Oregon Arts and Culture Go Online

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Arts and culture organizations rally to serve homebound audiences

SALEM – Laser focused on their missions despite thousands of cancelled performances, events and activities, Oregon’s arts and culture organizations are furiously working to continue serving Oregonians: Online.

A recent live-streamed performance by Cappella Romana, produced by Portland Baroque Orchestra, has now been viewed by more than 80,000 people. In a lightning speed response, Portland Baroque today revised its mission temporarily to support other arts organizations and artists as a live-streaming operation.

 “We never cease to be amazed by the creativity and resiliency of Oregon’s cultural community,” said Brian Rogers, executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. “Their financial losses due to the health crisis are staggering, yet they are actively finding ways to engage our citizens, providing inspiration and respite during these very challenging times.”

“Our goal is to keep as many artists working as possible, and to serve the greater community with extraordinary art,” said Abigail McKee, the executive director of Portland Baroque Orchestra. “The arts allow us all to transcend what is happening immediately around us, step outside of ourselves, and be a part of something bigger. PBO has the technology, and we believe it is our responsibility to share it.” More information, including how arts organizations can request a livestream, can be found at PBO.org.

Other examples of online experiences include daily “how to” video craft projects at the Pendleton Center for the Arts and a live weekly Music and Movement YouTube show hosted for young children by the One World Chorus. The Youth Music Project is encouraging youth to join its The Power of Music Virtual Concert Series by posting photos or videos of planned or spontaneous performances with hashtag #YMPPowerOfMusic.

In Central Oregon, a new website is dedicated to supporting online offerings and resources by local cultural groups. “The coronavirus pandemic is now touching every part of daily life, including our creative life, but we are a strong and caring community,” said René Mitchell, the founding director of Scalehouse, a member-supported non-profit arts organization located in Bend’s At Liberty Arts Collaborative. “This helps us stay connected during this trying time and supports the people who create so much beauty in each of our lives,” said Mitchell.

Below is a sample alphabetical list of organizations with online offerings, with many more to come:

The Architecture Foundation of Oregon has compiled a list of free at-home design lessons available for all who need them. Included are several of their Architects in Schools lessons and activities. They are also working to post several guided lesson videos hosted by dedicated members of the design community.

Following the cancellation of its ART Gala 2020, Artists Repertory Theatre asked patrons to do a virtual paddle raise by making a tax-deductible donation online.

At Liberty in Bend is planning to post a virtual tour of its current exhibition, “Jim Riswold: Russians & Americans & One Italian.”

Bullseye Glass Co. has posted general knowledge information about glass as an art form, and artist interviews as well as exhibition catalogs including Act 2, which tells the story of people who have taken up a new artwork medium later in life. Artist talks, conference sessions and exhibition are posted on their Vimeo channel

Cappella Romana recently presented a live performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Divine Liturgy” on Facebook Live (produced by Portland Baroque); the performance is now available here and has reached more than 80,000 people. You can also access the program book.

The Drexel H. Foundation in Vale, Oregon, is launching a Yard Art Competition to encourage youth and families to embrace art and a positive message: “Kindness.” The winner will receive a $100 cash prize.

Grants Pass Museum of Art is creating a virtual tour and online slide show of its upcoming exhibition “Best of the Best,” an annual show that features student artwork from 14 Southern Oregon high schools. The show will is scheduled to posted on the Museum’s website beginning April 7.

The Land Trust Alliance has created a thread in its Ask-an-Expert Discussion Forum  to share best practices and lessons learned.

Literary Arts’ The Archive Project, a partnership with OPB, features engaging talks, lectures, and readings from more than 35 years of Literary Arts programming in Portland. 

Metropolitan Youth Symphony Music Director Raul Gomez is doing Virtual Hangouts with students during regularly scheduled Saturday rehearsal time. Gomez provides a view of the score, plays recordings and tells stories about the about the composer while taking live chat questions from students. Here is a link to the first session on March 14.

In addition to its Dear Oregon blog, and many digital content platforms, The Oregon

Historical Society is inviting Oregonians to document this important moment in history by sharing their real-time thoughts. What stories of Oregonians from the past or present are giving you courage? How are you spending your days in this strange new “normal?” What have you learned about yourself, your friends and your family that is giving you strength amidst chaos? Mail entries to 1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland OR 97205.

As a reminder of the political process still under way, Oregon Humanities invites Oregonians to share the things they’re keeping in their hearts and minds for the upcoming elections in Oregon and across the nation through Dear Stranger, a letter-exchange project that connects Oregonians from different parts of the state through the mail.

The Oregon Humanities Center at the University of Oregon produces an interview show called UO Today. Distinguished scholars and UO professors and administrators sit down for a half-hour interview about their work. The shows are posted on our YouTube channel and recently as podcasts. The channel also features lectures given by guest speakers.

The One World Chorus is launching an online Music & Movement program for pre-K through early elementary-aged youth. The program, to air live at 10:30 a.m. on Fridays on YouTube, is called The Big Up Show. Here is a preview episode.

The School of Arts and Communication at Oregon State University will showcase student work and virtual exhibitions for graduating BFA students in the coming weeks and months on its Instagram account. The goal is to have as many eyes on student work as possible.

The Pendleton Center for the Arts is posting online tours of its galleries and how-to craft projects for all ages. They hope to post one or two activities per day.

The Portland Area Theatre Alliance set up a valentine fund for individual theatre artists

Portland Baroque Orchestra is temporarily changing its mission to offer free live-streaming services to other Portland-area arts organizations (with flexibility about other locations, too). They will provide a live-streaming kit. Viewership of their events (which included a Cappella Romana performance, has already exceeded 100,000 people.

While Portland Piano International fans will wait until August for postponed Anderson & Roe concerts, they can view a video chat by the artists now.

Portland Radio Project announced that Jeremy Wilson, a Portland musician and a founder of the Jeremy Wilson Foundation (JWF) Musicians Emergency Healthcare Fund, is rallying the local community to aid with the financial and medical burdens that the outbreak of COVID-19 is bringing on music professionals in Oregon. JWF started a GoFundMe campaign and you can find details here. Please visit the GoFundMe page to donate.

The Risk-Reward Festival has announced a live stream of Unit Souzou’s performance at 7 p.m. on Saturday March 21. Risk/Reward is producing the full-length version of this piece in the fall.

Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford has posted readings, a poetry film, poems accompanied on harp by Bethany Lee and a recent interview with the Oregon State Poetry Festival. He also has poems and photographs posted on Instagram with interactive poetry activities to come.

The High Desert Museum is giving the community a regular glimpse into the Museum with a Museum Moment on its Facebook page every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 p.m.

The Youth Music Project is encouraging young people to grab an instrument (or any rhythm-making object) and post a photo or video of their brilliant home performance with hashtag #YMPPowerOfMusic to join The Power of Music Virtual Concert Series.

Washed Ashore’s newest sculpture, a California Condor made from marine debris, will be placed in Portland’s Oregon Zoo in April. A full length movie about Washed Ashore is posted here. Their work was recently featured in The New York Times.

The Community Center for the Performing Arts at the W.O.W. Hall will present LIVE STREAM: Full Moonalice: The Time Has Come Revue (Moonalice + T Sisters + The New Chambers Brothers) from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25.

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About the Oregon Art Commission

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 by 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:  www.oregonartscommission.org.

About the Oregon Cultural Trust

The Oregon Cultural Trust is an innovative, statewide private-public program raising significant new funds to support and protect Oregon’s arts, humanities and heritage. In addition to the creation of a permanent endowment, funds are distributed annually through three multifaceted, wide-ranging grant programs. No other state in the nation has a program like the Oregon Cultural Trust, which has been ranked with the bottle bill and the vote-by-mail bill as among Oregon’s most forward-thinking public policy measures. More information at culturaltrust.org.

About Author

Carrie Kikel is the Communications Manager for Oregon’s Arts Department, which includes the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. The Oregon Arts Commission provides statewide grant funding to artists, arts organizations and arts programs. The Cultural Trust raises public and private awareness and investment in arts, heritage, history, humanities and preservation.

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