Regional Arts & Culture Council

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Regional Arts & Culture Council offices in 2013

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is an agency that oversees arts activity throughout the Portland metropolitan area in Oregon, United States. It was established as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1995, replacing a bureau that had been shared by the City of Portland and Multnomah County – the Metropolitan Arts Commission. Today, RACC serves the tri-county region of Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties.

The mission of the organization is to integrate arts and culture in all aspects of community life through vision, leadership and service. RACC is funded by the City of Portland, Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington counties, Metro, the Oregon Arts Commission, and several private donors. It provides programs and offers grants to artists and arts organizations throughout the region. RACC also manages the 1.33-percent-for-art program for Multnomah County, and the 2%-for-art program for the City of Portland. The most famous of Portland's public artworks is Portlandia, which was funded in association with the construction of the Portland Building in the mid-1980s.

RACC funds a variety of not-for-profit, publicly accessible arts activities in the region.[1][2] From the five "majors" (Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony, Portland Art Museum, Portland Center Stage, and Portland Opera) to smaller and emerging groups like Oregon Children's Theatre, Literary Arts, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), PlayWrite, and Write Around Portland, RACC funding provides approximately 1 to 5% of most local arts organizations' total budgets. RACC also funds a number of individual artists each year.[3]

RACC provides resources for artists through a comprehensive web site[4] and several newsletters (both printed and electronic). RACC provides several technical assistance programs, including workshops for artists, and convenes public forums and other meetings to discuss important arts and culture issues in the community. In 2004, RACC launched a workplace giving program for arts and culture – Work for Art[5] – to raise additional funds for local arts organizations.[6] In 2008 the agency launched a public-private initiative to ensure equitable access to arts education for all K-8 students in the region; this collaboration is known as The Right Brain Initiative.[7]

The executive director of RACC is Eloise Damrosch. Former executive directors have included Bill Bulick, Mike Pippi, and David Hudson. RACC is managed by a Board of Directors of approximately 25 persons, with a staff of approximately 28.[8]

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