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Oregon Arts Commission News & Updates

February 2021

News & Updates

Words of gratitude from Artist Relief recipients and evidence that the arts are important to economic recovery, plus the upcoming Poetry Out Loud Virtual State Contest and lots of grant news! Visit our Website

Artist Relief grant recipients share gratitude, inspiration Before I even opened the email, I exhaled a sigh of relief,” says Eryk Donovan of Portland, one of 646 Oregon artists to receive an Artist Relief Program grant award from the Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Community Foundation and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. “When you are weighed down, and every step is a struggle, anything that lightens the burden is an immeasurable gift,” adds Donovan, who is one of dozens of awarded artists who have shared stories of impact and gratitude with the Arts Commission.

“These funds give me hope,” says Joni Kabana. “I promise to utilize them for the benefit of community in some way. I am trying to find an old abandoned building near my home in the Fossil/Spray area to open an art studio and if I can get this to happen in this rural area, I will make sure I use the funds in some way that brings art to residents who live in remote areas. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and the tips of my toes.”
“The notes are so heartfelt and inspiring,” says Brian Rogers, executive director of the Arts Commission. “They remind us how far a little relief can go in bringing hope right now.”
Read more artists comments.

Spray art students gather in front of the old Spray General Store Feb. 17. Artist Relief recipient Joni Kabana will use her award to support transforming the store into a community art center. Photo by Rosie Day. Arts and culture investment boosts economic recovery  Here in Oregon and across the nation, arts and culture have a critical role to play in stimulating economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. That is the conclusion of a recent study commissioned by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).  

The Arts and Culture Sector’s Contributions to Economic Recovery and Resiliency in the United States reveals that the arts are an agile and resilient sector with the capacity to ignite job growth, reduce economic risk, stimulate commerce and attract tourism.   Among the key findings is that the arts and cultural sector can improve – not merely reflect – the health of the broader economy. The arts offer economic diversification and can rapidly recover from economic downturns. This was evidenced in the years following the Great Recession of 2008-2009, when states’ arts economies grew much faster than the general economy – and states with larger arts economies showed faster recovery.   Learn more about the study.

A scene from Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2020 production of “The Copper Children.”Poetry Out Loud goes virtual March 13 As Oregon’s Poetry Out Loud contest will be fully virtual this year, anyone with internet access can help celebrate our state’s talented youth presenters via a live Facebook streaming event starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 13.

Featuring special remarks from Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani and other poets from around the state, the event will be streamed on the Arts Commission Facebook page. Sign interpretation will be included.
Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, in cooperation with state arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to memorize and perform highly regarded poems.

Students from the 2020 Salem regional contest who qualified for the Poetry Out Loud State Contest were (left to right) Faith Palma; Christina Brennan; Jamila Walker (alternate), Olyvia Oeverman; Sevyn South; Gabriella Shirtcliff; and Alejandra Ortega.

247 arts organizations receive operating support awards A total of 247 Oregon arts organizations have received FY2021 operating support grant awards through the Arts Commmission’s Operating Support and Small Operating Grant programs.

Awards totaling $910,568 have been distributed to 150 arts organizations through FY2021 Operating Support Program, 12 more recipients than last year due to a growing number of eligible organizations with budgets over $150,000. Another 97 organizations with budgets under $150,000 received Small Operating Grants. Awards reached organizations in virtually every Oregon region.

“We often hear that operating support is the most important type of award,” says Arts Commission Chair Anne Taylor. “Especially now, as arts organizations continue to suffer great losses due to the pandemic, these awards can help relieve a bit of the economic pressure.” 
Operating Support grant award recipient Ballet Fantastique, Eugene. 2021 Individual Artist Fellowships announced Leading a group of five Oregon performing artists awarded 2021 Individual Artists Fellowships, Okaidja Afroso and Michelle Fujii will share the Oregon Arts Commission’s honorary 2021 Joan Shipley Award. The three additional performing artists awarded 2021 Fellowships are Michael Cavazos, Heidi Duckler and Darryl Thomas. All 2021 Fellows receive $5,000 awards.

The Arts Commission’s Fellowship program is open to more than 20,000 artists who call Oregon home. Applications to the program are reviewed by a 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 for fellowship recipients. A total of 113 applications were received for 2021 Fellowships. Performing and visual artists are honored in alternating years.
Read the full release including artist bios.

Okaidja Afroso. Photo by Jacob Jonas, The Company.

Arts Build Communities grant awards announced Forty organizations using an arts-based solution to address community need will share $180,000 in FY2021 Arts Build Communities grant awards from the Oregon Arts Commission.

Projects funded include Applegate Regional Theatre’s drive-in venue where audiences can enjoy musical concerts and theater performances from the comfort and safety of their cars; Portland Playhouse’s live-streamed performances and trauma-informed talkbacks that break down cultural norms about Black masculinity; and The Next Door’s metal art sculpture project with local youth in The Dalles.
Read the release listing all recipients and projects.
A student happily receives her violin and music during the Eugene Springfield Youth Orchestras’ recent Instrument Pickup Day. Arts Access Reimbursement grants now available Organizations may now apply for grants to fund expenses related to providing access to arts activities and programs, including virtual events.
Access reimbursement grants fund: offset of expenditures for specific access expenses; public access to all individuals who want to participate in arts activities offered by Oregon arts nonprofits; activities to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the identification of best practices in accessibility throughout Oregon.
For more information contact [email protected].
Sign language at Portland Playhouse courtesy of Oregon Art Beat.
Behind the scenes
Caring for the Oregon State Hospital Memorial Eleanor Sandys, the Arts Commission’s interim visual arts coordinator and registrar/research specialist, recently shared her experience documenting the condition of a memorial installation at the Oregon State Hospital in an Oregon Heritage blog post. The Memorial was designed in 2014 by artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio.

“It is has been an honor to spend time with these canisters – to witness their beauty and know their story, ” says Sandys. 
Cremains canisters honored at the Oregon State Hospital Memorial. Upcoming grant opportunities Career Opportunity Grants Application deadline: Thursday, March 4 Operating Support Program Application deadline: Monday, March 29 Small Operating Grants Application deadline: Monday, March 29 Shuttered Venue Operator Grants Application to go live soon; read FAQs and prepare now.
Oregon Arts Commission | Phone 503-986-0082 | STAY CONNECTED
Oregon Arts Commission | Oregon Cultural Trust | 775 Summer Street NE #200, Salem, OR 97301

Oregon Arts Commission

News & Updates
Deadline coming right up for the Artist Relief Program, plus a pitch for the new Artists Sunday movement and a shout out to an Oregon artist who just won a big award! Visit our Website

Artist Relief Program deadline Tuesday, Nov. 10
As the Nov. 10 deadline looms, more than 700 Oregon artists have already applied to the Oregon Arts Commission’s new Artist Relief Program, offered in partnership with Oregon Community Foundation and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. Awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be distributed until the program fund, totaling just over $1.25 million, is depleted.

“Without our artists, there would be no art in Oregon,” says Brian Rogers, executive director of the Arts Commission. ”We are very grateful to our funding partnership to help artist through this difficult time.”

The program supports professional artists from specific disciplines who have experienced or anticipate experiencing loss of revenue of $1,000 or more between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Watch a KGW story featuring Governor’s Arts Award recipient Darrell Grant and Corvallis theater artist Tinamarie Ivey.
Performing artists such as members of Third Angle New Music Ensemble have been hit particularly hard by the ongoing ban on large gatherings.

Join us to celebrate Artists Sunday on Nov. 29 The Arts Commission is one of 12 Oregon partners in a new national movement to support artists as entrepreneurs – Artists Sunday. Think of it as Black Friday or Small Business Saturday except the focus is holiday shopping for art! Search on the website to discover Oregon artists who have joined the movement.
Scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 29, Artists Sunday celebrates artists and craftspeople and helps local artists sell more of their work. Members include 650 individual artisans as well as 125 state art agencies, municipalities, counties, chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations, representing thousands of additional artists.
Artists who would like to join can register here.

19 organizations receive FY2021 Arts Learning grant awards
Nineteen arts organizations received $10,000 grant awards to support their educational projects in partnership with Oregon schools through $190,000 in FY2021 Oregon Arts Commission Arts Learning funding announced today.

“Given the challenges Oregon communities are facing, due to the pandemic and the devastating wildfires, this is an especially important time to protect our students’ social and emotional well-being,” says Arts Commission Chair Anne Taylor, who chaired the review panel. One of the organizations receiving funding is Rogue World Music, to support virtual arts instruction for students in the Phoenix Talent School District – recently devastated by wildfires. Rogue World Music is working creatively with teachers to ensure those students will still have access to the program.
See the release listing all awards.

Students at Talent Elementary School learn an African gumboot dance as part of the Rogue World Music Songbirds project in fall 2017. Rogue World Music pledges to begin the program online with a FY2021 Arts Learning Grant award from the Arts Commission.

Arts Access Reimbursement grants now available
Organizations may now apply for grants to fund expenses related to providing access to arts activities and programs, including virtual events.

Access reimbursement grants fund: offset of expenditures for specific access expenses; public access to all individuals who want to participate in arts activities offered by Oregon arts nonprofits; activities to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the identification of best practices in accessibility throughout Oregon.

For more information contact [email protected].

Sign language at Portland Playhouse courtesy of Oregon Art Beat.
Watch on demand

2020 Governor’s Arts Awards Celebration now posted
The 2020 Governor’s Arts Award Virtual Celebration, held Thursday, Oct. 15, is now available for on-demand viewing on the Arts Commission’s YouTube Channel . Oregon’s highest honor for exemplary service to the arts, the 2020 Governor’s Arts Awards were presented to: Darrell Grant, a jazz musician and educator from Portland; Roberta J. Kirk, a traditional artist and educator from Warm Springs; John Laursen, a writer, designer, editor and typographer from Portland; Toni Pimble, the founding artistic director of the Eugene Ballet; and Portland Gay Men’s Chorus in Portland.

“Wanderers Delight,” one of the 2020 Governor’s Arts Award objects created by wood artist Jim Piper. Metal artist Sara Thompson wins national honor Oregon congratulates Sara Thompson of Portland on winning the prestigious Eric Berg Memorial Prize for Excellence in Metal at the 2020 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.

Thompson has been working on her craft since she was a child. Apprenticing for a bench jeweler from age 11 to 16, she learned metalsmithing while gaining experience in making a living as a jeweler. She received a bachelor of fine arts in craft with a metal specialty from the Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2017.

Thompson is drawn to the simplicity of taking a flat, two-dimensional sheet of silver and hammering it into her three-dimensional utilitarian objects and vessels, which she does by using an ancient metalsmithing technique


Silver nesting bowls and serving tray by Sara Thompson.

Oregon Arts Commission | Phone 503-986-0082 |
Oregon Arts Commission | Oregon Cultural Trust | 775 Summer Street NE #200, Salem, OR 97301

NEW Oregon Artist Relief Program!

Oregon Arts commission logo

Oregon artists may now apply to a new Artist Relief Program created by the Oregon Arts Commission in partnership with The Oregon Community Foundation and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. Awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be distributed until the program fund, totaling just over $1.25 million, is depleted.

“Without our artists, there would be no art in Oregon,” said Brian Rogers, executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission. “We feel strongly that, in addition to the significant relief we were able to provide to arts and cultural organizations through federal CARES Act funds allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Cultural Trust, we need to offer relief funding to struggling Oregon artists as well. We are extremely grateful to The Oregon Community Foundation and the Miller Foundation for joining us in that effort.”

The purpose of the Artist Relief Program is to provide relief funding to Oregon artists who have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic due to cancellations of exhibitions, performances, rehearsals or other activities with a stipend, events, teaching opportunities, book signings or other professional presentation opportunities. Guidelines are now posted on the Arts Commission website.

“In times of crisis, artists help us make sense of our world and stay connected to one another,” said Martha Richards, executive director of the Miller Foundation. “The Miller Foundation stands with Oregon artists in this difficult time because we recognize the critical roles they play in our communities and our lives–they are the foundation of our state’s arts ecosystem.”

“Oregon Community Foundation is thrilled to be a partner in this new Artist Relief program,” added Jerry Tischleder, Oregon Community Foundation’s program officer for arts and culture. “We recognize that independent and freelance artists are vital to the recovery of our communities, bringing hope and inspiration to the world while using their creativity to help process the collective trauma, grief and loss we’ve all experienced in these unprecedented times.”

The program supports professional artists from specific disciplines who have experienced or anticipate experiencing loss of revenue of $1,000 or more between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

The artistic disciplines supported are: Literature (creative non-fiction, fiction, play writing and poetry); dance (including choreography); music (composition and music performance); theatre and performance art; folk and traditional arts; visual arts (crafts, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media and new media); design arts; and media arts.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Awards must be spent by July 31, 2021.

Artists from underserved communities, including (but not limited to) rural communities and communities of color, as well as artists with disabilities, are especially encouraged to apply.

OAC Statement on Racial Justice

Oregon Arts Commission Racial Justice graphic

OAC Statement on racial justice: Facebook Join My List Logo

Mourning their loss is not enough

Dear Arts and Culture Community,

We must act now. We at the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust stand in solidarity with those who are outraged by the killing of George Floyd and many other Black victims of despicable racial violence.

In the words of Governor Kate Brown, “mourning their loss is not enough. We must commit ourselves to racial justice.” These unforgivable acts of violence are a tragic symptom of a society that tolerates systemic racism, police brutality, white supremacy and oppression.

Now is the time to say enough. All of us, including the thousands of artists and cultural organizations that call Oregon home, must commit ourselves to immediate action. We must examine ourselves and our business practices to ensure we hear, and respond to, the voices that call for change.

We at the Arts Commission and the Cultural Trust promise to listen and learn from Black voices and other voices of color as we navigate our actions forward. We will continue to advocate for, amplify and stand beside the artists, cultural activists and arts professionals who work toward changing long-standing systems of power so that Black people experience equal rights and access, and are free from threat and violence.

To the Black community: we see you, we hear you and we support you. We are working to establish and implement better ways of serving artists of color, especially with artist relief funding. We hope to share details on a program soon.

We ask that you also commit to action now. Begin by reading this compelling open letter from Marcus C. Mundy, the executive director of Oregon’s Coalition of Communities of Color – in it he outlines steps he believes the justice system needs to take immediately.

Please join us in saying YES, Black Lives Matter – then back up those words by working for positive change in Oregon now.


Anne Taylor, Chair, Oregon Arts Commission

Chuck Sams III, Chair, Oregon Cultural Trust

Brian Rogers, Executive Director, Oregon Arts Commission/Cultural Trust

All Commissioners, Board Members and Staff

PS: More information and ways to get involved in the call for racial justice are available from Don’t Shoot Portland, the Black United Fund, The Portland African American Leadership Forum, The Urban League of Portland, NAACP Oregon and the MRG Foundation.

May 2020 Oregon Arts Commission News

Oregon Arts commission logo

May 2020 Oregon Arts Commission News & Updates

A call for Governor’s Arts Award nominations, updated COVID-19 resources, a live Facebook event to celebrate 2020 Poetry Out Loud students and 2020 Individual Artist Fellows announced!

Deadline May 26

Nominations open for 2020 Governor’s Arts Awards

Governor Kate Brown recently opened nominations for the 2020 Governor’s Arts Awards. The Arts Awards recognize and honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the arts in Oregon. They are held periodically as funding allows.
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. A special category for 2020 recognizes virtual arts engagement during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Awardees will be honored on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg. Note: If social distancing prevents a public gathering, the event will be produced as a live-streamed Facebook event.
Nominations are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26. The 148 past recipients of an Award are not eligible. Read the full release.
Traditional American Indian storyteller Esther Stutzman, a 2017 Governor’s Arts Award recipient.
Traditional American Indian storyteller Esther Stutzman, a 2017 Governor’s Arts Award recipient.

CARES Act funding awarded to Operating Support recipients

Relief funding awards will soon be distributed to more than 130 Oregon arts organizations who have previously received Operating Support grant awards from the Arts Commission. Made possible through CARES Act funding awarded to the National Endowment for the Arts, the awards require review for artistic merit and quality, which is included in Operating Support panel review. Awards will range from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on budget size.
In approving the awards at its May 1 meeting, the Arts Commission also called for the creation of an Ad Hoc committee to discuss FY2021 grant fund allocations.
Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, an Operating Support grant award recipient.
Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, an Operating Support grant award recipient.
WESTAF cares relief fund for arts organizations

Updated COVID-19 resources for arts organizations

The Arts Commission continues to update relief resources for arts organizations impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis. New to the list is $450,000 in funding from Oregon Humanities made possible by the CARES Act funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Western States Arts Federation’s WESTAF CARES Relief Fund for Organizations, which opened May 6.
The Business Oregon Small Business Navigator is updated daily, with many resources open to nonprofits.

The Oregon high school students who qualified for Oregon’s State Poetry Out Loud Contest will be celebrated in a live Facebook event at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27. The State Contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 health crisis, as was the national Poetry Out Loud contest.

Live Facebook event to celebrate Poetry Out Loud students –

Mark your calendars!

The Oregon high school students who qualified for Oregon’s State Poetry Out Loud Contest will be celebrated in a live Facebook event at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27. The State Contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 health crisis, as was the national Poetry Out Loud contest.
“The students worked so hard to prepare their poems for the State Contest,” said Deb Vaughn, who coordinates the Arts Commission’s Poetry Out Loud contest. “They deserve this opportunity to share their achievements.”
Poetry Out Loud is a national contest for high school students, organized in Oregon by the Oregon Arts Commission in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

2020 Individual Artist Fellows announced

Nine Oregon artists have been awarded 2020 Individual Artist Fellowships by the Oregon Arts Commission. The 2020 fellowships recognize and support artists working in the visual arts.
The visual artists awarded 2020 fellowships are: Julia Bradshaw, Corvallis; Melanie Flood, Portland; Erik Geschke, Portland; Colin Ives, Eugene; ruben garcia marrufo, Portland; sidony o’neal (Shipley Fellow), Portland; Kaj-anne Pepper, Portland; Maya Vivas, Portland; and Sarah Wertzberger, Portland.
Fellows are recommended by a 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.
sidony o'neal, “And Now, Square Trees,” Installation View, Fourteen 30, 2019
sidony o’neal, “And Now, Square Trees,” Installation View, Fourteen 30, 2019

Americans for the Arts surveys national relief success

Americans for the Arts recently launched The CARES Act Arts Funding Tracker to learn who in the arts has applied for federal relief funds (PPP, disaster relief, NEA, etc.) and their success as well as harvest stories about how the arts are being used in local pandemic response or recovery efforts.

Upcoming grant deadlines

Operating Support Program: Monday, June 1. Contact: Kat Bell
Arts Learning Program: Wednesday, June 17. Contact: Deb Vaughn
Oregon Arts Commission | Phone 503-986-0082 |

COVID-19 Update from OAC

March 12, 2020

Special Communication

COVID-19 Update from OAC

Dear Oregon Arts Community,
As coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread across Oregon, we recognize the impact this health crisis and recently announced restrictions on gatherings of more than 250 people are having on Oregon arts organizations and artists.
We want to support you in responding to and managing that impact and have gathered some resources that we believe could be valuable to the field, below.
For the general public, Governor Kate Brown today issued guidelines for workplaces, schools, care facilities and other community-wide mitigation efforts to help protect vulnerable and high-risk Oregonians and to protect our state’s health care system capacity.
The Oregon Health Authority continues to update its website with resources, a searchable frequently asked questions page and educational materials in multiple languages.
Also, we recognize that some project grant award recipients are suffering cancellations and are panicked at the potential loss of income and support. Know that we will give full consideration to how we can accommodate those situations.
We are all in this together. We at the Arts Commission will do all in our power to support Oregon’s arts community through this health crisis.
In the meantime, we all know that the arts help us persevere in the face of adversity. Many organizations are rethinking how they can serve the community through online performances and resources. We trust that inspiration and creativity will help us all move forward.
Brian Rogers, Executive Director
Oregon Arts Commission

Oregon Arts Commission News & Updates – January 2020

Oregon Arts Commission logo OAC

Oregon Arts Commission News & Updates – January 2020

In this issue of Oregon Arts Commission News: A rare opening on the Arts Commission staff, Oregon recipients of recent NEA awards, Betty LaDuke’s exhibition celebrating Oregon’s agricultural workers in the Governor’s Office, Grant and Fellowships News…Plus we welcome a new Arts Commissioner and announce a  Career Opportunity Grant deadline of March 5!
We are hiring!

Arts Commission seeks Community Arts Development Coordinator

The Oregon Arts Commission has an immediate opening for a Community Arts Development Coordinator.
If you are passionate about strengthening Oregon’s arts community and enjoy collaborating with stakeholders to deliver arts training and technical assistance, you should consider this opportunity.
The successful candidate will excel at building relationships and enjoy detail-oriented work such as the application review process, providing technical assistance to the field and administering grant-making programs.
A broad knowledge of Oregon’s arts and creative sector is a definite plus.

15 Oregon organizations

awarded NEA grants

Congratulations to the 15 Oregon arts organizations sharing $335,000 in FY2020 Art Works and Challenge America grants from the National Endowment for the Arts!
Oregon’s NEA grant recipients are:
Artists Repertory Theatre, $20,000
Milagro, $10,000
Oregon Bach Festival, $25,000
Oregon Ballet Theatre, $10,000
Oregon Children’s Theatre Company, $20,000
Oregon Folklife Network, $35,000
Oregon Symphony, $20,000
Oregon Symphony Association in Salem, $10,000
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, $40,000
Portland Opera, $25,000
Portland Playhouse, $15,000
Tavern Books, $10,000
White Bird, $40,000
Wisdom of the Elders, $20,000
Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington, $35,000
Read the NEA release with project descriptions.
A promotional image for Artist Repertory Theatre’s “Looking for Tiger Liliy,”a world premiere supported by a $20,000 NEA Art Works grant.

Ashland artist Betty LaDuke to exhibit in Governor’s Office

Ashland artist Betty LaDuke will exhibit “Bountiful Harvest: Celebrating Oregon’s Farm Workers” in the Governor’s Office of the Capitol Building in Salem from Feb. 3 to April 2.
LaDuke’s brightly colored and richly patterned paintings on shaped wood panels celebrate Oregon’s agricultural bounty and the individuals who labor to grow and harvest it. To create these works, the artist spends many hours in the fields sketching and connecting with migrant workers on Southern Oregon farms, vineyards and orchards.
Later, in the studio, LaDuke transforms her sketches into energetic imagery that dignifies the migrant farm workers and their important labor.
An exhibit in the Governor’s Office is considered a once-in-a-lifetime honor for Oregon artists.
Betty LaDuke, “Pear Harvest,” 2012, Acrylic on plywood, 63 x 48 inches. Photo Robert Jaffe.

Grant spotlight

Go behind the scenes at Northwest Theatre Workshop

A three-time recipient of the Arts Commission’s Small Operating Grant award, Northwest Theatre Workshoppresents free events and workshops designed to build a community around the creation, development and production of new theatrical work.
“The grants have helped make it possible for us to offer free performances and our VERY popular New Works Workshop that we do in partnership with Theater Vertigo,” says Producing Artistic Director Ciji Guerin.
Experience their behind-the-scenes view of the creative process at“Tragedy. Comedy. Cookies” from 4 to 6 p.m. on March 8 at Copeland Commons Coffee House at Taborspace (5441 SE Belmont, Portland). The free event is a social get-together and script-in-hand performance of “The Thirst,” a new play that follows the adventures of conjoined twins trying to save their dying village.
Promotional image for “Tragedy. Comedy. Cookies” at Northwest Theatre Workshop..

Applications open for 2020 Hallie Ford Fellowships

The Ford Family Foundation recently announced acall for applications for the 2020 Hallie Ford Fellowships in the Visual Arts. The Foundation will award up to three $35,000 unrestricted fellowships to established Oregon visual artists who have demonstrated a depth of sophisticated practice and potential for significant future accomplishment. Their work furthers the conversation of contemporary art in the 21st century.
These fellowships honor the late Hallie Ford, co-founder of The Ford Family Foundation, who left a legacy based on a lifelong interest in and support of the visual arts. She believed strongly that others should have the opportunity to realize their talents.
Recipients are chosen based on the evolution of their work, the quality of their existing work and potential. They are chosen by a panel of arts professionals from in and out of Oregon.
The Oregon Arts Commission administers the online application process in partnership with The Ford Family Foundation.
James Lavadour “Land of Origin,” 2015 Ed. 17/18. Lithograph, paper. Lavadour is a 2019 Hallie Ford Fellow.

Harlen Springer appointed to Arts Commission

Harlen Springer, the chair of the Florence Public Arts Committee and a founding member and past president of the Florence Regional Arts Alliance​, has been appointed to the Oregon Arts Commission by Gov. Kate Brown.
Harlen is a retired corporate executive with extensive experience leading artistic and consumer products companies including Portal Publications, Numi Organic Tea and Boing Designs. Prior to that, Springer held senior management positions at Fortune 500 companies such as Procter and Gamble, Clorox and Unilever.
Harlan Springer
In more Oregon Arts Commission News,
Visit our website to read

Upcoming grant deadlines

Career Opportunity Grants: Thursday, March 5
Oregon Arts Commission | Phone 503-986-0082 |

OAC Update on grant awards, Art in Public Places Roster now open and the first-ever tour of our State Capitol’s art collection!

August 2019

News & Updates

Update on grant awards, Art in Public Places Roster now open and the first-ever tour of our State Capitol’s art collection!

Grant award timeline update

OSG, ALG awards to be announced in September

Due to the new biennium budget process, the announcement of grant awards for the Operating Support and Arts Learning programs is delayed until September.
The Arts Commission is awaiting a final approved budget from the Legislative Fiscal Office and the Business Oregon fiscal office, as well as action by the Arts Commission board, so that grant awards can be finalized and distributed.
Final approval of grant awards is expected at the Arts Commission board meeting in early September. Official notification of application status and funding awards will happen after the Arts Commission board meets.
In recognition of the challenge presented by awards being announced after activity starts, the staff is developing a new timeline for the next funding cycle and may move the activity start period to Oct. 1.

Eric Asakawa plays the role made famous by Kevin Bacon in Broadway Rose Theatre Company’s current production of“Footloose” running through Sept. 1. Broadway Rose received a FY2019 Operating Supporting Grant award. Photo by Craig Mitchelldy.

Call to artists

Oregon Art in Public Places Roster now accepting applications

Regional, national and international artists are invited to submit qualifications for the Oregon Art in Public Places Roster for 2020-2022. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m., MDT (Mountain Daylight Time), on Tuesday, Sept. 10. All materials must be submitted through CaFE™.
The Oregon Arts Commission manages the Percent for Art program for the State of Oregon. The Oregon Art in Public Places Roster serves as a resource for Percent for Art selection panels to identify artists most suitable for specific project needs.
The Roster is completely refreshed every three years. Artist who were selected for a previous Oregon Art in Public Places Roster must reapply to be considered for the 2020-2022 Roster.

George Johanson, “Day and Night,” 2012. Acrylic and oil on canvas. Oregon Department of Transportation.

Corvallis artist Greg Pfarr exhibits in Governor’s Office

Corvallis artist Greg Pfarr will exhibit “A Sense of Place: Time, Memory and Imagination in the Pacific Northwest” in the Governor’s Office of the Capitol Building in Salem through Sept. 26. A “meet the artist” reception is scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5.
Place has always been a central focus of Greg’s art. He grew up roaming the woods and creeks of southern Ohio, where he found his first inspiration. Early backpacking experiences in the Smokey and Rocky Mountains convinced him that he had to live near wilderness. A move to Oregon in 1980 made it possible.
An exhibit in the Governor’s office is a “once in a lifetime” honor for selected Oregon artists.

Greg Pfarr, “Three Glaciers, Prince William Sound, Alaska,” 2014. Etching and woodcut. 24 x 36 inches (image). Courtesy the artist.

American Artist Appreciation Month

First-ever tours of State Capitol art offered in August

Explore the vast art collection inside the Oregon State Capitol during American Artist Appreciation Month in August. For the first time, State Capitol visitor services will provide guided tours of the Art of the Time Collection, publicly displayed throughout the building.
Tours will depart from the state seal in the rotunda at noon Monday through Friday,
Aug. 19-30. The collection includes more than 175 American (and many regional) artists, featured on the Percent for Art Collection website.
For a schedule of upcoming events and exhibits at the Capitol, visit

Sally Haley, “Camellias,” before 1979. Acrylic on canvas. Photo: Frank Miller.

At Liberty honors Royal Nebeker

Former Arts Commissioner and beloved Oregon artist Royal Nebeker (1945-2014) is being celebrated in a retrospective of his work on exhibit at At Liberty in Bend through September.
A prominent teacher, Nebeker left a tremendous legacy of work. A broad representation of his life’s work assembled for the tribute show.
Royal once said, “This process of painting resembles looking through a night window. I peer out, observing and at the same time see the reflection of the interior conditions of my own reality. It is my intent that as the viewer peers into my painting, he will not only see a visual record of meaning in my life, but will discover the reflection of meaning in their own, as in a night window.”

Pictured at the Royal Nebeker exhibit opening: (left to right) Kaari Vaughn, a founding partner of At Liberty; Sarah Nebeker, Royal’s widow and a Clatsop County Commissioner; Hannah Nebeker, Royal’s daughter; Rene Mitchell, a founding partner of At Liberty; Jenny Green, a founding partner of At Liberty; and Brian Wagner, Arts Commission community development coordinator. .

Florence public mural celebrates local culture

“Stitching Time, Weaving Cultures,” a public mural celebrating local culture and heritage, was recently dedicated in Florence. Commissioned by The City of Florence and the City’s Public Arts Committee, the mural was created by Portland artist-team Marino-Heidel Studios.
Almost three years in the making, the mural showcases folk arts and speaks to cultural interchange. It also “stitches” together ideas that represent the Florence area. The design incorporates the iconic Siuslaw Bridge and native flora and fauna of our region and pays homage to the Siuslaw people.
The project was a partnership between enthusiastic citizens, members of the PUD, Tribal leaders and City of Florence staff.

(Left to right) Harlan Springer of the Florence Public Arts Committee, Catherine Rickbone of the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts and Michal Dalton, Oregon Arts Commissioner.

Upcoming grant deadlines

Oregon Arts Commission | Phone 503-986-0082 |


Ensuring Oregon’s Arts and Culture Are Protected

Hello Advocates,

We have good and bad news this week as some major legislation we’ve been advocating for has passed, but other important bills are hanging in the balance.

Most of our legislative work is contained in the larger omnibus budget and program changes bills that are assembled and passed in the last few days of session. If the Legislature does not resume its business before June 30th, the date by which the body must adjourn—many of our priorities might be lost. Right now, there’s not much we can do since the political breakdown is occurring between the governor and the legislative leadership.

In good news, the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Oregon Arts Commission budgets were passed. Both agencies are funded at the governor’s recommended levels. We are working to find other ways to cover growing administrative costs estimated by agency leadership that were not approved and thus will impact the grant budget. Other good news—the House passed a tax credit package yesterday that includes renewal of the tax credit and extension of the special assessments for historic preservation. But this still needs to be approved by the Senate.

These bills were all moving along positively, so if the legislature resumes business, we expect good results:

— Renewal of the Cultural Trust tax credit for 6 years
— Extension of special assessments for historic preservation for 2 years
— 5 capital projects targeted for lottery bonding or General Fund contributions (Oregon Nikkei Center, Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Cottage Theatre, High Desert Museum, and the Lincoln City Cultural Center)
— Lifting the expiration of license plate revenue for marketing of the Trust

If you’ve been an advocate or used your voice in any way this year, THANK YOU. This year’s work in Salem is evidence that our Coalition and its supporters are crucial in ensuring Oregon’s arts and culture are protected. Please stay tuned for more news in the coming days. 

Thank you.

Cultural Advocacy Coalition
Executive Director
Sue Hildick

Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon   

March 2019 Oregon Arts Commission News!

March 2019

News & Updates

It’s time to apply for Operating Support! Plus grant announcements and the 2019 Poetry Out Loud schedule… and check out the new Art in the Governor’s Office exhibition!

New art acquisitions announced!

Eight grants awarded through The Ford Family Foundation’s Art Acquisition Fund, a partnership that supports our state’s collecting visual arts institutions, ensure works by important Oregon artists will be accessible to the public in perpetuity.
Funds were awarded by a panel of art professionals to: the City of Halsey, Coos Art Museum, High Desert Museum, Portland Art Museum, Portland State University, Reed College, The Schneider Museum of Art, and Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at University of Oregon.
The artists whose works were acquired include Gale Everett, Christiaan H. Mostert, James Lavadour, Chris Johanson and Jo Jackson, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Heather Watkins, Elizabeth Malaska and Victor Maldonado.
Read the full release, including images and descriptions of all acquisitions.

James Lavadour, “Golden,” 2018, oil on panel. Acquired by The High Desert Museum.

It’s Poetry Out Loud time!

All school contests are completed and winners are advancing to three regional contests Saturday, March 2, in Medford, Portland and Salem. The top three students from each region will advance to the state contest in Salem on March 9. The state winner will be invited to participate in the national contest in Washington D.C. at the end of April.
Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with state arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance.

Finalists from the Lincoln High School contest in Portland: (left to right) junior Robert Menezes, sophomore Jiwon Lim, junior Aidan Henrikson and freshman Cate Bikales, who will compete in the Portland regional contest on Saturday at Lewis and Clark College.

Operating Support Program application now live!

The guidelines and application for FY2020 Operating Support grants are now posted. Remember that ALL organizations must apply every year.
For grant year FY2020 the following disciplines must submit full applications:
Arts Services; Literary; Theatre; and Visual Arts.
The following disciplines must submit interimapplications:
Dance; Film/Media; Interdisciplinary; and Music.
Organizations applying for Operating Support for the first time may only do so in their discipline’s assigned full application year. If you have questions about your organization’s eligibility or discipline please call 503-986-0082.
Applications for Operating Support are due by
5 p.m. on Friday, March 29.
NOTE: Recorded webinars on completing the required DataArts profiles are available at the links below.

Salem’s Pentacle Theatre’s production of “Mama Mia” opens this weekend and runs through March 23. Pentacle receives Operating Support from the Arts Commission.

Arts Build Communities grants announced

Congratulations to the 31 organizations awarded FY2019 Arts Build Communities grants!
They share $175,000 for projects using the arts as a means of addressing community need.
The Arts Build Communities program targets broad geographic impact and arts access for underserved audiences in Oregon. More than half of this year’s awards go to communities outside of the Portland area.
See the news release for a complete list of awards and project descriptions.

One of the Portrait Connection’s Portraits in Eastern Oregon, featuring children struggling with serious health issues. Portrait by Laurel Knight.

Intisar Abioto exhibits in Governor’s Office

Portland artist Intisar Abioto will exhibit “Black Legend, Black, Oregon” in Governor Kate Brown’s Office in the Oregon State Capitol Building in Salem through March 29.
“Black Legend, Black, Oregon” explores the lore and living legend of Black presence in Oregon through photographs of artists, elders, poets, historians, luminaries and beloved community members. Works in the exhibition include images from the artist’s ongoing photographic endeavor and exploratory blog The Black Portlanders as well as photographs taken around Oregon for the Urban League of Portland’s “State of Black Oregon” 2015 publication. She has been photographing and writing about people of African descent in Oregon since 2013.
An exhibition in the Governor’s Office is considered a “once in a lifetime” honor.

Intisar Abioto, “Akela Jaffi,” 2018, digital pigment print, 24 x 36 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Application review panelists needed

Arts Commission application proposals are reviewed and scored by volunteers chosen for their geographic, ethnic and gender diversity, as well as for their expertise and experience. From these scores, staff ranks the grant proposals and uses the rankings to determine funding awards.
If interested in serving as a review panelist, please complete this form. The information provided will be used to evaluate qualifications of potential panelists and to update the Oregon Arts Commission’s administrative records should the panelist be selected.

Oregon Arts Commission | Phone 503-986-0082 |

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