2015. What a year.
Expanded staffing for arts and culture agencies, alongside increased grants to the cultural community here in Oregon; increased funding for the NEA and NEH, as well as arts-friendly education reforms in Washington DC.
With all this momentum behind us we are excited to welcome the possibilities for further progress in 2016.
The Cultural Advocacy Coalition recently had the privilege of sitting down with Governor Kate Brown and her policy adviser on arts and culture, Vince Porter. Governor Brown was quick to identify the importance of the arts to a well-rounded education and our discussion with her was a fruitful dialogue that we look forward to continuing.
When we met with Governor Brown we encouraged her to continue capital construction investments in the cultural sector and invited her to increase Oregon’s arts funding from the current $.54/per capita up to the national average of $1.14/per capita.
We know with budget shortfalls and competing priorities—we have our work cut out for us. But we also know, what you know: increased state funding in the cultural sector supports learning, working, and living in stronger communities throughout Oregon.
Oregonians themselves value arts and culture, and participate in culture at one of the highest rates in the nation, according to a 2008 study by Americans for the Arts, which ranked Oregonians #2 nationally for their individual participation in arts and culture.
This comes as no surprise to communities stretching from Burns to Bend and Coos Bay to Astoria who have invested in arts and culture as an economic and community development strategy, and have experienced a renaissance within marginalized areas and historic downtowns.
Increasing spending in arts and culture produces a return on investment that is both economic and social. Regions who have made arts and culture a cornerstone of their communities are not only the beneficiaries of cultural tourism, they are also infused with meaningful cultural resources which support livability, education, health care, historic preservation and civic engagement, while providing increased access to arts and culture for underserved populations.
The arts matter in Oregon and they matter to Oregonians. With your help we will continue to strengthen access to arts and culture and increase opportunities to understand our heritage, connect with community and live creatively in 2016.
With my best,