Cultural Trust Awards More Than $3.4 Million to 138 Oregon Cultural Organizations


A new library for Grants Pass, the restoration of an iconic ski lodge in Sisters, Montavilla Jazz Festival’s 10th anniversary celebration and multimedia documentation of the Talent community’s rise from the ashes of the Almeda Fire – those are just a few of the important arts, heritage and humanities projects to be supported by FY2023 grant allocations from the Oregon Cultural Trust.   

FY2023 grant awards totaling an historic $3,422,748 will be distributed to 138 arts, heritage and humanities organizations across the state, the Cultural Trust announced on August 15. Made possible by generous Oregonians who invested a record $5.7 million in the Cultural Tax Credit in FY2022, this year’s awards bring the cumulative total of Cultural Trust grants to almost $40 million since its founding in 2001.

The FY2023 awards include a total of $855,687 to the Cultural Trust’s five statewide partners (Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office); and $855,687 to 45 County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions – who regrant an annual average of 450 additional awards in their communities.

An archival photo from the University of Oregon’s “Outliers and Outlaws” project documenting the lesbian community in Eugene from the 1960s through the 1990s. A $35,680 Cultural Trust award will support the production and distribution of a documentary film

In addition, $1,711,374 in competitive Cultural Development Program grants will go directly to 88 cultural organizations serving most geographic regions of the state. 

“It is astounding and so gratifying to see our funding for Oregon culture grow every year,” said Niki Price, chair of the Cultural Trust board. “Through the pandemic and unstable economic times, Oregonians remain committed to preserving and strengthening organizations that bring such beauty and meaning to our lives.” 

“We have now surpassed 10,000 grant awards since the Cultural Trust was formed,” said Brian Rogers, executive director. “And thanks to the incredible success of the new Celebrate Oregon! license plate, which funds promotion of the Cultural Tax Credit, we are poised to engage even more Oregonians in the future. We are confident the best is yet to come for arts, heritage and humanities in Oregon.” 

The FY2023 Cultural Development Program recipients feature 11 organizations receiving their first-ever Cultural Trust award, 65 percent of which are located outside of Portland. First-time recipients include: 

  • Enlightened Theatrics, Salem: $17,983

To support a holiday family production of “SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL” comprised of professional, community and student artists.

  • Friends of the Opera House, Elgin: $12,599

To support the Friends of the Opera House in offering specialized training for its actors by inviting acting coaches, vocal instructors, choreographers and visual artists to workshop with the community theater. 

  • PassinArt: A Theatre Company, Portland: $37,336

To support the 2023 Pacific Northwest Multi-Cultural Readers Series & Film Festival Aug. 18 through 21. The Festival will include live theatre, readings, films, youth workshops, artist development workshops and panels showcasing the new work of BIPOC storytellers from Oregon and across the country. The hybrid festival also will include a gala and cultural and civic celebrations, creating city-wide access and enthusiasm for this exciting body of work.

  • Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, Hillsboro: $13,613 
The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro, a first-time Cultural Trust award recipient, will receive $13,613 to support activity sheets, maps, brochures, and trail signs available on-site and online.

To support the creation of activity sheets, maps, brochures and trail signs available on-site and online, as well as staff training for how to best use the new resources with the visiting public.

Other Cultural Development recipient highlights include: 

  • Friends of Santiam Pass Ski Lodge, Sisters: $29,080
The newly restored log entry of Santiam Pass Ski Lodge near Sisters. A Cultural Trust award will support the repair and restoration of the Lodge’s foundation, chimney, and fireplace.

To support the restoration of historic Santiam Pass Ski Lodge through the repair and restoration of its iconic stone foundation, chimney and fireplace. 

  • Music Workshop, Portland: $22,623
My Voice Music’s $29,793 Cultural Trust award will support hiring a new operations manager to help launch an East Portland music center and develop programs in rural Oregon.

To support access to free, multicultural music education resources for Oregon K-8 music teachers and their students by creating inspirational and culturally relevant music history and appreciation programming, then working with school administrators and music teachers to implement the programming into their curriculum.

  • Talent Historical Society, Talent: $8,451
Only the shell of the historic Malmgren Garage in Talent survived the Almeda Fire. The fire and community rebuilding spirit will be documented in a multimedia project by the Talent Historical Society, supported by a Cultural Trust Award.

To support the Talent Historical Society in documenting the Almeda Fire, its impact on the community of Talent and the town’s recovery to preserve and share. The Historical Society has been collecting stories, images and videos in the voices of residents in two languages. The history with be shared with the public in a book, an exhibit in the museum and a portable “Fire Remnants” exhibit. 

  • Josephine Community Library Foundation, Grants Pass: $31,175

To support the purchase of a centrally located piece of property for the future home of the new Grants Pass library branch and a community commons that will more fully meet the information, culture, technology and community gathering needs of local residents.

Antonio Lopez and Kyra Laubacher dance at an Instaballet showcase. The Eugene troupe will hire its first executive director with help from an $18,547 Cultural Trust award. 

The 88 Cultural Development grant awards range from $5,000 to $38,000 with an average award of $19,396. Sixty-six percent of the 133 eligible applications were funded.

Cultural Development Program awards fund nonprofit projects that increase access to culture, invest in organizational capacity, support community creativity and provide historic preservation. Applications were reviewed and scored by peer review panels; final award amounts were determined and approved by the Cultural Trust Board of Directors at its July 28 meeting. More than 60 percent of Cultural Trust funding (including awards to County and Tribal Coalitions) is awarded outside of the Portland Metro area. 

See a full list of County and Tribal Cultural Coalition allocations.

See a list of the 88 Cultural Development recipients, alphabetical by region

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Created in 2001 by the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established as an ongoing funding engine for arts, heritage and humanities across the state. Funding comes through the Cultural Tax Credit, which empowers Oregonians to direct more of the taxes they pay to supporting cultural opportunities for all. Oregon is the only state in the country that gives its citizens this choice. Sixty percent of the money goes directly to cultural organizations and agencies in the form of grants. The remaining 40 percent helps grow a permanent fund for culture. It’s described by the Oregonian as “A way to make paying state taxes satisfying.” Oregonians directed a record $5.7M of their state taxes to fund arts, heritage and humanities in fiscal year 2022. The Trust’s three grant programs fund five Statewide Partners45 County and Tribal Coalitions and qualified cultural nonprofits through competitive Cultural Development grants. Learn more at

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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