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Despite economic challenges, Oregonians continue to support the arts

March 1, 2010

Two recent articles in the Oregonian highlight the state of Oregon's arts and culture community.

On Sunday, critic D.K. Row published "Persuasion in the arts equation," an examination of the economic climate and how it has affected corporate giving to arts organizations in the Portland area.

The recession, Row writes, has led to a decline in overall giving; Portland is host to few large companies and the ones we have are seeing decreased revenues. So while "Portland's modest corporate for supporting the arts...are similar to most American cities," the total amount they give is smaller. But Row also notes that Portland's many small and mid-sized businesses are likely to give in other ways, such as in-kind donations, which aren't captured by many statistics.

And the Oregon Cultural Trust remains a shining example of Oregonians' commitment to the arts, as reported by the Oregonian editorial board Sunday, February 28. The Trust offers Oregon taxpayers a tax credit for the full amount of their donation, and since its foundation in 2001, the Trust has seen donations increase every year except 2008. In 2009, the Trust reported a 10% increase - nearly one-quarter of those gifts were from first-time donors.

The Trust has so far distributed $8 million to Oregon arts and culture organizations, supporting groups like the Library Foundation of Newberg Oregon, Ballet Rogue in Medford, and the Pendleton Round-Up.

Continuing to support arts and culture organizations across Oregon, the editorial board writes, our giving "expands what it means to participate in the arts."