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Oregon Cultural Trust awards more than $3.2 million in 20th anniversary year

Changui Majadero, from Los Angeles, celebrate the last set of the 2021 Sisters Folk Festival at the Village Green stage on Oct. 3.
Rob Kerr/Oregon Cultural Trust
Changui Majadero, from Los Angeles, celebrate the last set of the 2021 Sisters Folk Festival at the Village Green stage on Oct. 3.

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Cultural Trust marked its 20th anniversary Friday by announcing a record-setting $3,254,441 in grant awards to 140 cultural organizations across the state, including four in Central Oregon.

Made possible by generous Oregonians who invested a record $5.2 million in the cultural tax credit in 2020, this year’s awards bring the cumulative total of Cultural Trust grants to more than $36 million since its founding in 2001.

The FY2022 awards include a total of $813,610 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); $813,610 to 45 County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions – who award an average of 450 additional awards annually in their communities; and $1,627,220 in competitive Cultural Development Program awards to 90 cultural organizations serving most geographic regions of the state. 

“In its first 20 years, the Cultural Trust has proven itself as a stable source of funding for Oregon’s arts, heritage and humanities community,” said Niki Price, chair of the Cultural Trust board. “Thanks to the Oregonians who participate in the cultural tax credit we have raised more than $74 million in support of culture statewide. It is gratifying to announce our largest pool of grants ever as we celebrate this important milestone.” 

“We estimate we are now approaching 10,000 in total grants awarded since the Cultural Trust was formed,” said Brian Rogers, executive director. “That is a truly remarkable number – and it doesn’t include the 621 awards made last year through the Coronavirus Relief Fund for Cultural Support, nor the upcoming cycle of American Rescue Plan grant awards for cultural organizations made possible by the Oregon Legislature, and administered along with Business Oregon. Our value and commitment to the cultural vitality of the state is clear.” 

The FY2022 Cultural Development Program award recipients feature 22 organizations receiving their first-ever Cultural Trust award, 68 percent of which are located outside of Portland. They include: 

  • Access to culturally relevant celebrations and events involving traditional art, music and dance for Latinx families and the greater community by Comunidad y Herencia Cultural in Springfield;
  • An exhibit at the Favell Museum in Klamath Falls by Klamath Modoc artist Ka'ila Farrell-Smith -- her first for her Native community. Her art explores the space between the Indigenous & western paradigms; and
  • Indexing, cross-referencing, digitization and expanded access to the Harney County Library oral history collection for the community, researchers and genealogists by the Harney County Library Foundation in Burns.

Other grant award highlights include:

  • Access to robust, community-led art making and exhibition opportunities for BIPOC artists, cultural workers and residents in East Portland’s Jade District by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon in Portland;
  • Construction of the Arrival Plaza at Astoria Nordic Heritage Park, a cultural attraction for North Coast residents and visitors by the Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association;
  • The installation of a lift for better accessibility to the landmark Carnegie Library building in La Grande by  Eastern Oregon Regional Arts Council, Inc.;
  • Funding the Portland Chinatown History Foundation’s first paid executive director to further develop, sustain, strengthen and grow operations, programs and collaborations;
  • Expanded access to the performing arts of India through a hybrid model of delivering the in-home experience of live concerts and master classes via social media by Rasika Society for Arts of India in Hillsboro; and
  • The preservation of Historic Community Hall by strengthening wall supports and replacing damaged roof trusses by the Willamette Community and Grange Hall Historic Building Foundation in Corvallis.

The 90 Cultural Development grant awards range from $5,000 to $33,728 with an average grant award of $18,087. Fifty-eight percent of the 155 eligible applications were funded.

Cultural Development Program awards fund projects that address access, capacity, creativity and preservation. Applications were reviewed and scored by four peer panels; final award amounts were determined and approved by the Cultural Trust Board of Directors at its Sept. 29 meeting. Overall more than 60 percent of Cultural Trust funding (including awards to County and Tribal Coalitions) is awarded outside of the Portland Metro area. 

Cultural Development Grant recipients, organized alphabetically by geographic region (see end of release for region key), are listed below. Note: Organizations marked with an asterisk () are first-time Cultural Trust grant recipients.

Central Region

Cascade School of Music, Bend: $5,000

To support access for Latino community students, via free tuition, to the Cascade School of Music's Awesome After School Orchestra, a beginners strings class held at Title 1, bilingual, Bear Creek Elementary.

Sisters Folk Festival, Inc., Sisters: $15,688

To support the 2021 Sisters Folk Festival, a community-wide event that takes place Oct. 1-3 in multiple venues in the rural community of Sisters. 

The High Desert Museum, Bend: $12,385

To support the Utopias exhibition, which will create access to meaningful cultural experiences that explore utopian ideas through diverse perspectives, including Afro and Indigenous futurisms, to enhance understanding of Oregon’s cultural heritage.

Women's Civic Improvement League, Bend: $6,179

To support and ensure KPOV’s signal stability by replacing mission critical equipment called an STL that sends the audio signal from the station to the transmission tower. 

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