Oregon Cultural Trust grants positively impact diversity in the arts
Oregon Cultural Trust awarded over $3 million in grants this summer to almost 140 organizations. Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA) in Newport plans to use their $5,000 award to renovate the inside of their art bus.
According to Executive director Jason Holland, a goal of the year-old program is to remove economic and transportation barriers by bringing art to the community.
“Bringing the arts to people and saying this is free for you. And everyone deserves to have access to this,” said Holland.
The art bus is a mobile arts learning classroom. The renovation will allow for more types of classes, from visual art to instrumental and dance, to be held within its walls. Especially during typically unpredictable Oregon weather.
“At first glance it seems surprising or unexpected,” he said. “But really what you’re watching is people having a shared experience together which helps with community bonding and bridge building.”
Many of the classes are aimed at kids, but parents and grandparents often join in. OCCA also weaves in art fundamentals and social/emotional learning to each lesson.
The art bus just received a new paint job which was revealed to the public last week. The design was created by Liza Burns who also designed the Oregon Cultural Trust license plates.
OCCA hopes to increase community partnerships to be able to serve more of the community within Lincoln County and along the Oregon Coast.
More about OCCA can be found on their website.
Eugene-based DanceAbility International is also one of the organizations to receive a grant from Oregon Cultural Trust this summer. DanceAbility received over $26,000 to hold 5 five-day workshops to teach inclusive dance techniques. The hope is participants will be equipped to create a space where people with and without disabilities can come together.
Executive director Alito Alessi said the techniques being taught will focus on how to adapt movement for varying abilities because DanceAbility sees differences as opportunities instead of problems.
“We see the big problem actually arises when people are separated and isolated from each other,” said Alessi. “So we’re trying to eliminate isolation so that people can be together.”
While DanceAbility also performs nationally and internationally, Alessi sees the educational base of the organization as the most important. The funding means DanceAbility can hold these trainings throughout Oregon, as well as provide financial assistance.
“To be able to give that away is essential,” Alessi said.
More information about DanceAbility and the inclusive workshops can be found here.
Eugene Concert Choir will perform their “Black is Beautiful” concert this spring with the help of a $36,000 grant from Oregon Cultural Trust.
The concert will feature classical music by black composers, including Joel Thompson’s “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed.”
The plan is to increase the orchestra members so patrons will experience the music in its fullest capacity.
A key piece of the project is to get the music from “Scenes from the Life of a Martyr,” based on Martin Luther King Jr., printed so it’s no longer just in manuscript form.
The choir will also record the concert which will be the first ever recording for some of the pieces.
Executive director Diane Retallack told KLCC that this concert comes from a very emotional place.
“The most recent events of Black Lives Matter,” said Retallack. “And the horrendous murder of George Floyd made me want to reach out and see what we can do to expand our inclusiveness of all people of color.”
Retallack collaborated with Dr. Eugene Rogers who is the founding conductor of EXIGENCE, a Black and LatinX vocal ensemble. As the guest choir, EXIGENCE will hold masterclasses as part of their four day residency in Eugene.
There will also be a community forum to discuss the significance of the music being performed. More information can be found here.