Cultural organizations across Oregon will receive more than $2.7 million in funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust in FY2020 thanks to the generosity of citizens who invested in the state’s cultural tax credit.
The awards include a total of $682,005 to the Cultural Trust’s five statewide partners (Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office); $682,005 to 45 County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions – for regranting in their communities; and $1,354,339 in competitive Cultural Development Program awards to 86 cultural organizations serving most geographic regions of the state.
“We are incredibly grateful to the loyalty of our donors for this significant contribution to the great work cultural organizations are doing to enrich the lives of our citizens,” said Chuck Sams III, chair of the Cultural Trust board. “Our mission is to lead Oregon in cultivating, growing and valuing culture as an integral part of communities and these awards are our most important contribution to that effort.”
Overall grant awards are down slightly from FY2019, he added, due to a 5 percent decline in donations for the last fiscal year. A recent lapsed donor survey revealed the primary reason for the reduction was uncertainty around the change in federal tax laws.
“We have learned that some of our donors took a break to evaluate the possible impact of the new federal tax laws,” said Brian Rogers, the Cultural Trust’s executive director. “We are working with the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Nonprofit Association of Oregon to develop messaging that reaffirms that the benefits of Oregon’s cultural tax credit, and its impact on our state’s cultural vitality, remain the same. That messaging will be a central focus of our 2019 fundraising campaign.”
Northeast Region (Wallowa, Union and Baker Counties):
Crossroads Creative and Performing Arts Center Inc, Baker City: $13,701
The project will support all-inclusive access to programming at the Crossroads Creative and Performing Arts Center for children with limited mobility or cognitive abilities and sight and hearing limitations. Working with Access Gallery, staff will assess needs, build capacity, add training, furnish facilities with specialized equipment and supplies, support targeted marketing and provide special classes to fully integrate students into regular programming.
Eastern Oregon Regional Arts Council, La Grande: $9,116
The project will serve La Grande’s rural population with high-quality arts opportunities that support and showcase local artists and bring performers, teaching artists and arts exhibits to the region. Art Center East will provide free access for at-risk youth to gallery exhibits, community conversations and cultural experiences, and classes. Investing in these services enables Art Center East to connect artists and audiences disadvantaged by income and distance.
Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre Inc, Baker City: $16,374
The project is a one-time strategic investment into the Theatre’s capacity to restore a historic property on Main Street in Baker City as a cultural venue. The completed project will not only support all local performing groups with an acoustically sound and specifically designed stage and support structures with adequate seating capacity, but also make it possible to book professional performing groups requiring a quality venue.
Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum, Ontario: $7,698
The project supports free and low-cost access to 15 annual art and cultural programs for local children of varied socio-economic backgrounds in Oregon’s poorest county. Students in Malheur County can attend the Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum’s programs regardless of cost or language barriers. Four Rivers Cultural Center addresses issues of access by providing the community — and specifically educators — with dynamic learning, art and community resources.
Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, Joseph: $29,471
The project supports the organization’s capital campaign to purchase its building, a stunning log structure on Main Street in downtown Joseph. The campaign will build community ownership in the Josephy Center while investing in the organization’s stability and sustainability in Wallowa County.
Liberty Theatre Foundation Inc, La Grande: $17,428
The project will support the inclusion of ADA access in the rehabilitation and restoration of the Liberty Theatre in downtown La Grande’s Historic District. The Liberty is a 100-year-old building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When complete, it will be the second ADA accessible performing arts venue in La Grande, making available significant space and a unique resource for the burgeoning and diverse arts community in Eastern Oregon.
Created in 2001 by the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Cultural Trust is a testimony to how much Oregonians value culture. No other state provides a 100 percent tax credit to inspire cultural giving. In 2017 Oregonians gave $4.9 million to the Cultural Trust, an all-time record. Sixty percent of that went straight back to the field. The remaining 40 percent helped grow a permanent fund.