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New ‘Celebrate Oregon!’ license plate celebrates Cultural Trust’s 20th anniversary

Celebrate Oregon! license plate
Oregon Cultural Trust
Celebrate Oregon! license plate

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – A new license plate design that celebrates Oregon and the diversity of its culture will debut Oct. 1 in recognition of the Oregon Cultural Trust’s 20th anniversary. The artwork is called Celebrate Oregon!

The artwork for the license plate, created by Liza Burns of Eugene, will also be installed as full-scale murals at the Eugene, Medford, Portland and Redmond airports through a partnership with GreenCars.com, a learning and marketplace destination for sustainable transportation. In addition, a 38-foot outdoor banner will be installed at the Northwest Film Center at the Portland Art Museum.

“The new design, built on a panorama of Oregon geography, reflects and respects the diversity of our culture at a time we need it most,” said Cultural Trust Board Chair Niki Price. “Cultural expression is how our communities define themselves – how they live their everyday lives, their traditions, their heritage, their creativity, their celebrations, their values and how they connect with one another. Our culture is the glue that can bind us together as Oregonians.”

"Oregonians value sustainability and embrace green energy,” said Tina Miller, Chief Financial Officer of Lithia Motors and GreenCars spokesperson. “Our partnership with the Oregon Cultural Trust, and sponsorship of these magnificent murals, is our way of bringing this important part of Oregon culture into the picture.”

Celebrate Oregon! is a vibrant tapestry of Oregon geography into which are woven 127 symbols representing different aspects of our collective arts, heritage, history and cultural practices. It is the result of a year-long, inclusive process that began with a group of statewide nominators sharing the creative brief with artists and designers. 

A total of 36 artists submitted statements of interest and work samples. A diverse jury evaluated the submissions and recommended 20 artists be invited to submit preliminary concepts in exchange for a $250 honorarium. An expanded jury evaluated the concepts based on criteria derived from the creative brief and unanimously recommended Burns’ design to the Cultural Trust Board of Directors, which unanimously approved it in October. Burns met with several content experts, identified through the Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, to finalize symbols included in the design.  

“We knew that reflecting the breadth of Oregon culture, and how it brings us together, in one design was an extremely ambitious goal,” said Cultural Trust Executive Director Brian Rogers. “Liza’s creation does that and so much more. It captures the spirit of Oregon and also serves as an educational tool for exploring our diversity. We are incredibly proud and excited to share it with Oregonians.” 

The license plate artwork will be accompanied by an interactive visual key that explains each of the symbols and how they connect to Oregon culture, accessed via a QR code. The key will aid the design discovery while informing Oregonians about the breadth of cultures we as a people represent.

Events celebrating the unveiling of the murals are scheduled for Sept. 21 at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in partnership with the Medford Arts Commission; Oct. 15 at FlyRedmond; Oct. 28 at Eugene Airport; and mid-November at Portland International Airport. The artwork will also be available as a poster and a limited-edition print

The new license plate will be available beginning Oct. 1 on the Oregon DMV website, at DMV field offices and at car dealerships across the state, including Lithia’s 32 franchise dealerships.

To learn more about the plate, please visit culturaltrust.org/celebrateoregon.

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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. As uniquely Oregonian as public beaches and the bottle bill, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established 18 years ago by the Oregon Legislature as an ongoing funding engine for arts and culture across the state. Oregonians fund the Cultural Trust. We, in turn, fund the artists, potters, rappers, acrobats and dreamers who make Oregon, Oregon. In 2020 Oregonians gave $5.2 million to the Cultural Trust, our all-time record. Sixty percent of that will go straight back to the field. The remaining 40 percent will help grow our permanent fund. Our three grant programs fund our five Statewide Partners45 County and Tribal Coalitions and qualified cultural nonprofits through competitive Cultural Development Grants.

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