The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), the entity charged with allocating city funding to arts organizations in Portland, recently announced a revised model for allocating general operating support dollars. As a result, the Museum will see a significant funding cut in fiscal year 2020-21, when the general operating support from RACC will decrease by 59% from $427,000 to $175,000. The Museum and Northwest Film Center have long collaborated with RACC on community partnerships and exhibitions that support art and artists and ensure that a broad variety of art and artistic expression is available and accessible to all visitors.
“As a leading arts institution in the city, we take our position seriously—continually reflecting and learning how to create more meaningful connections with visitors and partners,” said Museum Director Brian Ferriso.
The Museum continues to focus intentionally on equity and inclusion to ensure that programs and exhibitions reflect and inspire every member of the community. A recent project that showcases the shared values of the Museum and RACC is WE.CONSTRUCT.MARVELS.BETWEEN.MONUMENTS, an exhibition series examining art and museum power structures, value systems, institutional representation, and alternative exhibition models that included more than a dozen culturally inclusive partnerships. The Museum is also playing a leadership role in working with the Deaf and disabled community to center their perspectives and experiences.
RACC’s decision to distribute city dollars in a different manner comes at a challenging time for arts organizations large and small. The City of Portland and its residents spend less per capita in support of arts organizations than many other cities, including Seattle and Minneapolis, with just 2.18 percent of the Museum’s operating budget coming from city sources.
The Museum remains committed to sustaining and expanding programs and exhibitions that serve the entire community, and will seek funding sources to support this work. The Museum remains thankful for past and future funding support from RACC and the City of Portland.