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News Release
A My Voice Music student.
A My Voice Music student.
53 organizations share $265,000 in Arts Build Communities awards to address community needs through the arts (Photo) - 02/07/24

Salem, Oregon – Fifty-three organizations have been awarded $5,000 Arts Build Communities grants, totaling $265,000, to address a community issue or opportunity through the arts. The Oregon Arts Commission’s Arts Build Community program is committed to promoting arts access for underserved audiences and targets broad geographic impact throughout the state. 

Among the many notable organizations and projects to receive grant funds for FY2024 is the Artist Mentorship Program, which supports Portland-area youth through mentorship, music and arts education as they navigate homelessness, trauma and uncertainty. 

“These grants help arts and other community-based organizations address a local community problem, issue or need through the arts," said Arts Commission Chair Subashini Ganesan-Forbes, who led one of three review panels. “All these critical art-centered projects are creative endeavors collectively conceived by local citizens that further strengthen relationships and enrich the rich tapestry of communities across Oregon.”

The grants also spark and leverage many other investments and resources, serving as a catalyst for greater economic and civic impact. 

In recent years, the Arts Build Communities program has generated more than $600,000 in additional community investment, much of it representing salaries paid, as well as products and services purchased in the funded communities. The grants are made possible through a funding partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

The FY2024 recipients are:

Anima Mundi Productions, Phoenix

To support art mentorship and a gallery exhibition for Latinx teenagers in Jackson County. This project is a collaboration with Unite Oregon's Forward Youth program and is presented in tandem with the premiere of "Dreams Have No Borders," an opera-turned-film about the plight of undocumented immigrants in the community. Funds will be used to hire artist Adrian Chavez as youth mentor and project coordinator.

Artist Mentorship Program,Portland        

To support homeless youth, ages 15-25, through mentorship, music and arts education as they navigate homelessness, trauma and uncertainty. The funds will help pay for art and music supplies and equipment, professional recording studio sessions, live performance opportunities and vital resources, such as meals, clothing, first aid and hygiene needs at the Artist Mentorship Program Drop-In Center. 

Bag&Baggage Productions, Hillsboro

To support a production of Moliere’s "Tartuffe," to be presented at the Tom Hughes Civic Plaza in downtown Hillsboro June 7-22. “Tartuffe” has broad appeal and will be free to all, while actively engaging priority populations. Funds will be used for artist fees for performers and designers.

BodyVox,Portland

To support the BodyVox Community Engagement Program, offering free dance classes in Portland neighborhoods that need healthy and educational extracurricular activity options for children at schools, aftercare and community centers. Funds will be used to pay professional teaching artists.

Cada Casa International,Portland

To support the expansion of the Bigger Than Hip Hop program, which will provide greater access to the arts for underserved students by establishing a new art engagement program at Leodis V. McDaniel High School. Funds will be used to support inclusive engagement with underserved students, to train and compensate instructors and to purchase art supplies and equipment, in addition to showcasing student artwork at events and throughout the community.

Centro Cultural Del Condado De Washington,Cornelius

To support the Cultural Enrichment for All project, including a series of cultural events centered around Latino cultural heritage and traditions. Funds will be used for artist fees, supplies for arts-based activities and marketing materials.

DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon,Eugene

To support a film festival March 8-10 at the Eugene Art House, with the goal of increasing awareness of the historical and current experiences of Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, as well as the experiences of others unlike oneself. Funds will be used for filmmaker expenses, including submission fees, airfare and lodging.

enTaiko,Portland

To bring Japanese taiko drum performances and hands-on drum workshops to libraries in rural areas of Oregon. Funds will be used for the transportation of students and drums, logistics for touring rural areas and drum workshop fees.

Eugene-Springfield Youth Orchestras, Eugene

To support the expansion and continuation of the String Academy program, which provides beginning instruction in violin, viola, cello and string bass to students in grades 3-5. Funds will be used to help expand the program to four low-income schools.

Eugene Symphony,Eugene

To support youth concerts and the Link Up BEST for Success After School program. Funds will be used to defray artistic and operations costs for the program, which teaches music literacy and provides performance opportunities for more than 2,600 students in grades 3-5 in Eugene, Springfield, Bethel and surrounding areas.

Fishtrap,Enterprise

To support the organization’s winter reading program, where community members read and explore a shared book through free programming. Events include the kick-off, book discussions, lectures, workshops, celebrations, an art exhibit opening and readings. Funds will be used to purchase 950 copies of this year’s selected book and pay for a presenter honorarium and related materials.

Fuse Theatre Ensemble, Portland

To support the ensemble’s disability access project. Funds will be used to add live captioning for all productions. It will also pay for more comfortable seating options for people of all abilities, as well as seating designed for ADHD-friendly access and the creation of a disability-focused theatre production.

Gather:Make:Shelter, Portland

To support The Sketchbook Project, a free series of drawing and creative writing workshops for people experiencing houselessness and poverty. The series will include 42 workshops across seven agencies and alternative shelter villages, culminating in a two-month exhibition. The project aims to nurture personal and artistic development and empower participants to build self-confidence. Funds will be used to pay instructors and purchase art supplies.

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre Northwest, Portland

To support the two-day festival “Mother/Other @ Las Adelitas” at the Las Adelitas affordable housing complex in Portland’s Cully neighborhood in March. The festival includes free movement classes, a pop-up market with local vendors and a site-specific dance performance. Funds will be used for artist fees, event staff, bilingual marketing efforts, production expenses and event insurance.

Huitzilopochtli, Woodburn

To support the spring, summer and fall seasons of the Aztec Dance Circle program. The grant will be used for transportation costs to public performances and Aztec cultural powwows. Funding will also help pay for instruments for new participants, provide artist/contracted fees and help fund two community celebrations for the Dia de los Muertos event in November, as well as the Huitzilopochtli anniversary Aztec powwow hosted in Woodburn in December.

In A Landscape, Portland

To support the organization’s concert and pie social in Fort Rock during the summer season. Funds will be used to subsidize tickets for local residents, museum access for ticket holders, accessible shuttles to the concert site, pie social expenses at the Fort Rock Grange and staff expenses.

Instaballet, Eugene

To support the incorporation of live music throughout the performance season. Funds will be used to pay musicians a living wage and pay for audio equipment to record and enhance music at educational outreach events, as well as instruments for student use.

Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, Joseph

To support the Wallowa County Livestock Art Exhibit, designed to serve as a bridge in the community by fostering unity, understanding and shared appreciation for local ranching heritage and creativity. Funds will be used to support exhibit planning, materials, web design, marketing, event costs, art instructor fees and curatorial fees.

Keizer Homegrown Theatre, Keizer

To support the theatre’s Youth Conservatory, a free theater production training program for high school youth and young adults who learn all aspects of the industry and produce at least one play per year. Funds will be used to hire professional instructors and pay for scripts and royalties.

Lane Arts Council, Eugene

To support First Friday ArtWalk events this summer. Funds will be used to hire cultural producers to develop, curate and provide event programming that focuses on LGBTQIA+ Communities in June and Native & Indigenous Communities in August. 

The events will be led by and authentically present and celebrate artists connected with these identity groups.

Many Hats Collaboration, Portland

To create a new play development process with deaf playwright Monique Holt that fully integrates music and artists who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as ASL interpreters, opening new pathways for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences, while building new modes of collaboration for artists of all abilities. Funds will be used for artist and interpreter fees and materials.

MetroEast Community Media, Gresham

To support Food Foray, a community-focused television program highlighting the role of ethnic groceries in addressing food security in East Multnomah County. Funds will support the program completion and public premiere events with accompanying community engagement initiatives.

My Voice Music, Portland

To pilot the AMPLIFY Affinity program to provide two groups of BIPOC middle school students the opportunity to form a band and write their own songs. Teaching artists trained in trauma-informed facilitation will lead students through an exploration of their life experiences, build connections and establish a supportive community for students to grow as artists and leaders. Funds will be used to pay for teaching staff and contractor fees.

Open Hearts Open Minds, Portland

To support Up A Creek Theatre, which cultivates the creative expression of incarcerated women through biweekly dialogue circles and performances based on their lived experiences. Funds will be used to pay for facilitator fees, costumes, books, scripts, a videographer and a photographer.

Oregon Arts Watch, Portland

To support the Cultural Hubs series, which profiles essential cultural centers, prioritizing rural and underserved areas and the ways they uniquely serve and reflect their communities. To be published in 2024, these stories will reach 15,000 people and provide the hubs greater visibility, build audiences and generate economic revenue. Funds will be used for professional fees and travel expenses.

Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland

To support the theatre’s after-school program, including salaries and teaching artist wages. The theatre partners with three low-income schools to offer weekly extra-curricular ballet and creative movement classes throughout the school year.

Oregon Coast Youth Symphony Festival Association, Newport

To support festival activities and revitalize and expand high school orchestra programs and the statewide festival music community. Funds will be used to pay expenses for participating students and teachers.

Oregon East Symphony, Pendleton

To support the symphony’s free-admission spring and summer concerts, providing access to symphony music for all who want to attend. Funds will be used for publicity and administration.

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Portland

To support The Burned Piano Project: Finding Music In the Deafening Noise of Hatred, a trauma-informed healing exhibition featuring new musical instruments and visual art created from the remains of a piano incinerated in an intentionally racist fire that destroyed the home of a family who belonged to Portland’s Jewish community. Funds will support artist fees.

Outside the Frame, Portland

To support a free quarterly series of intensive workshops that cover all aspects of film production for the benefit of youth who are unhoused in Oregon.

Pelican Bay Arts Association, Brookings

To support the Artist Support & Opportunity Project to nurture artists and makers with projects and events that will help them market and sell their work at Manley Art Center.

Funds will pay for staff, marketing, supplies and equipment. 

Peruvian Cultural Festival and Events, Beaverton

To support the ReinventArte! project to expand access to arts and culture education through Peruvian heritage learning, as part of the Arts and Culture for All initiative. Funds will be used for art supplies and highly qualified arts instructors.

Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Portland

To support the growth and sustainability of Between You and Me, an eight-week high school-devised theater program. Funds will be used to pay BIPOC teaching artists and program director fees.

Portland Playhouse, Portland

To support the Building A Community of Care initiative to assist creative teams and audiences during the production, as well as the run of two shows that address legacies of racial trauma. Funds will be used to pay consultants for creative teams and conversation facilitators to support audience discussions.

Portland Street Art Alliance, Portland

To support Streets of Hope, an initiative that will create a houseless advocacy mural and documentation project, while working directly with members of the unhoused community in Portland. The goal is to support livability for all, provide work opportunities and agency to people who are unhoused, and help dispel stigma around homelessness. Funds will be used to pay for mural artist fees, staffing, supplies and equipment.

Profile Theatre Project, Portland

To support In Dialogue, a season-long partnership between Profile Theatre and culturally specific organizations throughout the Portland metro area that explores home and belonging for Americans with intersectional identities and engages a wide range of community members in digital and in-person arts programs. Funds will be used for artist and presenter fees, marketing and outreach expenses.

Rasika Society for Arts of India, Hillsboro

To support the development of the children/youth orchestra of Indian Music: RASIKA India Music Ensemble to foster creativity, cultural diversity and artistic self-expression. Funds will support music learning, assessing talented children/youth in the community, forming the ensemble, rehearsals and performances.

Risk-Reward, Portland

To support the Portland premiere of dani tirrell’s “Leviticus or Love and to walk amongst HUMANS” (Book II), a new dance performance centering on care for Black bodies, to be performed in the historically Black Albina neighborhood. Funds will be used to pay for artist fees, venue expenses, community outreach and documentation.

Riverbend Live!, Winston

To support a summer concert series, including a combo Cowboy Poetry and Western Music night, along with a free, six-week youth theater summer day camp. Funds will pay for operation expenses, staffing, materials and more.

Rogue Valley Wind Ensemble, Ashland

To support community enrichment and engagement efforts, allowing access to new venues that will increase the exposure of broader audiences. Funds will be used for venue fees and artist stipends for lower-income musicians.

Scalehouse, Bend

To support the Breaking the Bubble Cultural Education Initiative in partnership with the Warm Springs Community Action Team and the Tananawit Arts Collective. Warm Springs students will create and exhibit visual and video-based artwork at Scalehouse Gallery from January through February and create connections with Bend-LaPine students. Funds will support the rental space, outreach efforts to schools and material costs.

Siletz Bay Music Festival, Lincoln City

To support two local performances of “My Words Are My Sword,” an orchestral music drama written and performed by Black poet and actor Darius Wallace, exploring blackness through story, monologue, poetry and song. The piece is a fusion of hip-hop, jazz and classical styles composed through a two-year collaboration between the artists and music director. Funds will be used to present one of the concerts free of charge to local schools during Black History Month.

Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Otis

To support two poetry readings with U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón. These free, public events will be held in two rural communities at Nestucca K-8 School in Tillamook County and at the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde reservation in Yamhill/Polk County. Funds will be used to help pay for the poet laureate's speaking fee and will be matched seven to one through contributed and in-kind donations.

The Arc Portland Metro, Portland

To support Club Mosaic, a multidimensional art program delivered in support of personal expression, individual empowerment and economic opportunity for adult Portland metro residents who experience intellectual/developmental disabilities. Funds will be used for art program teachers, program management staff, supplies and costs associated with the sale of artwork.

Theatre Diaspora, Portland

To support a collaboration with local Asian American Pacific Islander communities to create an interactive visual novel that leads participants through a cultural adventure, where participants’ decisions affect the outcome of their journey. Characters and situations will be written based on authentic cultural perspectives. This interactive visual novel will be free to participants.

The Red Door Project, Portland

To support The Evolve Experience in Beaverton, a performance-based event that addresses the conflict between our justice systems and the communities they serve, the effects of which include racial profiling, disparities in sentencing and other undue harms that disproportionately impact low-income communities of color, particularly Black and Native communities. Funds will be used to compensate actors and stage management.

The Vanport Mosaic, Portland

To support the production of a self-guided audio tour of Albina, exploring the legacy of the Portland branch of the Black Panther Party through the voices of the founding members and impacted community members. The project includes a participatory oral history project in the winter, an audio tour production in the spring and a public event in the fall. Funds will pay community historians, media producers and young memory activists.

Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Portland

To support “ACCESS 3A: Making Live Performance Events Accessible,” an accessible daytime, weekday concert and a three-hour workshop and mixer for Portland Metro performing arts organizations, designed to demystify disability access and encourage cooperation across performing arts organizations to build a more inclusive sector. Funds will be used to produce the concert and support the workshop, including honorariums for speakers.

Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Portland

To support a March production of Sanctuary City, a play that tells the story of two young undocumented immigrants. Funds will be used to pay artist wages.

Unlock the Arts, Portland

To support the continuation of expressive writing kinship at MacLaren Youth Authority, focusing on adverse childhood experiences, redemption, personal growth and the platform of creative expression as empowering and therapeutic. Funds will pay for teacher stipends, returned resident guest speaker stipends, gas and supplies. 

Vibe of Portland, Portland

To support the expansion of offerings at Vibe Music Studio in St. Johns and the Portland Child Art Studio in northwest Portland, with both locations serving low-income families. Funds will help provide 2,250 hours of arts instruction to young people through a weekly class during the school year and two 10-week summer camps.

Write Around Portland, Portland

To support Resonate, a free creative writing and publishing program for people of color. Funds will be used to support the cost of 36 online and in-person workshops, including writing supplies, journals, space rental, volunteer training and support, an anthology of writers’ works, a community reading and related staffing and infrastructure expenses.

Young Audiences of Oregon Inc., Portland

To support Teen Career Connections programs that pair students of diverse backgrounds and similar interests with an adult professional engineer in the LiveSET program and an adult professional designer in the SH/FT Fashion Design program to provide experience and mentorship. Funds will help ensure these programs remain free and equitable for all participants and pay for professional artists and venues.

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The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. 


The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon Legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at artscommission.oregon.gov.

View more news releases from Oregon Arts Commission.