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Summit draws art supporters


Representatives from a dozen groups develop strategy for promoting local art

Representatives from several local art groups descended on City Hall on Saturday, March 3, for the Estacada Arts Summit.

The summit was facilitated by the Nonprofit Association of Oregon and funded by the Ford Institute Leadership Program.

Its purpose was to allow the groups to share and create their vision of the arts in Estacada, learn about the pros and cons of becoming nonprofit organizations and plan for the future.

Many entities were represented at the summit, including Orchestracada, the Spiral Gallery, Performing Arts Group of Estacada, Artback, the Poetry Group, Teeny Tiny Film Festival, Mushroom Group, Winter Artisan Show, Estacada Area Arts Commission, the Estacada Public Library, Summer Celebration and the Clackamas Arts Action Alliance.

Gloria Feider Polzin, a past chair of the arts commission who is also involved in the PAGE production of “Alice in Wonderland,” was among those in attendance.

Polzin estimates that between 25 and 30 individuals representing 10 to 12 groups were present at the summit. Many of the people who attended are involved with multiple entities, she said.

“We had a nice variety of people,” Polzin said. “I think we all found it worthwhile.”

Participants divided up the various art-related activities that occur in Estacada by seasons and the age groups they cater to. It was widely assumed that most of the events happened during the summertime, but Polzin said many were surprised to see that they were spread out evenly throughout the year.

The discussion regarding nonprofit organizations was facilitated by Barb Gibbs, a senior consultant with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon. Polzin described it as “compelling.”

Obtaining nonprofit status involves money and the constant filing of reports. But attendees learned that not everybody needs to become a nonprofit. For example, Estacada Together has a nonprofit status that other entities can use through cooperative arrangements.

“The clarity for that was good for all of us to hear,” Polzin said.

Members of all the groups found out that they share some of the same obstacles, mostly a lack of funding and a small base of volunteers who are increasingly stretched thin by managing multiple competing commitments.

“None of us are doing the same thing, but we all have the same challenges,” Polzin said.

As a result of the summit, three committees have been formed and assigned to cover different areas. One is charged with developing a connection between the arts community and local schools. Another faces the task of formulating a long-term plan for arts in Estacada. The third group is focused on communications, marketing and social media.

Those committees will meet several times throughout the next few months to develop their recommendations in those areas.

Overall, Polzin characterized the event as a success.

“It seemed to have something for everyone,” she said.