Keeping the Arts Alive: Oregon Cultural Trust Grant Awardees in the Rogue Valley
Dozens of programs and shows are made possible by the grants both Jackson and Josephine Counties Cultural Coalitions, both part of the Oregon Cultural Trust network. Without them, the region would be missing many of the arts locals enjoy every year. Earlier this year, Jackson County donated over $30,000 to 18 different programs, while Josephine County donated to 11 programs. Both express their intent in granting funds to programs to support art and music education to children and promote historical societies within the community. Here are just a few of the local recipients.
Ashland New Plays Festival: “Ashland New Plays Festival assists playwrights in the development of new works through public readings and offers an educational forum to the community through discussions and workshops—all of which require an effective sound system for their production,” says grant writer for Ashland New Plays Festival Michele Landsdowne.
Four years ago, Landsdowne began as a volunteer for the program.
ANPF performs to more than 3,000 people per year, and has a consistent volunteer system. “The grants from Jackson County Cultural the past three years have allowed us to improve our sound system gradually each year with the purchase of wireless microphones and a new soundboard,” says Landsdowne. “These have made all the difference in the quality of sound so critical to the success of our staged readings of plays.” Grants have also directly support the actors and encourage additional program, such as post-show “talk backs” and participating in student discussions to remain involved in the community and foster education of the arts.
Grants Pass Museum of Art: For Hyla Lipson, Executive Director of Grants Pass Museum of Art, grants are important “to pay for keeping the lights on.” Grants not only allow GPMA to provide free admission for guests, but it also allows them to spread the education and love of art. With its recent grant award, the museum bought art supplies for local fifth graders.
“We had Josephine County fifth grade students take a field trip to the museum, one class at a time. They spent about 90 minutes here and at the end we gave each student an art bag full of art supplies,” says Lipson.
Rogue Valley Symphony: The grant awarded to the Rogue Valley Symphony was for its most recent May 19 family show, Uzu and Muzu from Kakaruzu.
Executive Director Joelle Graves explains that “only a portion of our budget is covered by ticket sales––a small portion; the rest of our budget is covered by grants and corporate and individual donations.”
Graves describes a sensitive balance in fundraising that’s key to keeping a non-profit thriving. The Rogue Valley Symphony has been granted several awards in the past from the JCCC, and each one Graves says has impacted the non-profit greatly.
The grant allowed their May show to be affordable, with $5 for kids and $15 for parents. Preceding the show was an “Instrument Petting Zoo,” where children can get up close to the instruments used for the performance.
Siskiyou Music Project: With a focus on bringing music to schools, the Siskiyou Music Project was granted with additional funding to make their vision a reality. Concerned that music is often the first to be cut from school’s curriculums when budgets are limited, Siskiyou Music Project helps maintain music education. The program was founded in 2006 with the support of Ashland schools. Today Director Ed Dunsavage facilitates shows and events for the program.
When it comes to grants, he says, “Many valuable programs wouldn’t exist without them.”