News & Events

What Does It Take to be a Cultural Trust Grant Panelist?

Are you skilled at financial reports? Are you passionate about Preservation? Do you have experience in Nonprofit Management? Do you consider yourself a professional audience member, an arts advocate or enthusiast, a heritage or preservation volunteer? Are you deeply involved with the Humanities?

Have you ever wondered how Cultural Trust Development Grant Program proposals are reviewed and scored?

Now is the time to find out! 

If you are interested and qualified (or know someone else who is) and if you have the time to read and score multiple grant proposals followed by a day in Salem reviewing and recommending competitive proposals in an open, transparent forum, the Oregon Cultural Trust hopes you will apply (or nominate someone else) to be one of our FY2015 grant panelists!

Please read and fill out this nomination form and send it to cultural.trust@state.or.us, fax it to 503-986-0260 or mail it to: 775 Summer Street NE #200, Salem, OR 97301.

Your time and interest are deeply appreciated!

Oregon Cultural Trust/Oregon Arts Commission Executive Director Search Reopens

Following a preliminary round of interviews Wednesday, the screening committee for the Oregon Arts Commission/Oregon Cultural Trust executive director search has elected to reopen the search to ensure a pool of two to three finalists for the public round of interviews.

While impressed with initial applicants, the committee determined expanding the search will guarantee a stronger group of finalists. "We are committed to finding the best possible candidate to lead our organizations into the future," agreed Julie Vigeland, chair of the Arts Commission and Bob Speltz, chair of the Cultural Trust board. "If that requires spending more time on the process, we will do it."

Applications will be accepted at www.Oregonjobs.org through Monday, April 28. Read the complete job posting here. Questions should be directed to Twyla Lawson, the state’s executive recruiter, at twyla.lawson@state.or.us. 

 

Oregon Heritage/Restore Oregon/SHPO Settlement Report

 

Did you know 4,600 barns were built by Oregon Trail Settlers through Willamette Valley land claims from 1841 and 1865?

And did you know only 23 remain?

But, with funding and support from the Cultural Trust and its partner, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Portland-based nonprofit Restore Oregon is taking steps to preserve the homes and barns that made up the original Pioneer settlements. In 2010 Restore Oregon (then called Historic Preservation League of Oregon), created an annual list of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places.

A grant from the Trust enabled them to do outreach and education about these old buildings, and community engagement around their restoration in more than 10 towns and cities statewide. They noticed that many applications came from Willamette Valley farms, all over 150 years old and, according to Restore Oregon Senior Field Programs Manager, Brandon Spencer-Hartle, “not up to code, or falling down.” Most of these properties have stayed in one family since the original settlements, said Spencer-Hartle. “Some of them are surrounded by cities and towns now, and maybe the current owner doesn’t know what to do.”

By the third year of the Endangered Places project, the organization decided to group the homesteads into one category, listing over 230 properties as Endangered Pioneer Era Settlements. “Instead of a campaign to save one building, it became a campaign to save several buildings or a type of building,” said Spencer-Hartle. Restore Oregon teamed up with SHPO, which did a nine-county survey over three months and released a report on its findings. “People came on the Oregon Trail and built their own barns with hand-hewn timber and no nails,” said Spencer-Hartle. “It was the beginning of Oregon’s agricultural history.”

The Oregon Trail may be Oregon’s most famous icon, as recognizable to many visitors as Mt. Hood. “We’ll lose the wagon ruts over time, but what will still be around, if we want them to be, are the original homesteads,” said Spencer-Hartle.

Applications are now in place for the National Park Service to place all these buildings on the National Historic Register of Places, but that could take six months or so. Meanwhile, Restore Oregon is planning community outreach, including informational “Preservation Pub,” nights at local brewpubs across the Willamette Valley. “Most of the restored houses become museums, government property, or private homes,” said Spencer-Hartle, but he believes that’s a limited scope of what the houses and barns could become.“There are opportunities for agricultural and heritage tourism, to turn the buildings into restaurants, tasting rooms, B&Bs, agri-B&Bs, outdoor concert venues. The question is, how do you reinvent these properties to be economically viable and have contemporary uses? It’s a new mentality.”

Selection Process Begins for Next Executive Director

By the time the job posting closed Thursday, more than 40 people had applied to become the next executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust.

The applications are currently being reviewed by the state’s executive recruiter, and those that meet the job requirements will be shared with a screening panel made up of Cultural Trust board members Bob Speltz and Carole Morse; Arts Commissioners Julie Vigeland and Libby Tower; and Shannon Planchon, interim executive director. They will meet to identify an initial pool of five to eight candidates by the end of March.

The first round of interviews should be completed by mid-April, when two or three finalists will be identified and announced. The final interview process will include both internal and external stakeholder forums, as well as interviews with the Governor (or his representative), Business Oregon Director Tim McCabe, and executive session interviews with both the Cultural Trust board and the Arts Commission.

The screening panel will then consult with McCabe, who should make the appointment decision and offer by early to mid-May.

Bill Flood Joins Trust, Partners as Cultural Coalition Coordinator

Trust Partners Provide Increased Cultural Coalition Support Activity

No matter where you are living in Oregon, if you’re involved with culture, you will see more of the Cultural Trust and its partners in the next several months.

Last winter all five statewide cultural partners, Oregon Heritage, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Arts Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office, elected to allocate a portion of its Cultural Trust collaborative project funding to contract with a community outreach liaison for the 36 Oregon county and five tribal cultural coalitions.

Bill Flood, a familiar name and face for many Coalition members due to his work in the early years of the Trust, won this contract. Planning began in early March.

A Fullbright Scholar (in 2008) and consultant for the City of Beaverton, Beaverton Arts Commission, City of Sherwood, Portland Community College, and the Confluence Project, to name a few, Flood has done planning for several cultural coalitions, including Clackamas and Yamhill County and has developed relationships with artists, cultural leaders and stakeholders in many communities across Oregon. “Bill will examine the information gathered in recent Coalition focus groups to develop the agenda for aa series of regional gatherings with Coalition members. The goal is to provide leadership development, share existing resources and assess each community’s needs,” according to Brian Wagner, Community Arts Coordinator for the Oregon Arts Commission.

Wagner will be managing the project, working with representatives from all the Cultural Partners and the Cultural Trust manager. Based on the information collected in the regional meetings, Flood will provide recommendations for future training programs, workshops and individual assistance to address community needs and leadership development in the arts, heritage and humanities. This final report will also include recommendations as to what the Trust and its partners should be doing with regard to outreach, capacity building, and leadership development.

Said Wagner, “This will not be a prescriptive plan. This is about really listening to and understanding each community’s needs and developing strategies to address them.”

Dr. Nathalie Johnson Appointed to Cultural Trust

One of many fascinating facts about Legacy Cancer Institute’s Nathalie McDowell Johnson, MD., FACS.: before she became a surgical oncologist and Medical Director of the Legacy Breast Health Centers, she was a dancer with the Ballet Theatre of the Virgin Islands.

Nathalie (pronounced “Nay-Tha-Lee”) Johnson, who lives in Portland, was confirmed by the Oregon State Senate for her appointment to the Oregon Cultural Trust Board by Governor John A Kitzhaber, MD. Her Board service began March 1.

A graduate of Howard University, Johnson went on to attend medical school at The University of Virginia and do residency and surgical internship at University of Southern California.

Though she says she still dances, “at a good party,” Johnson’s medical practice, women’s breast health, and education about breast cancer has become her professional crusade. Johnson’s own mother, Lucy George, survived breast cancer in Johnson’s childhood, an experience that had a profound influence on her.

George also instilled in young Nathalie the importance of the arts. Growing up on St. Thomas, Johnson recalled that her mother, “enrolled us in ballet, took us to plays, the opera, musicals. She made sure to expose us because, as the daughter of a domestic and a railroad worker in the 40s, these were things she dreamed of but could not access.”

Johnson comes to the Cultural Trust Board with a goal of increased accessibility for under-served populations. “I would love to make sure all Oregonians have the opportunity to take part in the culture, art and heritage that is available,” said Johnson. Exuding a warmth of character and soothing demeanor, she noted that young people in particular need access to the arts. “My mother taught us that, with imagination and creativity, there is no time for boredom.”

Johnson constantly has her eye on the intersection between her two passions, art and medicine. The Legacy Cancer Institute incorporates art therapy into its programs for children and adults. “Being able to express yourself through art or music is healing,” said Johnson. Music is also played in the institute’s Intensive Care Unit, which Johnson says, “slows the heart rate and improves the breathing,” for critically ill patients and those at the end of life. “Music actually decreases their need for pain medication,” she said. The peace and tranquility the arts provide, “can make a big difference in health outcomes.”

Trust Board Chair Bob Speltz was intrigued by Johnson’s perspective as a physician. “Dr. Johnson understands the very tangible ways in which access to culture ties directly to improved quality of life,” said Speltz. “Her steadfast commitment to expanding access to and participation in culture in Oregon is extraordinary, and her earlier life as a dancer gives her a context for culture as a viable career choice.”

Legacy Breast Health Centers' Dr. Nathalie Johnson Appointed to Cultural Trust Board

Salem, OR - On February 11, Legacy Cancer Institute’s Nathalie McDowell Johnson, MD., FACS., of Portland was officially confirmed by the Oregon State Senate for her appointment to the Oregon Cultural Trust Board by Governor John A Kitzhaber, MD. Her service on the Board begins March 1.

A surgical oncologist and Medical Director of the Legacy Breast Health Centers, Johnson started her professional life as a dancer with the Ballet Theatre of the Virgin Islands. She remembers a summer with the company in New York City, which included time with dancers from Alvin Alley’s theatre. “Watching those men and women’s lives, the rigors, tryouts, rejections… I decided medicine was probably easier,” she said with a smile.

A graduate of Howard University, she went on to attend medical school at The University of Virginia and do residency and surgical internship at University of Southern California. And, though she says she still dances, “at a good party,” Johnson’s medical practice, women’s breast health, and education about breast cancer has become her professional crusade.

Johnson’s own mother, Lucy George, survived breast cancer in Johnson’s childhood, an experience that had a profound influence on her.

George also instilled in young Nathalie the importance of the arts. Growing up on St. Thomas, Johnson recalled that her mother, “enrolled us in ballet, took us to plays, the opera, musicals. She made sure to expose us because, as the daughter of a domestic and a railroad worker in the 40s, these were things she dreamed of but could not access.”

Johnson comes to the Cultural Trust Board with a goal of increased accessibility for under-served populations. “I would love to make sure all Oregonians have the opportunity to take part in the culture, art and heritage that is available,” said Johnson. Young people, in particular, need access to the arts, she said. “My mother taught us that, with imagination and creativity, there is no time for boredom.”

Johnson has a keen eye on the intersection between her two passions, art and medicine. The Legacy Cancer Institute incorporates art therapy into its programs for children and adults. “Being able to express yourself through art or music is healing,” said Johnson.

Music is also played in the institute’s Intensive Care Unit, which Johnson says, “slows the heart rate and improves the breathing,” for critically ill patients and those at the end of life. “Music actually decreases their need for pain medication,” she said. The peace and tranquility the arts provide, “can make a big difference in health outcomes.”

Trust Board Chair Bob Speltz was intrigued by Johnson’s perspective as a physician. “Dr. Johnson understands the very tangible ways in which access to culture ties directly to improved quality of life,” said Speltz. “Her steadfast commitment to expanding access to and participation in culture in Oregon is extraordinary, and her earlier life as a dancer gives her a context for culture as a viable career choice.”

Executive Director search

Oregon Arts Commission/Oregon Cultural Trust Joint Board Meeting
Monday, February 24, 2014
8:00 am – 9:00 am
Conference Call: 1-877-848-7030 passcode: 584 309

8:00 am - Brief Welcome 

8:05 am - Executive Director Recruitment Information and Discussion. 
Public Session (Open to the Public): This public session is called pursuant to ORS192.660(2)(a)(Consideration of employment of a public officer).  The Boards will review and adopt hiring standards, criteria, and policy directives.  The public  will have the opportunity to comment at the end of this discussion. Speaker: Twyla Lawson, DAS, Chief Human Resources Office, SR. HR Consultant.

8:10 am - Public Comment* 

Immediately following Public Comment- VOTE to adopt hiring standards, criteria, and policy directives for the selection of the next Executive Director.*

9:00 am - Adjourn

 *Pursuant to ORS 192.660 the Board will review and adopt hiring standards, criteria and policy directives. This is primarily accomplished through the Recruitment Plan and the Job Posting.  The public will have the opportunity to comment prior to adoption of the documents.

Giving For Culture: Oregon Cultural Trust Donations Top $4Million in 2013

Thanks to you, our donors, the Oregon Cultural Trust had a record fundraising year in 2013. The Trust raised over $4,131,520 last year, a 4.3% increase in donations over the $3,960,094 raised in 2012. The $4.1million is the most money the Cultural Trust has raised in any single calendar year.

A busy New Year’s Eve and an ongoing partnership with Willamette Week Give!Guide helped put the Trust over the $4million mark. “It was all hands on deck the last week of 2013,” said Trust Administrative Assistant, Raissa Fleming, who oversees donation processing, several thousand each year. “We were answering phones until 5pm on the 31st and donations came in online until just about midnight.”

Willamette Week Give!Guide contributions to the Trust showed a 25% increase in 2013 over 2012, for a total of $243,240 (2012 donations came in at $195,058). “The Give!Guide added a feature prompting contributors to our partner nonprofits to match with a Trust gift on the same website and qualify for the state cultural tax credit. That made a big difference,” said Trust Communications Manager, Meryl Lipman.

Trust partner nonprofits also benefitted from the Give!Guide, including an FY14 Trust grantee, the Independent Publishing Resource Center, which took in almost $25,000 from the site in 2013, compared to $17,000 in 2012. IPRC Executive Director, Justin Hocking said the number of donors also increased in 2013, from 220 in 2012 to 245.

Another Trust nonprofit partner, the Salem Chamber Orchestra, a FY14 grantee of the Marion County Development Corporation, saw a jump from approximately $6,000 in their 2012 year-end campaign, to $23,000 in the same period of 2013. Outgoing Executive Director, Noreen Murdock can’t point to any one reason for the gain, but lauded “an aggressive development effort, a great, responsive audience, and a general vibe in the arts community that seems pretty positive.”

A highly visible ad and social media campaign helped the Oregon Cultural Trust recruit new donors and increase awareness of the Trust’s grant programs and the tax credit that makes it all possible.

The Trust awarded $1.6million in grants during its 2013-14 cycle, many to underserved communities and small nonprofits. Trust grants were given for a range of projects and programs, from education programming to restoration of theaters and outdoor venues. As part of that funding, the Trust gave grants in every county and to five of the nine federally recognized tribes. Each county and tribal cultural coalition then re-granted to local projects. In several counties, most of that money went for education programming, including author, visual artist or music in-school residencies, after-school classes and summer camps. At least one tribe used its grant to fund workshops in traditional arts and customs, to ensure that the younger generations are able to continue their tribal heritage.

The Cultural Trust distributes $.42 of each donor dollar in grants and puts $.58 away in an 11-year old permanent cultural fund for Oregon, which topped $20 million thanks in part to a growth investment strategy adopted in 2013 through the State Treasurer’s Office. Trust Board Chair Bob Speltz was thrilled when he read the 2013 donation report.

“This puts the Cultural Trust in a position to potentially award more in grants, do more programming, and save more in Oregon’s permanent cultural fund,” said Speltz. “It shows that we, as Oregonians, increasingly support the arts, heritage, and humanities, for ourselves and our children.”

Oregon Heritage Launches MentorCorps

Most cities and towns have disaster plans for their residents. But in the scramble to save lives during a fire or flood, an entire town’s history can get left behind.

Oregon Heritage, a statewide partner of the Cultural Trust, has been awarded a Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services grant to launch Heritage MentorCorps, a program that allows regional mentors statewide to help libraries and archives prepare for natural disasters.

According to Oregon Heritage Coordinator Kyle Jansson, many smaller libraries and archives do not have disaster plans. In light of that, Oregon Heritage has recruited 35 mentors across the state, professionals with experience in collections care, including disaster preparedness. These professionals will be available by phone, email, and often in person, to offer training and advice to their colleagues, from John Day to Coos Bay and everywhere in between. “We are going statewide from Day One,” said Jansson.

The world of collections care is a fascinating one. “If an item from the Salt Lake Valley hasn’t seen much moisture and it’s in great shape, you want to keep it that way,” said Jansson. “Paper can be a challenge in Western Oregon because of the moisture, which can equal mold. And a general rule for storage is 30-50% humidity.” While more sophisticated operations can afford state-of-the-art storage systems, others cannot. That doesn’t mean they can’t employ simple solutions to keep damage at bay. “As an example,” said Jansson, “Don’t keep boxes on the floor. Even moving them up to a shelf, you’ve made a major step toward saving them in a flood.” Jansson emphasizes planning ahead. “Getting cultural institutions to talk with disaster management folks in their areas, that’s a goal,” he said.

Oregon Heritage receives an annual partnership grant from the Cultural Trust, funding which was instrumental, said Jansson, in providing the infrastructure for the project. “The regional technical assistance partners use Cultural Trust funds to provide assistance in underserved areas. These folks will be involved with this project too.” Without the Trust funding, Jansson said the agency might have still been competitive for the federal grant, “but it would have felt unsustainable to serve the whole state.”

 

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