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Washington County Museum loses grant from Arts Commission for not focusing on arts enough

The Washington County Museum won’t be receiving a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission that it received last year, after the commission ruled that it and several other former grant winners weren’t invested enough in the arts.

Last year, the Washington County Museum received $3,500 as part of the Oregon Arts Commission’s operating support and arts learning grant.

But in March, as the museum was preparing to apply for the gradnt again, the museum received a letter that it would not be eligible to apply for the grant again, saying that the commission had ruled that art must be a core mission of an organization in order to receive grant funding.

Washington County Museum wasn’t alone. The High Desert Museum in central Oregon and Oregon Public Broadcasting, also were told they would no longer receive grant funding from the commission, according to the Associated Press.

“I understand their perspective and their decision,” said Mark Harmon, executive director for the Washington County Museum.

Harmon said that the grant’s loss would not have a serious impact on the museum.

“The challenge for any nonprofit is that a lot of foundations and funds are refining their criteria, making funding more challenging to obtain,” Harmon said.

The museum relies on grant funding and donations from the community in order to keep going, Harmon said.

The loss of the Oregon Arts Commission grants bring the need for community support into the spotlight, he said.

“We deeply depend on the support of the community, both individuals and corporations” Harmon said. “We cannot fully reach our potential without the support of the communities that we serve. Our hope is that everybody who lives in Washington County would become a member or a donor or help in some form or fashion ... Some people donate as low as $50, others in the hundreds of thousands."