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Arts Build Community grants awarded

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Participants in Youth Arts for Change perform an original play titled In My Humble Opinion. Youth Arts for Change, a program of the Clackamas County Arts Alliance, collaborates with community partners to engage underserved youth through the arts.

Art as a medium to rally community around a shared need is reflected in 34 Oregon projects awarded $200,000 in 2015 Art Build Communities grants from the Oregon Arts Commission.

Vacant downtown storefronts become celebrations of community in Corvallis; incarcerated youth fulfill treatment requirements by sharing their stories through pictures or performance in Clackamas County; and in the city of Enterprise, the Fishtrap writing workshop inspires 1,700 people to read Luis Alberto Urrea’s “Into the Beautiful North” before engaging in discussions, events and activities that explore Latino issues.

Now in its 19th year, the Arts Build Community program targets broad geographic impact and arts access for underserved communities. More than half of the 2015 awards go to communities outside of the Portland area.

“This program demonstrates the amazing power of art to bring people together around a common purpose,” said Commission Chair Julie Vigeland, who led the review panel. “Due to a melding of this program with our former Cultural Tourism grants, we were able to award the largest grant total in the program’s history. The award amounts are relatively modest, but the impact is huge.”

The 2015 recipients include Clackamas County Arts Alliance and One World Chorus.

Clackamas County Arts Alliance based in Oregon City was awarded $7,000 for its Youth Arts for Change program, which gives teens in the Clackamas County Juvenile Department and Parrott Creek residential facility a unique way to fulfill probation/treatment requirements. Working with artists, counselors and peers, adjudicated youth publicly share their stories via a theatre performance or drawing exhibit, building community connections and social skills. Funds will support programming, professional theater internships and a new prevention partnership for rural middle-school youth.

One World Chorus based in Lake Oswego was awarded $5,580. The chorus has partnered with Portland’s King School and the Oregon Trail Academy in Boring to bring a new collaborative chorus program to both schools. Third through fifth grade students at each site will be taught the same songs from a broad range of musical genres for 16 consecutive weeks. Between January and May 2015, students will share musical ideas via Skype, email and video. The culminating performance will be in May, at Oregon Trail, where both groups will perform together for the community.

To see a complete list of 2015 recipients, visit www.oregonartscommission.org.

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