Cultural Trust awards $3.25 million

A record-setting round of awards will help fund projects by 140 cultural organizations across Oregon.

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On its 20th anniversary, the Oregon Cultural Trust announced on Friday $3,254,440.70 in new grants to 140 cultural organizations across the state. It’s a record-breaking total for the Trust, funded by an also record $5.2 million in 2020 donations to the Trust by Oregon taxpayers in return for cultural tax credits. The Trust has awarded more than $36 million in cultural grants since it was founded by the Legislature in 2001.

You can see the full list of awardees here. The awards break down in several ways. The Trust’s five large partner organizations – the Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office – split $813,610 among them. Another $813,610 is divided among the state’s 45 tribal and county cultural coalitions, which in turn make grants of their own. Ninety individual cultural groups from across the state share in another $1,627,220, in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $33,728, and averaging $18,087. In addition, grants are awarded across nine geographical areas that cover the entire state. The allotment includes $455,411 for administrative costs, making a total disbursement of $3,709,952.

Irma Pineda of the Teokalli Aztec Dancers will perform in a new, immigration-themed opera by Anima Mundi Productions. The company, in the southern Oregon town of Phoenix, received a grant of $18,357 to help commission and produce new works by Pacific Northwest-based composers of color, and to create outreach events. Photo: Chara Florendo, courtesy of Anima Mundi Productions.

“In its first 20 years the Cultural Trust has proven itself as a stable source of funding for Oregon’s arts, heritage and humanities community,” Niki Price, chair of the Cultural Trust board, said in a press release. “Thanks to the Oregonians who participate in the cultural tax credit we have raised more than $74 million in support of culture statewide. It is gratifying to announce our largest pool of grants ever as we celebrate this important milestone.”

Oregon ArtsWatch was awarded $21,210 to help fund the project “Warm Springs: Then and Now,” which will tell the stories of tribal members on the Warm Springs Reservation through a series of photographic portraits and essays, and pair the current profiles with historical photographs taken nearly 30 years ago.

Among other projects funded are a six-week arts summer camp for Tillamook County students at the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, an exhibition at the High Desert Museum in Bend on utopian movements in Oregon, a joint project by the Eugene Symphony and Eugene/Springfield NAACP to provide private music lessons for low-income students, an exhibition at the Flavell Museum in Klamath Falls by Klamath Modoc artist Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, a grant to the Eastern Oregon Regional Arts Council to fund accessibility upgrades in the landmark Carnegie Library building that Art Center East leases from the City of La Grande, a series of podcasts about immigrants and refugees and asylum seekers in Oregon by The Immigrant Story, and funding for the first paid executive director of the Portland Chinatown History Foundation.

The Performing Arts Initiative in Hood River received a $15,624 grant to help support the creation of a new performance center overlooking the Columbia River Gorge as the project enters its design phase. Artist rendering by Hacker Architects.

Brian Rogers, the Trust’s executive director, notes in the press release that the grants announced on Friday follow 621 awards made last year through the Coronavirus Relief Fund for Cultural Support, and anticipate an upcoming cycle of American Rescue Plan grant awards for cultural organizations made possible by the Oregon Legislature, and administered along with Business Oregon.

About the author
Senior Editor

Bob Hicks has been covering arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest since 1978, including 25 years at The Oregonian. Among his art books are Kazuyuki Ohtsu; James B. Thompson: Fragments in Time; and Beth Van Hoesen: Fauna and Flora. His work has appeared in American Theatre, Biblio, Professional Artist, Northwest Passage, Art Scatter, and elsewhere. He also writes the daily art-history series "Today I Am."

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