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CULTURAL COALITION OVERVIEW
The Clackamas County Cultural Coalition grant programs are administered by the Clackamas County Arts Alliance staff and the Arts Alliance acts as fiscal agent for the Coalition.
Grants are awarded to projects and opportunities which respond to the Cultural Plan Goals and Funding Priorities.
The mission of the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition is to grow the cultural assets in the County. The Coalition’s immediate responsibility is to distribute funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust to local arts, history, heritage, humanities organizations and cultural creatives.
CULTURAL PLAN SUMMARY
The Cultural Plan guides the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition through 2021, and specifically identifies priorities for the distribution of funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust to lay a foundation for supporting culture in Clackamas County.
We are focused on building the capacity of local cultural organizations and supporting individuals to enrich the cultural life of the County.
Funding priorities support projects that specifically build cultural infrastructure, sustain and grow local assets, and remove barriers to cultural participation. Under-valuing of our cultural assets is seen as a primary barrier to supporting and sustaining local culture. Priorities specifically implement the Coalition’s vision, which is built around key values of:
- increasing public recognition and valuing of local culture
- acknowledging the vibrancy that social, cultural and ethnic diversity bring
- increasing public participation in local culture
- supporting the inclusion of arts and culture in every community
These priorities and all other key elements of the plan come from public feedback gathered through a seven-month planning process.
In our definition of culture we include the arts, history, heritage, and humanities. These are the primary areas of culture supported by the Oregon Cultural Trust:
- HISTORY AND HERITAGE define who we are and inform our future through preservation, interpretation, access, and sharing what holds collective meaning.
- ART FORMS OF ALL KINDS grow our expressive minds, skills, and encourage creativity and compassion.
- HUMANITIES, including literature, dialogue, and critical thinking, help to deepen understanding of what it means to be human.
- LOCAL CULTURE means cultural interests and activities that are rooted in Clackamas County. Cultural assets as illustrated on the front cover are the cultural organizations, individuals, facilities, and activities unique to Clackamas County.
Underlying these definitions is the understanding that we all are a product of and participate in culture: we inherit parts of our culture and are continually making, changing, and transforming other elements of our culture.
VISION and VALUES
We envision a Clackamas County that embodies the following ideals:
Culture is highly recognized for its inherent values and ability to support community needs including education, health, and community and economic development
- Arts, heritage, history and humanities in all forms are highly visible and accessible
- Social, cultural, and ethnic diversity create pride. Diversity is visible and valued as creating essential vibrancy for communities. We are serving new areas of our communities
- People from all parts of the County are actively participating in cultural activities and organizations. This may be as creatives, makers, volunteers, board members, donors, teachers, students, legislators and more. We are demonstrating that access to local cultural resources strengthens communities
- Including arts and culture in all forms of community development is the norm, not the exception. Arts and cultural centers and gathering places are prominent and popular in every community
Clackamas County is rich with cultural assets. The following were most commonly mentioned through the public engagement process.
- The history and heritage of the people—past and present—are unique strengths of the County
- There is a wide variety of artists, arts, heritage/cultural organizations, attractions and events
- The County’s libraries and parks provide public gathering spaces and need to be developed, utilized and supported
- Natural/geographic diversity is considered the County’s most outstanding characteristic and a source of great pride. Our natural environments shape communities and local economies, and inspire cultural expression
BARRIERS TO CULTURAL PARTICIPATION
The following were expressed consistently as barriers to people participating in local culture.
- Funding and support for local culture is limited. Many local cultural assets are undervalued by residents and visitors alike, and are not being fully utilized, marketed or supported
- Time is people’s most precious resource. Demands on people’s time limit their ability to volunteer and become more engaged in local cultural life
- The large County and distances between communities results in cultural activities attracting mostly local participation. Costs related to travel, food, lodging and fees is often a deterrent for attracting countywide engagement
- Communications and marketing are challenging and time-consuming; this appears to be a near-universal concern
The following priorities directly underscore the coalition’s mission, vision, and values. Projects and organizations should focus on supporting/growing local assets and removing barriers to cultural participation. Projects must result in measurable outcomes within at least one priority. The Coalition supports innovative approaches and projects.
1. Increase how local culture is valued and supported
Indicators of success:
- Increase in cultural support from local businesses and governments
- Increase in contributions to the Oregon Cultural Trust from county residents
- Increase in local media coverage for cultural success stories illustrating public recognition for the value of arts, heritage, humanities
- Increase in projects which specifically recognize and celebrate the growing diversity within communities
2. Support the creation of, or participation in, cultural projects and activities
Indicators of success:
- Increased attendance at events and other cultural activities
- New volunteers are leaders and are engaged in cultural activities
- Improved access to cultural assets and activities
- Increased investment to support and sustain cultural facilities and gathering spaces
- Arts, heritage and humanities are integrated with learning experiences (e.g., schools, workshops, mentoring, etc.)
3. Stimulate partnerships and collaborations that grow capacities to support assets and remove barriers. We include here partnerships that support cultural tourism
Indicators of success:
- Cultural tourism projects which attract people from at least 50 miles away or encourage people to linger longer
- Increase in cross-sector collaborations between cultural and non-cultural organizations
- Partnerships that engage diverse groups, leverage resources and expand investment in cultural assets and activities
4. Work closely with local governments, businesses, and others to embed local culture in community development
Indicators of success:
- Culture is clearly integrated with development and creatives serve in civic leadership positions
- Cultural assets are solidly embedded in community
- Increase in cultural supporters assuming leadership roles
- New initiatives are reaching underserved audiences
- Art in public spaces and historic interpretation/preservation are prevalent
5. Grow communications capacity for cultural groups, organizations, and artists/creatives
Indicators of success:
- New cooperative marketing strategies which increase awareness of cultural activities and assets
- Initiatives reach new or expanded audiences
- Increase use of Cultural Guide as a vehicle for cultural organizations to tell their stories and to promote their activities
BACKGROUND & HISTORY
ABOUT THE COALITION AND THE OREGON CULTURAL TRUST
The Clackamas County Cultural Coalition is one of 45 county and tribal-based local networks in Oregon whose primary function is to re-grant an annual appropriation from The Oregon Cultural Trust (culturaltrust.org). The trust was established in 2002 to support arts, heritage, and humanities across Oregon, and is currently the only funding mechanism of this kind in the United States.
The first Clackamas County Plan for Arts, Heritage and Humanities, created in 2004, was the result of an eighteen-month investigative process engaging 180 citizens in interviews, forums and focus groups. Since the 2004 Plan was approved and the Cultural Coalition began its work, it has become clear that the Coalition’s highest purpose and wisest use of limited resources is to nurture, support and invest in the efforts of others through granting funds. The Cultural Plan is updated every 4 years and funding priorities assessed annually. The 2018-2021 Plan was also informed by a six month community engagement process including community meetings, surveys and personal interviews.