As artists of all stripes continue to adjust to the reality of this pandemic and the impact it has had on their ability to create and earn a living from their work, two local arts organizations are stepping up with offers of financial help.
Both the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), the local organization that doles out grants to artists and nonprofits in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, and the Nat Turner Project, a group that provides support to Portland artists that are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC), have started programs to help ease the financial burden on the local creative community.
RACC has two options available, including a call for acquisitions for the Visual Chronicle of Portland, their collection of artwork on paper that portrays "artists' perceptions of what makes the city of Portland, Oregon unique." The pieces in this collection are displayed on a rotating basis in city and county buildings.
Working with a budget of $15,000, the organization is hoping to spread that money as far as possible and are asking that the submitted works are priced no higher than $1,000. As well, they are prioritizing artists that are "not well represented in the Chronicle" and BIPOC artists. The deadline for submissions is this coming Wednesday May 27 at 5 pm.
RACC also launched a new initiative called Support Beam that will provide funding toward the creation of new work—over a period of three to six months—that will become part of the Portable Works Public Art Collection, which, again, will be displayed at city and county buildings. Unlike the Chronicle, there are no restrictions as to what medium the work is in and there are no themes or prompts the artists have to follow.
The budget for Support Beam is a little healthier too, with $70,000 earmarked for new acquisitions, with selected artists receiving between $3,000 and $5,000. RACC is prioritizing artists that don't already have work in the Portable Works collection and BIPOC artists. The deadline for Support Beam submissions isn't until Wednesday, June 3 at 5 pm.
As for the Nat Turner Project, the organization teamed up with A Black Art Ecology of Portland to start a relief program specifically for BIPOC artists in Portland. The arts groups are offering 36 stipends of $200 each to successful applicants. Not as much money as what RACC has to play with, but helpful nonetheless. And there are no restrictions on what the funds can be used for. Applications for this program are open now and close this coming Monday, May 25.
Correction: When this article was first published, it listed PICA as the organization behind A Black Ecology of Portland. In reality, PICA is only of many partners supporting the project, which is overseen by artist and professor Sharita Towne. We have edited the piece to reflect this and apologize sincerely for the error.