Oregon Arts Watch exists because of the support of many people and institutions.

The commitment of eleven Portland arts organizations very early in the process shaped the idea and made it possible to carry out. Without them, we wouldn’t have begun in the first place. Cynthia Fuhrman and Trisha Mead were especially vital to our first attempts to develop a workable idea, but every conversation we had sharpened that idea. Our arts partners include:

  • Portland Center Stage (Cynthia Fuhrman)
  • Artists Repertory Theatre (Nicole Lane)
  • Oregon Children’s Theatre (Ross McKeen)
  • Oregon Ballet Theatre (Erik Jones, Christopher Stowell, Trisha Mead, Diane Syrcle)
  • White Bird (Walter Jaffe, Paul King)
  • Portland Opera (Jim Fullan, Chris Mattaliano)
  • Chamber Music Northwest (Linda Magee)
  • Portland Baroque Orchestra (Tom Cirillo and Mark Powell)
  • Museum of Contemporary Craft (Tom Manley)
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art (Tom Manley)
  • Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Victoria Frey, Patrick Leonard)

A key grant — the Knight Foundation’s New Voices grant, administered by J-Lab — was an early sign that we might be on the right track as well as a crucial financial resource. J-Lab’s Jan Schaffer and Andrew Pergram posed important early questions to the project and the answers we developed were key components of the idea as it moved forward.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is the fiscal agent for that grant and the early encouragement of OPB’s Steve Bass and Morgan Holm was important to us. Peter Bhatia, the editor of The Oregonian, expressed his support of the idea at an important moment in our deliberations, too, as did managing editor Jolene Krawczak and arts editor DeAnn Welker.

Arts consultant George Thorn supplied the solution to a very difficult problem early in the process, and his ongoing interest in Oregon Arts Watch has been gratifying.

Greg Newland at TravelPortland embraced the idea immediately and became an early partner in our project with TravelPortland editor Karen Martwick.

Many other individuals met with us and kept us on the right track or warned us of pitfalls ahead. They include Megan McMorran, Jeff Hawthorne, David Sarasohn, Cory Huff, Carmen Hill, Mark Grimes, Patricia Marchetti, Suzi Steffen, Alison Hallett, Misty Tampoles, Cornelius Swart, Melissa Chavez, Teresa Boze, Bret Bernhoft, Martha Ullman West, James McQuillen, Randy Gragg, Karen Brooks, Tim DuRoche, Abraham Hyatt, Carrie Hoops, Marta Mellinger, Jennifer Yocum, Byron Beck, Al Stavitsky, Bill Foster, Carl Herko, Mead Hunter, Tad Savinar, Sheldon Renan, Jerry Ketel, Barry Sanders, Dave Allen, Mead Hunter and many others in casual conversation over coffee as we gradually worked out the idea. Thank you to everyone and apologies to those I’ve missed!

Our editorial committee, which helped develop the editorial mission and policies of Oregon Arts Watch, included Bob Hicks, Lisa Radon, Brian Libby, Caryn Brooks, Richard Wattenberg, Audrey Alverson and Brett Campbell. We were also advised by our fellow journalists at the Oregon News Incubator, especially Michael Andersen, whose independent journalism project, Portland Afoot, is an inspiration.

Our newly formed board of directors dived into the project in various ways and has already played a critical role in the project. They are:

  • Brian Libby, President
  • Susan Widder, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Ron Buel
  • Eric Hillerns
  • Gretchen Corbett

Oregon Arts Watch is an experiment in several parts. The first part: Can journalists, who traditionally have tried to set up camp outside the communities they report on, find support and create partnerships inside their communities? The answer to that one has been resoundingly positive. On a recent panel, Michael Andersen described Oregon Arts Watch as a “partnership organization” and that sounds right to us.

Now, we’ll try to live up to our part of the bargain — to provide our community with the very best journalism we can, to stay connected to our community and independent at the same time, to participate as mindfully as we can in what Simone Weil calls “the formation of attention,” which is her definition of culture itself.

Barry Johnson,
Executive editor,
Oregon Arts Watch