Blog Posts for Oregon

OR: Building a Case as Portland Prepares to Vote on Arts Funding

Posted by Mr. Jeff A. Hawthorne, Jul 13, 2012 0 comments

Jeff Hawthorne

The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV report comes at an interesting time for Portland as we prepare to launch a campaign for a transformational arts funding measure that’s headed for the November ballot.

If approved by voters in November, a new income tax capped at $35 per person will raise $12 million per year to support arts organizations and arts education in the City of Portland. Specifically, the measure would restore 65 arts specialists in elementary schools and allow our local arts agency to provide general operating support for about 50 leading arts organizations at a rate of at least five percent of their operating budgets. (Our largest organizations currently receive about one percent of their budgets from local public support).

The measure would also help our Regional Arts & Culture Council set up a fund to increase access to arts and culture, specifically within communities of color and underserved neighborhoods.

The Creative Advocacy Network (CAN) is leading this initiative, and even the most recent polls have been strong, earning 75 percent approval of the actual ballot language among likely voters; we are cautiously optimistic about our chances for success.

However, inexplicably, our local newspaper recently published an appallingly ignorant editorial that dismisses the notion of public funding for the arts, and value of arts education in particular. We’re not quite sure what rock they’ve been living under, but we know they don’t represent the opinion of the vast majority of Portland residents. The letter writing campaign to enlighten them has begun! (Thank you, Bob Lynch, for your letter.)

We’ve also done polling to make sure we understand which messages are most likely to resonate with the voters, and we found that economic impact was not very high on the list. The fact that our local arts organizations constitute a $253 million industry, supporting 8,529 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $21 million in state and local government revenue was deemed “persuasive” by slightly less than half of the likely voters we surveyed.

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Measuring Access to Arts Education, or Not Another Survey!

Posted by Deb Vaughn, Jun 22, 2012 0 comments

Deb Vaughn

Since I started my job 4 ½ years ago, I have been looking for a way to quantify arts education. There are an overwhelming number of models circulating:

Washington State did an invited, online, school principal survey, leveraging the partnership of their Arts Education Research Initiative to elicit responses.

Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming worked with the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) to develop a shared survey instrument, administered in collaboration with the four state offices of education and public instruction.

Communities involved in The Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative have created extensive school-based survey instruments, drawing on the expertise of locally-formed partnerships to create the best instrument and guarantee response rates.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

With over 1,300 public schools in the state, the cost to hire a research firm to design and administer a survey instrument was prohibitive, and every existing survey instrument we looked at needed substantial adaptation to satisfy our stakeholders.

Luckily, two years ago, a graduate student in public policy at University of Oregon, Sarah K. Collins, mentioned to me that her thesis project involved pulling data from the Department of Education to examine access to arts education. The Oregon Arts Commission hired Sarah to produce a state-level summary report of her thesis, which we then published.

While the summary data was useful in tracking overall trends, it wasn’t applicable to most citizens, who wanted to know what the numbers meant for their local school. This demand evolved into what is now the Oregon Arts Commission’s newly launched online arts education database

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Rising to Community Leader through a Collaborative Lens

Posted by Sara Bateman, Apr 05, 2012 1 comment

Sara Bateman

For the past year, I have been captivated by the concept of how tomorrow’s arts leaders must also serve as community leaders. Hailing temporarily from Oregon, where I have been pursuing a master’s degree in arts management that focuses on community arts, the line between arts leader and community leader is one that is quickly blurring for me.

As an emerging leader who is continually drawn to work that falls at the intersection of arts and social change, my eyes are most often focused on projects that look to address civic engagement, social justice, and community development needs.

In order to produce and promote effective programming at this intersection, I have delved into graduate courses, practicums, internships, research, and beyond to inform myself in the areas of not only arts management, but also community cultural development, arts learning policy, community arts theory, and social art practice.

Leaving Oregon with my degree in hand in just a few short months, my view on the art world has widened.

I entered the degree looking for solid skills in what I defined as arts management—the programmatic, financial, and administrative aspects—and left with much more. Becoming informed in the areas of community cultural development, community organizing, activism, and beyond have opened my eyes and abilities to effectively straddle the line between arts leader and community leader.

In being both a great arts leader and community leader, there is much knowledge needed of an individual. And sometimes, as we often feel in the nonprofit world, we can’t do it all, even though we are asked to.

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Activating Community Dialogue and Connections through Creative Conversations

Posted by Sara Bateman, Nov 01, 2011 1 comment

Sara Bateman

On October 21, the Emerging Leaders in the Arts Network (ELAN) hosted our third annual Creative Conversation. Over the past three years, this event has enabled our Emerging Leaders chapter to make connections within our local Oregon community and address topics that provoke conversation around the state of the arts in this region.

As the only current university-based chapter of the Emerging Leaders Network, the Creative Conversations program has created a vital link between university students and the community at large.

Based out of the University of Oregon in Eugene, finding ways to break down the student/community divide is a high priority for our chapter. We strive to find ways to bridge the gap between students and professionals, and to take the opportunity while we are in graduate school to connect with artists, administrators, and educators so that we can inform our role as the current generation of emerging leaders.

For this year’s event, titled "Make a Scene: Activating Local Arts & Culture Media," ELAN sought to address how our community can work together to elevate local arts and culture media coverage, providing both print- and web-based opportunities and platforms for participation, dialogue, and critical engagement.

The event started with a panel comprised of local writers, critics, and media managers, including Rebecca Black and Karen Rainsong from Eugene A Go-Go; Jonathan Boys-Hkd, founder and editor-in-chief of Emerging Artist Magazine; Suzi Steffen, independent arts critic and blogger; Dante Zuniga-West, music/visual arts editor at the Eugene Weekly; and Joshua Finch of the zine Exiled in Eugene.

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Can't Stop Creative Conversations

Posted by Annelies van Vonno, Oct 17, 2011 0 comments

As we enter the third week of National Arts and Humanities Month, I would just like to thank all the local community leaders who have participated in our Creative Conversations!

Already, Creative Conversations have sparked local dialogue that is helping to unify groups of individuals engaged in arts and culture. These events help spur advocacy efforts and create networking opportunities for those interested in the arts in their communities.

In a memorable moment at a Creative Conversation last week in Silver Spring, MD, State Delegate Heather Mizeur advised, “Stand out with your art to connect to your advocacy. The artist should use their unique abilities in art making itself to stand out and reach legislatures.” From this Conversation, emerging arts advocates were able to take away this and many other valuable insights.

If you were unable to attend an event last week, don’t worry! October is full of remarkable and insightful events--over 30 so far, with more being added every day.

This week’s upcoming events include:

•    Bonus Features: Thinking Outside the Talkback – Today, Oct. 17! (Pittsburgh, PA)
•    Exploring Professional Paths in the Arts – Oct. 18 (Denver, CO)
•    Witness to Preservation – Oct. 20 (Stuart, FL)

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i3 Grantee Lessons: Beaverton School District

Posted by Peggy Ryan, Jul 15, 2011 0 comments

In an effort to bring Arts for Learning Lessons to 12,850 Beaverton School District (BSD) students in grades 3-5, the Beaverton School District, with project partners University of Washington, Young Audiences Arts for Learning, and Young Audiences of Oregon & Washington, was awarded a $4 million, five-year grant in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation fund.

Arts for Learning (A4L) is a literacy program that uses the creativity of the arts to raise student achievement in reading and writing, and to develop learning and life skills. A4L lessons had been implemented in classrooms around the country prior to the Beaverton School District’s i3 grant application, with the added resource of some independent evaluations of these existing lessons.

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