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Recession cuts into arts council grants

'Innovation Prize' boosts local movies, video projects

Before 2009 was over, the Regional Arts and Culture Council awarded more than $400,000 to more than 90 artistic projects for the new year.

The financial support of $412,895 comes from the city of Portland, Metro and Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties, as well as RACC's Work for Art program. It was $50,000 less than the previous year, due to shortfalls in the hotel/motel tax revenue, according to a Regional Arts and Culture Council press release.

'Now more than ever, it is essential that we invest in the arts,' says Eloise Damrosch, RACC executive director. 'Artistic projects like these make our community a better place, and they help support the growing number of creative individuals and organizations in our region.'

Forty-two organizations and 48 individuals benefited from the RACC grants for 2010 - almost half of them new organizations/individuals on the arts scene. A record number of 263 applications were received. A Regional Arts and Culture Council grant typically funds 25 percent to 50 percent of a project's cost.

An anonymous donor helped RACC establish the 'Innovation Prize,' a $2,500 grant for innovative, media-oriented projects that extend the boundaries of animated, documentary, experimental and/or narrative motion picture arts. The first recipient was Alain LeTourneau for 'Empty Quarter,' a 60-minute black and white experimental film about ranching and farming communities in Southeastern Oregon.

Among other projects funded are: Opera Theatre Oregon, 'Hercules Vs. Vampires'; POV Dance, architecturally based dance at Ford Building; Theatre in the Grove, a children's theater program in Forest Grove; artists Devon Allen, M.J. Cody, Carlos Alexis Cruz, Melody Own and Joe Schneider, for new works; Portland Bastille Festival; Disability Pride Art and Culture Festival; and Cascade Festival of African Films.

Also, RACC has announced its artists workshops for 2010. They are:

'Get More by Selling Less,' Jan. 30; 'Presenting Yourself Professionally: A Panel Discussion,' Feb. 6; 'Fundamentals of Grant Writing for Artists,' March 6; 'Copyrights for Artists and Creative Professionals,' April 10; 'Contracts for Artists and Creative Professionals,' April 17; 'How'd You Get that Public Art Gig?' May 1; 'Digital Image Basics,' June 5; and 'Digital Photo Editing,' June 12.

Workshops are $30 ('Presenting Yourself Professionally,' $20). Registration is available at www.racc.org/workshops. For more information call 503-823-5111.

- Jason Vondersmith