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It is a rare occasion when Oregon Heritage Commission declares a certain day, month or year a statewide celebration.
Such notables include the 100th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition, 2003-2006, and the Sesquicentennial Birthday of Oregon Statehood, 2005-2009.
In a move that embraces the arts and humanities as well as history, the Heritage Commission, one of five statewide Cultural Trust partners, declared 2014 a statewide celebration of William Stafford’s Centennial birthday.
William Stafford was born on January 17, 1914, in Kansas, and attended University of Iowa for his PhD. He settled in Lake Oswego in 1956, taught at Lewis & Clark College and wrote stunning poetry that made him – and Oregon - famous. Every January dozens of celebrations are held across Oregon and nationwide to honor Stafford, who died in 1993, having written 22,000 poems.
Current Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen remembers her first year organizing a William Stafford birthday celebration. “We organized two events, in Lake Oswego and West Linn, and I was astonished,” said Petersen. “Both had standing room only. People were out in the hall, or standing outside peering in – and this was in January.
The next year we organized six events, the next year ten.” Over 40 events are currently planned in 19 states and six countries, including NATO Headquarters, Joshua Tree National Park, and Nevada Correctional Institute.
The intent of Oregon Heritage Commission’s declaration is to “put a spotlight on an important cultural heritage anniversary,” said coordinator Kyle Jansson, who noted that “the State’s declaration gives cache to communities; it can be used by organizations in their publicity.”
The arts, heritage and humanities are often intertwined, and William Stafford provides a prime example. “When arts, heritage and humanities overlap, each brings a different color to the palette,” said Jansson. “When you have a full palette, more people will pay attention, will try to understand the significance of what they are seeing and doing.”
The Cultural Trust is fortunate to have wonderful media partnerships, including our Days of Culture partnership with Pamplin Media/Community Newspapers, which resulted in a widely distributed special insert last month, and Willamette Week Give!Guide, which launched November 6.
The Give!Guide is an extraordinary mechanism for year-end giving. Nearly 40 Cultural Trust partner nonprofits participate in the guide, in print and online. The website giveguide.org allows donors to give online then make their Cultural Trust matching gift in the same easy transaction.
Once a gift has been made through the Give!Guide to any Trust partner nonprofit, a message pops up suggesting the donor match with a gift to the Trust, and it mentions the cultural tax credit.
Portland Metro Area-based Trust partner nonprofits such as Independent Publishing Resource Center, The Library Foundation, Fear No Music, The Circus Project, A-WOL Dance Collective, Hand2Mouth Theatre, Miracle Theatre, LiveWire! Radio, OMSI, Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the Classroom Law Project are among the many that can be matched.
The time has come! Take a look at giveguide.org and let the giving begin!
Trust Around Town: New Photos for Fall! The Cultural Trust Rolls Out Year-End Campaign With New Holly Andres Pictures
The Cultural Trust has commissioned photographs from nationally renowned Portland photographer Holly Andres for two years in a row. Her images have been centerpieces of the Trust’s 2012-13 marketing campaign and have included such Oregon notables as Esperanza Spalding, Cheryl Strayed, Sam Johnson, Rogue Ales and more.
Additional images commissioned for the 2013-14 campaign, are currently in production.
Andres was excited to begin shooting for the Trust again. “This year's campaign has kicked off with some truly exciting portraiture subjects,” said Andres, “starting with Kim and Tyler Malek, the originators of Salt & Straw. As I delved into my research, I learned how and why their unique approach to ice cream has created such a magnificent stir. Where else can you find ice cream flavors such as cheese marionberry habanero, mint leaves with sea urchin meringues, or loaded baked potato? Given their experimental and nonconventional methods, I decided to create a narrative depicting Kim and Tyler in as mad scientists in their secret ‘laboratory,’ concocting various recipes and experiencing moments of pure discovery.”
She also raved about her trip to Coos Bay, to photograph Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery's High School Restoration Project. “Becky Soules started the program over a decade ago as a Marshfield High School freshman. The cemetery, which is adjacent to the school, was then heavily vandalized, overgrown, and weather damaged, entire graves had disappeared." Soules' efforts helped galvanize the community to restore the grounds, and since then the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery has been added to the list of the National Register of Historic Places. Said Andres, “I photographed a group of girls eating their school lunch in the cemetery, referencing romantic picnic motifs commonly found in Impressionistic paintings. My hope was to create a compelling portrait that effectively illustrates the work that has been done to transform the cemetery into a beautiful and welcoming place for Oregon heritage, and that these efforts were, in part, inspired by a determined high school girl and her peers.”
Look for the new Salt & Straw image in upcoming issues of Portland Monthly and 1859 Magazine. Look for the Marshfield Cemetery photos in the year-end Trust campaign and advertising. Click on the icon below to see another great picture by Holly Andres at Marshfield.
One of the Cultural Trust's most unique components is its network of county and Tribal cultural coalitions, which receive annual Trust grants to support ongoing planning and local grantmaking in their communities. The coalitions are important local stewards of Trust funding and Oregon culture.
“The cultural coalitions offer the most funding to support the arts, heritage and humanities in rural Oregon communities – ever. With the advent of the Cultural Trust in 2002, and the forming of the coalitions in 2003, rural counties have not only teams of volunteers who developed cultural plans, but regular annual funding to support local cultural priorities,” said Trust Executive Director Chris D'Arcy.
Many coalition members have served in this capacity for over a decade, designing and updating county and Tribal cultural plans, granting Trust money to local programs, or investing Trust dollars in important community projects (in-school arts instruction, museum upgrades, public art commissions) and events (Native heritage classes and workshops, professional development opportunities).
The Trust is grateful to these volunteers for their commitment and passion. We extend a warm thank you to these coalition members, some of whom are stepping down after 10 or more years of service.
Tina Rinaldi, Managing Director of the Arts and Administration Program, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon, began serving on the Lane County Cultural Coalition eight years ago. Her colleague, Meg Trendler, Tourism Sales Manager at the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Lane County, helped write the original Lane County Cultural Plan and served 11 years on the coalition. Both women stepped down last month.
“There is value in some members of an organization having historical memory,” said Rinaldi. At the same time, she said, “Meg and I had served longer than our own plan suggested we should serve,” said Rinaldi. “It was time to cycle off.”
Now, Lane County's coalition has recruited four new members to replace the four members stepping down.“Each of the positions had multiple applicants,” said Rinaldi. Lane County is fortunate to be populous, she admits. “In large counties, especially large rural counties,” said Rinaldi, “if your plan is to have representation from each district, some of those districts don’t have that many people.”
However, she does have engagement strategies to share with coalitions who may be struggling with their succession plans. “The representative for each district does outreach in that district,” said Rinaldi. Current members are asked to recruit future members and grant applicants. They talk to Kiwanis clubs and other civic groups, and employ excellent relationships with local media outlets. “We want representation from all areas (arts, heritage, humanities) and we want people who support our mission - awareness, education, access,” Rinaldi emphasized. “We’re not just recruiting our buddies.”
Trust Manager Kimberly Howard took a moment to reflect on the importance of the cultural coalitions. “The cultural coalition part of the Oregon Cultural Trust is truly exceptional in that it gives communities an opportunity to develop cultural leadership, support local programs and projects and, most importantly, to increase cultural participation, which was the original goal when creating the coalitions.” Howard said.
The Oregon Cultural Trust would like to give a special thanks to coalition members who have served their cultural coalition for 10 or more years:
Karin Barntish, Claudia Callan, Dan Cannon, Mike Carroll, Sirpa Duoos, Lorene Forman, Charlotte Fugate, Frank Geltner, Boyd Harris, Ruth Harris, Susan Hess, Robin Jackson, Blythe Jorgensen, Todd Kepple, Christine Lewallen, Ken Myers*, Claudia Naibert, Kitty Paino, Keith Seaber, Kristi Steber, Lee Stromquist, Bill Sturman, Terry Thompson, Meg Trendler*
Thank you also to coalition members who have served for 5 or more years:
Jane Stella Ahern, Linda Allen, Rosemary Baker-Monaghan, Rich Bergstrom, Jude Berray, Betty Bly, Meryl Boice, Sue Borden, Eva Calcagno, Ernie Carman, Pam Chaney, Barbara Coddington, Larry Cole, Rex Crabbe, Ann Craig, Joanne Cunningham, Cindy DeRosier, Alice Doyle*, Tim DuRoche, Joe Durr, County Commissioner Andy Duyck, Jodi Eagan, Tobie Finzel, Billie Frost, Betsy Rock Fudge, Connie George, Kuri Gill, Joan Graham, Eddie Helms, Dawn Holt*, Sally Houck, Tom Hurst, Carla Ingrando*, Cynthia Kirk, Lori Leyba Kramer*, Lois Leonard*, Shelley Toon Lindberg (Hight), Barbara Lund Jones, Barbara Mason*, Perri McDaniel, Tom Miller, Jan Mitchell, Jim Montalbano, Billie Moser*, Pat Phillips, Tina Rinaldi*, Catherine Rickbone, Carol Sawyer, Maura Schwartz, Mary Beth Self*, Cory Smith, Nancylee Stewart, Susan Sweatt, Ellen Thomas, Mary Carla Ueki, Christina van der Kamp, Gayle Weatherson, Chuck Weller, Darrrell Whipple, Jon Zagel
*coalition members who served 5 or more years, and have recently stepped down or termed off.
Oregon City, in Clackamas County, holds a special significance for Oregon. Not only was it the terminus of the famed Oregon Trail, it was the first capital of Oregon and the Oregon Territory, which extended south into California, North to Alaska and east into Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Legendary events, including the coin toss to name Portland, took place in historic homes that still line the bluff above downtown, and the municipal elevator that connects the bluff to the downtown, was a feat of innovation and is only one of four municipal elevators in the world. (It is the only one in North America.). More recently, several historic home restorations and a multi-year Main Street revitalization of the lower downtown, have helped Oregon City transition from a place of the past to a rich and relevant place of the present and future, a shining example of preservation, restoration, civic engagement and a heritage town come to life.
The Cultural Trust Board will hold its fall meeting on Thursday, September 26 in this historical city.
A morning meet & greet will take place 8:30-9:30am at the Museum of the Oregon Territory, 211 Tumwater Dr., where coalition members, cultural nonprofits, donors and supporters can network and meet the board in the museum overlooking Willamette Falls. Guests can peruse the museum and learn the history of Clackamas County – including information on historic Oregon Trail routes over Mt. Hood.
The next stop for the Cultural Trust Board and special advisors, is a tour of the Blue Heron Paper Factory and historic Willamette Falls, via the Oregon City Municipal Elevator and a stroll down Historic Main Street.
Built in 1915 amidst political and technical controversy, the 89-foot city elevator was originally operated by hydraulics and tended to lower residents’ water pressure whenever it ran. The setup also required a walk across a 35-foot catwalk at the top and, when it broke down passengers squeezed out of the compartment and climbed down a narrow ladder. By 1924 electricity was added, reducing the ride from 3-5minutes to 30 seconds. Dependability increased and the elevator became a viable form of transportation between levels of the city. It underwent another remodel in the 1950s to become what it is today and it is currently the only city-run “vertical street” in N. America. Visitors walking to the next activity will be treated to a Lee Kelly sculpture viewing along the way to the tour of Willamette Falls and Blue Heron.
Willamette Falls is the oldest facility of its kind in the United States, separating the upper and lower Willamette Rivers. The locks first opened in 1873. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, there is now a place to view the locks and the paper mill.
The Cultural Trust Board meeting, at City Hall Council Chambers, 625 Center Street, will begin at 11am, and is open to the public. A presentation on the elevator will take place around 1pm.
The Historic Main Street Oregon City project has recruited more than 49 new businesses to the downtown area. The organization has attracted and collaborated on more than $3.9 Million in State, Federal and foundation grants, guided the reintroduction of a retail-friendly Main Street, supported more than $1 million in annual private-sector investment, and built partnerships with local, regional and state partners. Oregon City recently received Oregon Heritage Commission designation as a “Heritage All-Star Community,” and has been noticed for the economic impact of the rejuvenation. Oregon City has proven itself passionate not only about its place in history, but also about its relevance to current Oregon culture.
Please join us in this vibrant city on September 26, 2013
October 1-8, the Oregon Cultural Trust will celebrate another six years of the innovative cultural tax credit with the eight day week called “Oregon Days of Culture.” This year’s celebration will be all about engagement. The Oregon Culture Field Guide, created last October as a way to highlight year-round cultural activities provides the perfect opportunity to get out and experience Oregon culture.
The Field Guide activities, which will showcase over 100 of the Trust’s 1,300+ cultural nonprofit partners, were nominated by Oregonians last fall.
During Oregon Days of Culture, the Trust invites Oregonians to visit the Field Guide online, browse the multitude of activities, and create a “Life List” of Oregon must-do culture activities for the upcoming year. Each life list is different, and a reflection of the person creating it.
The “Life List” function of the Field Guide will launch on October 1, with the life lists of several Oregon notables immediately visible, as a “how to” example, and a point of interest on the site. The life lists may encompass local offerings or destination activities statewide. Think out of the box. Oregon is rich in cultural activities. What haven't you done yet?
If you work for an Oregon cultural nonprofit or volunteer for a coalition, or if you have celebrity cache in Oregon and would like to become a “Cultural Ambassador” by preparing your list before the October 1 launch, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like much of America in the 1920s, Oregon found itself deep in a love affair with the movies.
Between 1922 and 1925, opulent theaters sprung up around the state – from Pendleton to Coos Bay. Architects employed over-the-top architectural styles that called to mind Medici palaces or Pharoh tombs, and theater goers flocked to see films, Vaudeville shows, and more. These theaters became community gathering places – for families, teens and to see and be seen.
Many of Oregon’s historic theaters have suffered in recent years. Those that survived the Great Depression found themselves struggling in later eras, particularly with the advent of television. Several were sold to developers, who knocked them down. Others were saved by historic preservation groups and like-minded municipalities, which purchased and restored them. In some cases, restoration has taken years, as small nonprofits raised funds incrementally.
The Cultural Trust and several of its cultural coalitions have invested in a number of theater restoration projects over the last 10 years.
This year two historic theaters received first-time grants: the Rivoli Theatre in Pendleton received a $5,000 and the Egyptian in Coos Bay was awarded $7,500.
The Rivoli was built in downtown Pendleton circa 1900 but opened as a theater in 1922. After a 50 year run, the Rivoli closed and, in 2012, a developer applied for a demolition permit. The Rivoli Restoration Coalition formed quickly in response, and the theater was placed on the Historic Preservation League of Oregon’s 10 Most Endangered Places of 2012. Moved to action, the Pendleton Development Commission negotiated to purchase the ailing theater. The Trust grant will provide asbestos abatement and structural assessment.
The Egyptian, which opened in Coos Bay in 1925, enjoyed a long run but was put up for sale in 2005. The story of its salvation is similar to that of the Rivoli. The Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association was formed and by April, 2006, the City of Coos Bay had purchased the building. It closed in 2012 amid structural concerns, but volunteers are confident it will reopen next year. Egyptian theaters became popular in the early 20th Century after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, but 90 years later, The Egyptian in Coos Bay is one of only two left on the West Coast. (There were once 13.)
Greg Rueger, President of the Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association, was thrilled to learn about the Cultural Trust grant. “This award comes at a wonderful time for our project,” he said. Indeed, the group is in the final stages of fundraising to collect the $750,000 needed for structural repairs and ADA restroom upgrades required to reopen. “The grant is particularly important since $350,000 of what we have raised are "top off" grants -- awards only given to us after we have gained commitments for the full amount of the construction. In a very real sense, the $7,500 the Oregon Cultural Trust is providing will be leveraged many times over, through helping us lock-in the top-off grants we’ve received.”
In its very first round of grants, the Trust awarded $10,000 to Astoria’s Liberty Theatre, a 1925 Italian Renaissance-revival building with its own Wurlitzer organ. The Liberty, which received subsequent Trust grants in 2010 and 2011, has become an important regional performing arts facility – and home to the growing Astoria Music Festival. The 91-year old Whiteside Theatre has become a mainstay of downtown Corvallis since it reopened in 2011. After its closure in 2002, developers had encroached. A nonprofit group was created restore the old venue. The Trust awarded grants to the Whiteside in 2010, 2011 and 2013 and the theater is now open for community events, even as Whiteside Theatre Foundation continues its restoration efforts. The 1940 Art Deco Ross Ragland Theatre, formerly Esquire Theatre, serves 10,000 patrons a year and has invigorated downtown Klamath Falls with its line-up of shows. The Ross Ragland was awarded Trust grants in 2012 and 2013.
Cultural coalitions in Jackson and Deschutes Counties have awarded smaller grants to the Craterian and Tower Theatres in Medford and Bend, respectively. These venues provide robust mixed programming that brings people out, and has rejuvenated both downtown areas.
Trust Communications Manager Meryl Lipman noted, “These theaters were here before cable, the internet, Netflix, when theaters were part of the glue that held a downtown and community together. These buildings are like time capsules. It is important – for our current and future generations - that they be kept alive.”
In 2013, the Trust launched its The Pioneer Circle, a new effort to encourage support from donors who give above the limits of Oregon’s innovative cultural tax credit.
Membership in the Pioneer Circle is open to any household contributing at least $1,500 per year and to any S-Corp contributing more than $2,500.
With an original goal of 120 charter-year members, the Pioneer Circle now stands at 126 members. Charter members include businesses like Ninkasi Brewing Company, PGE, Rogue Ales, The Standard and Sterling Bank, as well as nearly 120 donors – 55 couples and nine individuals from across Oregon – Corvallis, Klamath Falls, Lebanon, Monmouth, Newport, Powell Butte, Scappoose, Sisters, Talent and The Dalles, as well as the Portland Metro Area, Lane County, and Medford. These are generous households, individuals and businesses that have made Oregon culture a priority in their charitable giving plans.
“As Chair of the Cultural Trust Board and a personal Pioneer Circle member working for a Pioneer Circle member corporation, I am overwhelmed at the positive response to this new initiative. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet several Pioneer Circle members throughout the last year and to hear about their passion for the arts, heritage and humanities. This has opened a door for donors all over the state to do more than ever to enhance our cultural quality of life,” said Bob Speltz, Trust Board Chair and Public Relations Director for The Standard.
As a thank you from the Trust and its partners, Pioneer Circle members are eligible for CulturePass, offering discounts and unique experiences sponsored by cultural groups like the Ross Ragland Theatre, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Northwest Dance Project, Mt. Hood Museum and Cultural Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, High Desert Museum, Museum at Warm Springs, Willamette University and others.
Photo: (left image) Damaso Rodriguez, Pioneer Circle Charter Members David & Christine Vernier with Margaret & Gordon Noel; (right image) Kay Abramowitz, with Pioneer Circle Charter Members Susan Cox & Greg Fitz-Gerald, and Sarah Horton
Attitudes around war and soldiers’ homecoming have varied widely since World War II and Oregon’s history is no exception.
The experience of war spans all cultures – and all of culture - our arts, heritage and humanities. War can drive people not only to despair, but to deep reflection, remembrance and creativity.
This month two Oregon Cultural Trust partners will explore the cultural and historical significance of soldiers returning from war.
In collaboration with the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, the Oregon Historical Society will present “American Heroes: World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution. OHS is one of seven venues nationwide to host the exhibit and medal, awarded by Congress in 2011 to the 100th Infrantry Battalion, the 44nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service to recognize Japanese American soldiers, many of whom served while their families were held in internment camps.
In conjunction with the Smithsonian exhibition, OHS will showcase an original exhibit on Japanese-American soldiers in Oregon during WWII. “What if Heroes Were not Welcome Home?” examines hostility toward these Oregonians, many of whom were discouraged from returning home after their service.
Both shows run August 24-September 29.
On August 23 in Washington County, Oregon Humanities’ Conversation Project will examine America’s more recent war era, while asking similar questions about war and homecoming. Since 9-11, Oregon photographer and Conversation Project host Jim Lommasson has collected oral histories from returning soldiers and photographically documented their struggles at home. In this conversation, participants will consider the challenges faced not only by returning veterans, but by communities at large. Lommasson has developed a traveling exhibition about American Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and their lives after their tours.
That show and a book in progress, Exit Wounds: Soldiers' Stories—Life After Iraq and Afghanistan, feature photos and essays by soldiers during and after their service. The Conversation Project offers Oregon nonprofits free, humanities-based public discussion programs about provocative ideas. Programs last ninety minutes and engage participants in thoughtful and inspiring discussions that are designed to improve understanding of diverse perspectives on a given subject. All discussions are led by humanities experts who have been trained as conversation facilitators, connect the subject to participants’ experiences and to the local community, and model critical thinking without advocating a particular political agenda.
Jim Lommasson will host The Conversation Project Friday, August 23, 6:30pm, at the Cornelius Public Library.
The Oregon Cultural Trust will hold its next quarterly board meeting - open to the public - at the Newport Visual Arts Center in Newport, on Thursday, July 25, 8:30am-1pm.
On Wednesday, July 24, 5:30-7pm, the Trust will host a meet & greet at the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center overlooking Newport Bay. The building, formerly the colorful Smuggler's Cove and Gracie's at Smuggler's Cove, was purchased by the Lincoln County Historical Society in 2004. The original home was built in 1890 but burned down in 1923 and was rebuilt in 1924.
The Lincoln County Historical Society, a grant recipient of the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition, envisions the newly remodeled property as a major interactive museum that incorporates the working wharf, educational programs, and local maritime uses, instilling in local residents and visitors a sense of place and community.
The museum opened June 28, 2013. Cultural Trust board and staff members hope to meet or reconnect with many local partners and supporters that evening.