Oregon Cultural Trust

by Oregon Cultural Trust
Oregon Statehood Day cake
Oregon Statehood Day cake

Happy Birthday to Oregon (February 14, 1859)! Thanks to your generous support of the arts, heritage and humanities in 2012, the Oregon Cultural Trust received gifts totaling $3,959,462.43 last calendar year, an increase of $119,126.60, or 3.1% over 2011.

These numbers attest to the value that Oregonians place on our creative economy, historic spaces and power of culture to transform us.

Donations to the Cultural Trust have increased every year since the Trust's inception in 2002, with the exception of 2008, when the US and Oregon economies slowed dramatically. This trend indicates that Oregon residents value culture as a community builder, an educational priority, and as part of the Oregon way of life.

"These contributions support not only things that bring beauty into our lives but challenge us to think in innovative new ways. I am delighted that Oregonians have stepped up their support of the Cultural Trust," said Executive Director Christine D'Arcy.

In 2012, the Trust again enjoyed a productive relationship with Willamette Week Give!Guide. More than $195,000, an 18% increase over 2011, was contributed through the Give!Guide. The Give Guide linked the Trust to 36 cultural groups, from the Library Foundation to Rock N' Roll Camp for Girls, reinforcing the opportunity to give to an Oregon arts, heritage or humanities group and then to the Trust, to take advantage of Oregon's cultural tax credit.

Cultural Trust Board Chair, Bob Speltz was pleased with the year-end results. "I am gratified to see thousands of fellow citizens support culture - the arts, heritage and humanities in Oregon, in spite of our challenging economy. I'm inspired by their generosity. Our state is enriched because of them."

Increased giving to the Cultural Trust over the last 10 years has allowed for continued grant making in all corners of Oregon, to such organizations as the Coos Art Museum; Linfield College; Oregon Bach Festival, and Libraries of Eastern Oregon, and for projects as diverse as the Head to Toe exhibit on Native American dress at Bend's High Desert Museum, the Carrie Mae Weems retrospective at Portland Art Museum, and increased capacity at Ross Ragland Theatre. The 42 county and tribal cultural coalitions will also be making Trust-funded grants to community-based projects this summer. In addition to more than $1.5million given in grants by the Oregon Cultural Trust last year, the Trust's permanent fund for culture in Oregon continues to grow, standing at almost $20 million.

So why wait until December to make your 2013 charitable gifts? Show some love for Oregon culture and consider a gift to the Trust in honor of Oregon's birthday today. Or set up monthly donations, helping the Trust create a steady stream of income for the permanent fund and increased capacity for grant giving. Happy Birthday to our beautiful state, and thank you to all who support the Cultural Trust.


Jerome Kersey, Photo Holly Andres
Jerome Kersey, Photo Holly Andres

Thank you for being a cultural champion, supporting the Oregon Cultural Trust to sustain our arts, heritage and humanities. Now 10 years old, the Trust is an innovative private-public venture that raises funds to inspire our children, create lifelong learners, use culture as an economic driver, preserve our history and ensure access to culture for all Oregonians. The Trust, through its leadership, grant making and dedication to growing a permanent fund for Oregon culture, nurtures the creative and historic treasures that keep our state vibrant and alive.

The Cultural Trust, with your involvement, has flourished for 10 years:

• Over 21,000 Oregonians have contributed more than $25 million

• Over $12.5 million was distributed through 900+ direct grants

• Over $17 million remains in the permanent fund – earning interest for the future

Last year, thanks to donors like you, the Cultural Trust supported:

• Over 300 youth and arts education programs

• Historic preservation and restoration projects in 20 communities

• Cultural experiences benefitting over 600,000 people

All this is only made possible by generous voluntary contributions from donors like you. A gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust is FREE! First, make a donation to one or more of the 1,300+ cultural nonprofits in Oregon. A searchable list is provided on our website. Then, make a gift in the same amount to the Cultural Trust.

Oregon’s cultural tax credit means your donation comes back to you dollar for dollar when you file your taxes – up to $500 per individual, $1,000 for households filing jointly and $2,500 for C-Corp businesses.

Tis’ the season of giving and gratitude. Be thankful for Oregon’s richness of culture, our vibrant communities, the power of our history, the splendor of our heritage sites and the engagement of our citizenry. Join me in supporting Oregon culture – so Oregon will continue to be a great place to live, work and play.

Thank you for making your gift, today!

Best wishes,

Christine D’Arcy, Executive Director

P.S. Be sure to see how the Cultural Trust connects with your part of Oregon. Visit the new Oregon Culture: A Field Guide – oregonculturefieldguide.org – to see and hear how the Trust has changed lives and transformed communities since 2002.  Stay in touch: sign up for and tell your friends about our “Field Notes” eNews for regular stories, images and updates.

Photo Information: Jerome Kersey, Portland Trail Blazers Alumni Ambassador. Sauvie Island. Photo: Holly Andres. We asked celebrated Portland-based photographer Holly Andres to capture iconic Oregonians in their native cultural habitats. The results are as magical and inspiring as Oregon culture itself. Photographer Holly Andres has staged solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Istanbul…and Portland. Her work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Time, Art in America, Artforum, Elle, the LA Times, and Art Ltd., which profiled her as one of 15 emerging West Coast artists under the age of 35.

When PDX Pop Now! came on the scene in 2004, the small  non-profit began fostering connections between local musicians and audiences. It also took on an important advocacy project: access to arts and culture for young people.

Last summer, PDX Pop Now! received  an Oregon Cultural Trust grant to support a free, all-ages, three-day Summer Festival of music.  The Cultural Trust is honored to support this project, as we believe Oregon is lucky to have a diverse and passionate community of musicians, and live music is something to be enjoyed by everyone - not just adults.

The Oregon Cultural Trust connects Oregonians to culture and culture to Oregonians.  We invest in Oregon’s future by supporting  cultural programs for youth.  This year the Cultural Trust also funded  the Ross Ragland Theatre in Klamath Falls, for its educational outreach - school matinees, lectures, workshops, and a four-week theatre for youth day camp. The program will reach  over 8,000 school children in 42 schools in four counties.

Our support of projects like these and others, including A Lincoln Portrait narrated by Tom Brokaw, part of a city-wide project in Eugene which explores themes of war and peace,  enhances our children’s growing experience an dincreases the vitality of our communities - creatively, intellectually and economically. 

But who is the Oregon Cultural Trust?

We are you - Oregonians sustaining, developing and participating in our arts, heritage and humanities. Together, we make culture accessible to people of all ages and walks of life. When you support the Cultural Trust you, say “Yes!” to Oregon culture.  Renew your museum or historical society membership; give to your favorite literary or performing arts group.  Answer a public radio or television pledge drive.  Support the school music boosters and library friends. 

Then, match your donations with a contribution to the Oregon Cultural Trust.  Your gift to the Trust costs you nothing – thanks to Oregon’s cultural tax credit – but its benefit to Oregon is enormous.


Christine D’Arcy
Executive Director


This year Portland experienced a unique phenomenon that could well be called “The Rothko Spring.

With support from the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Portland Art Museum staged a comprehensive exhibition of Mark Rothko’s work, the first such showing in Portland since 1934.  In April, at the museum, Chief Curator Bruce Guenther spoke about Rothko’s work and legacy, and the music ensemble Third Angle performed Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, a musical ode to the artist, to a sold-out hall.  The concert was also supported by a grant from the Cultural Trust.

The buzz did not stop there.  In February and March, Portland Center Stage, (a Cultural Trust grantee since 2006), adapted John Logan’s Tony Award winning play, Red, about Rothko’s struggle against the commoditization of his art.

The result?  A citywide celebration of Rothko, an artist as important for his connection to Oregon as he was for his style and grand use of color.

Mark Rothko arrived in Portland at age 10 from Northern Russia. As an adult he moved away but he gravitated back to the Northwest time and again until his death in 1970. However, his connection to Oregon’s art history was almost forgotten.

Thanks to the Cultural Trust and some of Portland’s most important arts organizations Mark Rothko has once again become a household name in the region.

What is the Cultural Trust? The Trust is you.  The Trust is Oregonians sustaining, developing and participating in our arts, heritage and humanities. 

The Oregon Cultural Trust provides support for collaborations like Rothko – and many more - that impact and change the lives of Oregonians.  You can be involved – and make culture happen in every corner of Oregon.

So, this spring, say Yes! to Oregon culture.  Renew your museum or historical society membership; give to your favorite literary or performing arts group.  Answer a public radio or television pledge drive.  Then match your donations with a contribution to the Oregon Cultural Trust.  Your gift to the Trust costs you nothing – thanks to Oregon’s cultural tax credit – but its benefit to the cultural community is enormous.


Shannon Applegate, Applegate House, Yoncalla
Shannon Applegate, Applegate House, Yoncalla

In honor of Oregon’s birthday - February 14 - we celebrate Oregonians who make culture happen every day. 

Shannon Applegate’s family walked to Oregon.  They yearned to be here, in the Eden at the end of the Applegate Trail, ultimately settling in what is now Yoncalla.   The Applegate house built in 1892 still stands to this day, as an historic home, a tourist site and the site of a pioneer herb garden that continues to flourish.   

Shannon Applegate is also an accomplished writer, winner of a 2008 Governor’s Arts Award and a singer in the Slow Ponies, a cowgirl band.  She’s one of thirteen Oregonians that the Cultural Trust featured in 2011.  Oregonians, whose ties to culture are deep and rooted; whose ties to culture are part of their everyday lives and work.  Oregonians, whose ties to culture bind us all together through our arts, heritage and humanities.

On Oregon’s birthday, we thank you again for your 2011 contribution.  Your donation, last year, together with over 11,000 Oregonians will enable the Cultural Trust to make grants in July 2012. 

Experience some of the cultural projects this spring made possible by donations like yours:

  • Celebrations of the life and work of renowned painter Mark Rothko at the Portland Art Museum, with Third Angle New Music Ensemble, and at Portland Center Stage
  • Reflections of our history and people at the High Desert Museum’s Black Impact exhibit
  • Bag&Baggage’s new take on the traditional romance of Romeo & Juliet in a new production of Shakespeare’s R&J in Hillsboro.

The impact of Oregon culture is far reaching, broad and deep.  The Cultural Trust, at its core, exists to honor the role that culture plays in our daily lives; shining light on it for all Oregonians. 

When you donate to culture in our state, you’re celebrating what it means to be an Oregonian.

Thank you!



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Organization Information

Oregon Cultural Trust

Location: Salem, Oregon - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.culturaltrust.org
Oregon Cultural Trust
Project Leader:
Christine D'Arcy
Salem, Oregon United States

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