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News from the Oregon Arts Commission

March 19, 2014
Editor’s note: This is a time of great change for the Oregon Arts Commission. We asked Chair Julie Vigeland to share her thoughts on key opportunities and challenges moving forward.
The Commissioners gathered for a photo during last week’s quarterly meeting in Ashland.  Pictured (left to right): Commissioners Libby Tower, vice chair, Eugene; Julie Vigeland, chair, Portland; Alyssa Dawamana Macy, Simnasho; Christopher Acebo, Ashland; Avantika Bawa, Portland. Not Pictured:  Josie Mendoza, Lake Oswego. Photo Andy Atkinson.

Change can be challenging, but it also presents opportunities for introspection and revitalization. Over the past few months we have spent time looking at the work we do and coming up with more efficient ways to do it. We want to ensure that we are making the most of the resources we have to best serve the field. Similarly to many of the organizations we work with, it’s important to occasionally rethink operations.

We also are having conversations about how we can play a stronger role in advocating for the arts around the state. We are committed to being visible and engaged.

As we move forward, we will invite a discussion of the Arts Commission’s role to advance the arts in Oregon. We will undertake a statewide planning process soon to identify strategies for continued strengthening of the arts. Everyone we work with will be encouraged to participate. The process will be formalized once the new executive director is in place.

We want to serve you. We want to hear your voices.

Julie Vigeland, Chair
Oregon Arts Commission
Selection process begins for next executive director 

By the time the job posting closed Thursday, 43 people had applied to become the next executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. The applications are currently being reviewed by the state’s executive recruiter, and those that meet the job requirements will be shared with a screening panel made up of Cultural Trust board members Bob Speltz and Carole Morse; Arts Commissioners Julie Vigeland and Libby Tower; and Shannon Planchon, interim executive director. They will meet to identify an initial pool of five to eight candidates by the end of March.


The first round of interviews should be completed by mid-April, when two or three finalists will be identified and announced. The final interview process will include both internal and external stakeholder forums, as well as interviews with the Governor (or his representative), Business Oregon Director Tim McCabe, and executive session interviews with both the Cultural Trust board and the Arts Commission. The screening panel will then consult with McCabe, who should make the appointment decision and offer by early to mid-May.

Rosie Reyes. Photo Kobbi Blair.

Rosie Reyes wins second Poetry Out Loud state title

For the second year in a row, Rosie Reyes of Gresham’s Center for Advanced Learning is the Oregon Poetry Out Loud state champion.

Reyes, an 18-year-old senior, was one of nine regional finalists who competed in Saturday’s state Poetry Out Loud contest at Willamette University. She advances to the national Poetry Out Loud competition, scheduled for April 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C.


Maxwell Romprey and Rosie Reyes. Photo Kobbi Blair

Mike Chasar, a professor of English at Willamette University who served as a judge for the regional and state competitions, called Reyes’ reading of Alberto Rios’s “The Pomegranate and the Big Crowd” “spellbinding.” Read Chasar’s blog entry on the contest here.


Maxwell Romprey of West Salem High School was named Oregon’s runner up; if for any reason Reyes is unable to participate in the national competition, Romprey will represent Oregon.

Commissioners introduced to Ashland arts community
During the Arts Commission visit to Ashland last week for its quarterly meeting, the Commission hosted a community reception at the Ashland Springs Hotel to introduce its newest members. More than 50 local arts supporters attended, including Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland); Lyn Hennion, a former Oregon Cultural Trust board member; Lynne Butterworth, Ross Ragland Theater board chair, Klamath Falls; Cynthia Rider and Bill Rauch from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and Kim Hearon, a Cultural Tourism Grant panelist from the Rogue Gallery.
Commissioner Libby Tower (right) visits with Rep. Buckley. Photo Andy Atkinson
Commissioner Christopher Acebo (left) with Randy Bobst-McKay and Meagan Lauing DeNeui of “Jefferson Live.” Photo Andy Atkinson
Avantika Bawa (right) with Wanda Chin, a Career Opportunity Grant panelist from Ashland.  Photo Andy Atkinson

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