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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

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