Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council at risk of losing funding

A couple of months ago, the Regional Arts and Culture Council said they learned that their funding could be pulled next year.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:25 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A couple of months ago, the Regional Arts and Culture Council said they learned that their funding could be pulled next year.

Thursday, they held an event in hopes to showcase to the community that they’re an integral part of making sure the art landscape in the Portland metro remains as it is.

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RACC said their roots run deep in Portland, as they’ve existed for 28 years. The non-profit said they make sure it’s the community who decides what art looks like in the metro area, and so “the community needs to have a voice in what happens to RACC,” Carol Tatch, the organization’s Executive Director, said.

Tatch said it was the community who elected to create their non-profit in 1995. Since then, she said it has acted as a means of moving money, given to them by the city, through community members who sit on a panel and decide where funds go instead of the government.

She said since RACC was formed, they’ve been able to positively impact a countless number of local artists.

“They are the thread of our community,” Tatch explained. “Everywhere you turn around, especially in a place as vibrant as Portland and the metro region, you see something that’s artistic.”

Tatch said the art you see in the Portland metro area is likely a part of their purview.

In late July, she said they learned the city is thinking about pulling their funding and reverting to the government being the ones to decide where it goes, which follows accusations from some lawmakers that RACC is misusing city dollars.

Tatch called those accusations unfounded. Instead, she claimed it’s important for RACC to continue handling the money because they make sure as much of it as possible ends up back in the community by providing services that she said the government isn’t able to.

“The community makes the decision on who gets the awards through our grant making and public art program,” Tatch said.

Charissa Brock, a local visual artist, said art is an invaluable part of her life. Without the help of some grants from RACC, she said she’d have not been able to push her career through the pandemic.

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“To pull the funding away is devastational to the art community,” she said.

It is unclear when a vote could take place regarding whether or not RACC will continue to handle the funds.

RACC said they will continue to hold public forums in hopes people will support them in the continuation of their role.