Trio of Washington County projects catch eye of arts and culture council

Bag and Baggage Productions of Hillsboro, one of three Washington County groups to land grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) this month, will use its $3,211 payday to support the staging of 'Dangerous Liaisons' at The Venetian Theatre next spring.

Directed by Bag and Baggage regular Patrick Spike, with costumes and sets designed by Gregory Pulver, 'Dangerous Liaisons,' an Olivier Award-winning drama, tells the story of rivals Marquise De Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont, who use sex and passion as weapons in a game of revenge and power.

The show debuts May 9, 2012, and continues through May 27.

'This is our first project grant from RACC and comes on the heels of two other major grants for the company,' said Bag and Baggage artistic director Scott Palmer.

The other awards included a $10,000 matching challenge grant from the Collins Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation.

RACC awarded a record sum, $692,268, to artistic projects scheduled to take place in 2012, including grants to 76 organizations and schools, as well as 77 individual artists in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.

Also receiving grants were two Beaverton groups. Barnes Elementary School, part of the Beaverton School District, received $4,128 for its Arts-in-Schools program, and the Beaverton Arts Commission won a $5,700 grant for its ongoing work to promote the arts in the City of Beaverton.

During October and November, 63 volunteers serving on 17 different panels evaluated grant proposals based on artistic merit, community involvement and fiscal soundness.

'We were amazed and inspired by the proposals we received this year,' said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of RACC. 'With many extraordinary projects in store for 2012, I am especially proud that RACC continues to invest in a diverse mix of new and emerging artists, including 86 grants to artists and organizations that have never received project grant support from RACC before.'

The total dollar amount of grants awarded was 29 percent more than last year's total of $535,806.

Demand for project awards has been increasing steadily over the last five years, Damrosch noted. RACC received 312 applications for 2012 grants, up 6 percent over 2011. Proposals were submitted in one of three categories: artistic focus, community participation and arts in schools.

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