzer Prize

Congratulations to Samantha Wall, a 2014 Arts Commission Fellowship recipient who won the 2016 Arlene Schnitzer prize at last month’s Contemporary Northwest Art Awards at Portland Art Museum!

Wall’s work, as well as that of the six other Contemporary Northwest Art Award winners, is on view at PAM now through May 8.
Read more about the award. Read Wall’s 2014 Fellowship profile. Watch her award video.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu sends gift of art
A little more than a month after her visit to Oregon, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu sent a thank you gift – personal sketches she created as memories of her time here.


The sketches recreate signage Chairman Chu saw during site visits with the Oregon Arts Commission to Highland Park Middle School, The Northwest Film Center and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

WESTAF delegation visits Washington D.C.
Oregon’s WESTAF delegation (left to right) Libby Unthank Tower, Erin Graham, Brian Rogers and Candace Kita in front of the Capitol building.
Commission Chair Libby Unthank Tower and Executive Director Brian Rogers were half of an Oregon delegation meeting with our Capitol Hill lawmakers to discuss National Endowment for the Arts and arts funding in early February.
Organized by the Western States Arts Federation the group also included WESTAF Chair-Elect Erin Graham, OMSI’s chief operating officer, and Candace Kita, a Portland Art Museum advancement assistant who also is an alum of WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color program.
The group met personally with Sen. Jeff Merkley, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Congressman Peter DeFazio, among others, and lobbied to increase funding for the NEA from $.41 per capita to $1 per capita. “A delegate from California shared the analogy of this being approximate to a box of crayons per person,” says Libby.
Libby said the Oregon team had a warmer reception than most of the Western state delegations. “The Congressional leaders representing Oregon understand the value of creativity in our society,” she says.
Upcoming grant deadlines

Spring grant deadlines include April 5 for Career Opportunity Grants (literary and performing arts) and April 27 for Operating Support and Arts Services grants (Arts Services now folded into Operating Support Grants).


February 2016 Oregon Arts Commission News

Jan. 29, 2016
NEA Chairman Jane Chu (front row, third from left) visited Milagro Theatre during her time in Oregon this month.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu visits Oregon
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu visited Oregon Jan. 19 and 20, hosted by the Oregon Arts Commission and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. Chairman Chu spent the first day learning about NEA-funded projects at Portland Art Museum, NW Film Center, Milagro Theatre and Wisdom of the Elders.

She then joined Congresswoman Bonamici, a champion of arts-integrated education, for visits to Beaverton’s Highland Park Middle School and Hillsboro’s Quatama Elementary.

Both schools were recognized with a federal innOVATION STEAM Grant Award for their use of creativity to stimulate student learning.

The Chairman’s visit ended with a grants workshop at Oregon College of Art and Craft.

Chairman Chu (second from right) joined Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici for a visit to Hillsboro’s awarding-winning Quatama Elementary School.
Tower succeeds Vigeland as Commission Chair

Libby Unthank Tower
Libby Unthank Tower, a Eugene graphic design and marketing professional in her second term on the Arts Commission, succeeded Julie Vigeland as Commission Chair on Jan. 1. Christopher Acebo, Associate Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, is now Vice Chair and Julie serves as Immediate Past Chair.

Libby’s career spans public, private and non-profit sectors. Currently with Eugene’s Asbury Design, she previously managed marketing and public relations for the City of Eugene Cultural Services Division.
“I am full of gratitude and pride,” says Libby. “We have a newly completed strategic plan to provide guidance and move us forward with work and initiatives designed to enhance the quality of life for all Oregonians. Our future is bright.”

Julie, who led the Commission for three years, called chairing the Commission the capstone of her volunteer career in the arts.

“Nothing can compare to the view from a statewide perspective,” she says.
Christopher Acebo
Julie Vigeland
“What an amazing array of arts organizations we have in every corner of our expansive state. I only wish that each and every one of you reading this had the opportunity to learn about the richness of art throughout Oregon. It is breathtaking!
“We are so fortunate to have Libby Tower as our new chair,” Julie adds. “She is experienced and ready to lead us to the next level. The Arts Commission is in great hands!”
Save the date: 2016 Arts Summit Oct. 7 in Corvallis
Gather with arts leaders from around the state to connect, learn and share. The 2016 Oregon Arts Summit will be held Friday, Oct. 7, at the LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis. Focused on both statewide and mid-Willamette Valley topics, the Summit will incorporate and showcase local artists and voices in arts leadership.
A welcome reception and networking opportunity will be offered the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 6, with a full day of meetings and networking Oct. 7.
A discounted room rate is available to Summit attendees at the Hilton Garden Inn, across the street from the LaSells Steward Center in Corvallis.
Reservations can be booked online

or by calling 541-752-5000.

Hilton Garden Inn
2016 Visual Arts/Design Fellows announced
June 12 & 13, 1987, 2015. Mixed media by Natalie Ball.
Natalie Ball, a Chiloquin-based artist working across media, is the 2016 recipient of the Oregon Arts Commission’s honorary Joan Shipley Award.

Ball leads a group of 13 Oregon artists selected from a pool of more than 160 applicants from 27 Oregon cities for the Arts Commission’s 2016 Individual Artist Fellowships. This year the Fellowships were offered for visual and design arts.

The 2016 fellowships, awarded to artists from Portland, Eugene, Corvallis and Chiloquin, support artists working in visual arts and design and include support for creative time.
The following visual artists were awarded 2016 fellowships:

Natalie Ball, Chiloquin (Joan Shipley Fellow); Fernanda D’Agostino, Portland;Laurie Danial, Portland;Tannaz Farsi, Eugene; Julie Green, Corvallis; Laura Heit, Portland; Michael Hensley, Portland; Aaron Flint Jamison, Portland; Jim Lommasson, Portland; Elizabeth Malaska, Portland; Brenna Murphy, Portland; Ronna Neuenschwander, Portland; and Blair Saxon-Hill, Portland.

Read the full release.


2016 Arts Build Communities grants announced

Thirty Oregon communities received a total of $190,000 in 2016 Arts Build Communities grants to address community needs through the arts.
Vacant downtown storefronts become celebrations of community in Corvallis; Fishtrap inspires 1,700 in Wallowa County to read Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” before engaging in discussions, events and activities about rural isolation and community; and, in Portland, Sisters of the Road will produce “On the Ground,” a short film exploring the history and root causes of homelessness in Portland.
Now in its 20th year, the Arts Build Communities program targets broad geographic impact and arts access for underserved audiences.

More than half of the 2016 awards went to communities outside of the Portland area.
Read the full release.
One funded project is The High Desert Museum’s upcoming “Art for a Nation: Inspiration from the Great Depression,” where striking blanket columns will tell community stories. Photo by Marie Watts.
Statewide partners join new AFTA economic impact study
A new nationwide economic impact study led by Americans for the Arts launches this month. With help from nine statewide partners, the Arts Commission is sponsoring the Arts and Economic Prosperity Study 5 in Oregon, an effort to collect, measure and communicate data demonstrating the impact non-profit arts organizations have on the state’s economic vitality and Oregonians’ quality of life. This study supports the Commission’s Strategic Plan in utilizing research to measure and respond to the needs of the state’s citizens.

The study’s statewide partners will generate 11 separate studies covering a broad area of cities and counties throughout the state: Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Arts and Culture Alliance of Central Oregon; Oregon Coast Council for the Arts; Arts Council of Clatsop County; Arts and Culture Advisory Board of Corvallis; Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene/City of Eugene; Yamhill County Culture Coalition; Arts East (for NE Oregon); and the Regional Arts and Culture Council for the tri-county Portland metro region.

Please offer audience surveys at your organization’s events and fill out surveys when attending an arts event in those regions. It will help the arts in Oregon tell its story.
Arts Commission to visit Astoria in March
Arts Commissioners and staff will spend three days in Astoria March 16-18 for meetings and strengthening local connections.

The visit will begin with a noon brown-bag presentation at the Liberty Theatre on Wednesday, March 16, followed by an afternoon of informal meetings with local arts groups and individuals.

The Commission will hold a joint meeting with the Oregon Cultural Trust Board of Directors on Thursday, March 17, followed by a 5 p.m. open reception at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The Commission returns to the Liberty Theatre on Friday, March 18, for its quarterly meeting, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oregon Folklife Network offering traditional arts apprenticeships

The Oregon Folklife Network is now accepting applications for its

The program honors excellent master traditional artists and encourages culture keepers to apply with apprentices from their own communities, Tribes, cultural, religious or occupational group for $4,000 stipends.

Upcoming grant deadline

Applications for the Oregon Media Arts Fellowship are due by 5 p.m. on Monday. Feb. 1.