Niki Price

Hitting the coastal arts trail

Lincoln City Cultural Center’s Niki Price plans to create a series of web-based itineraries for people who like to hike and “to tour art and see beautiful things”

When Niki Price sets out to explore art on the Oregon Coast, she’ll need to pack hiking boots, a tide book, and, of course, rain gear, but exhibit hours, ticket costs, and museum reservations — not necessary.

Price, executive director of the Lincoln City Cultural Center, is about to embark on an adventure with a dual mission — a hike on along the Oregon Coast Trail while visiting some of the more than 800 pieces on the Oregon Coast Public Art Trail.

Her hike, dubbed “On the Path of Public Art,” is sponsored by the cultural center and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association, developer of the art trail. She plans to break it up into 10 segments, which will become, in turn, itineraries for public use. A website and blog following Price’s progress and her thoughts about the trek is in the works. The hope is that the project will not only raise awareness for public art, but also raise money for it.    

With her series of hikes, Niki Price hopes to raise awareness both of the Oregon Coast Public Art Trail and the fundraising campaign for the Lincoln City Cultural Center’s plaza.
With her series of hikes, Niki Price hopes to raise awareness both of the Oregon Coast Public Art Trail and the fundraising campaign for the Lincoln City Cultural Center’s plaza. Photo courtesy: Niki Price

The innovation, Price said, is that the coordinates of each piece will be available on a Google map. “For the most part, they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s a really good complement to be walking down the Oregon Coast Trail and then take side excursions and check out the art. You don’t need to worry about the museum being open or arriving too late or having someone let you in. These are things you can enjoy any time.”

The visitors association signed on to the project with an eye toward helping people find the art along the 360-odd mile trail. Some of it has been on display for years, some is newer, and all has been placed by a variety of sponsors, including businesses, cities, and community colleges, said Arica Sears, spokeswoman for the association. The art might be in any number of forms — a mural, a statue, an abstract, or a big painting — but it has to be public, accessible 24/7, and at a spot where it can be viewed safely.

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Lincoln City Cultural Center mines COVID-19 silver lining

Creative Quarantine provides activity kits for kids and online entertainment for adults

Even in these strange days, people are finding the silver lining. At the Lincoln City Cultural Center, that’s been a chance to connect with innumerable people who previously may not have known the center existed. It’s also been a reminder of what creative and innovative people are in our midst.

Last month, Executive Director Niki Price temporarily closed the center due to COVID-19. It wasn’t easy. There were layoffs, reduced hours, and the cancellation of one of the year’s biggest kids’ events, the Festival of Illusion.

Sisters Juniper (left) and Hazel Jones made Ben Soeby Fishboxes, https://artstudiotourlccc.com/artists/ben-soeby/ part of the April 9 Creative Quarantine packet, using popsicle sticks, pens, markers, paint and glue. Photo courtesy: Lincoln City Cultural Center
Sisters Juniper (left) and Hazel Jones made Ben Soeby Fishboxes, part of the April 9 Creative Quarantine packet, using popsicle sticks, pens, markers, paint and glue. Photo courtesy: Lincoln City Cultural Center

“Everybody went home and rested for a few days,” Price said. “And then I began to think, we have all these supplies and all these ideas. Surely, we can find a way to get them out there in a safe way.”

So she called the center’s visual arts director, Krista Eddy, who knew exactly what Price was thinking.

And that’s how Creative Quarantine was born.

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Giving that’s too good to be true

Donations to the Oregon Cultural Trust are a painless way to support arts on the coast and around the state, but you have to act by Dec. 31

The Lincoln County Cultural Coalition recently named this year’s grant recipients, including (thank you) Oregon ArtsWatch. We talked with Niki Price, co-chair of the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition as well as vice chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust, about funding art in coastal communities, the state’s role, and why these coming weeks are so important.

You mentioned this is an important time of year for funding the arts. Why?

Niki Price, co-chair of the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition and vice chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust, says of donating to the trust, “Once we convince a donor to do it once, we rarely have to resell that donor. Once you try it, you’re in.”
Niki Price, co-chair of the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition and vice chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust, says of donating to the trust, “Once we convince a donor to do it once, we rarely have to resell that donor. Once you try it, you’re in.”

Niki Price: The money for the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition grants comes from donations by thousands of Oregonians, through the Oregon Cultural Trust. And the deadline for donating to the trust is Dec. 31. This is a uniquely Oregonian way of funding arts, culture, heritage, and humanities. 

People in Oregon donate to the Oregon Cultural Trust, and the trust distributes money to cultural coalitions across the state. The trust works in two ways. First, it incentivizes giving at the local level for arts and culture, because that’s the first step. You match your local gift with a donation to the trust, and those donations are used statewide. For example, say my husband and I give our annual donations to our local favorites: the Lincoln City Cultural Center, Theatre West, and the North Lincoln County Historical Museum. Together, those donations total $500. In the same calendar year, by Dec. 31, we match those combined donations with a $500 gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust. When we file our 2019 taxes in April 2020, we check the box that indicates we gave to the trust, and that $500 is deducted from our state tax bill.

Then the cultural trust gathers up those donations — $4.5 million last year. In accordance with statute, 40 percent is invested in the permanent cultural trust fund. A small amount goes to administration, and the rest is distributed through cultural partners, in competitive grants, and through the cultural coalition system. There are cultural coalitions in every county, and they receive a distribution based on their population. But there’s a minimum amount, so counties with the smallest populations often receive more per capita than the metro areas.

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Lincoln City’s big culture boost

A $1.5 million state grant will transform the Cultural Center plaza. Other grants help projects in Bend, Beaverton, Portland, Cottage Grove.

Lincoln City got some welcome news Tuesday evening with the announcement from Rep. David Gomberg, D-District 10, that the Oregon State Legislature has awarded the Lincoln City Cultural Center a $1.5 million grant for its Cultural Plaza Project. The work will transform the 2.5 acres surrounding the historic building. The Cultural Plaza was one of five projects approved by the Cultural Advocacy Coalition. Other projects to be funded include Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland ($500,000), High Desert Museum in Bend ($250,000), Cottage Theatre in Cottage Grove ($375,000) and the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts in Beaverton ($1.5 million).

We talked with Lincoln City Cultural Center director Niki Price about the grant and what it means to the Center.

OAW: You call this a game changer. Why is that?

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