News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Grants promote arts and culture in county

When it comes to daily operation of a nonprofit, a little goes a long way, enabling small organizations to grow, and larger ones to undertake special projects and programs.

In addition to presenting the Ben Westlund Memorial Award to Jean Wells Keenan, the Deschutes Cultural Coalition distributed around $20,000 in grants Wednesday evening to a dozen qualifying cultural nonprofit organizations in Deschutes County (see related story "Jean Wells Keenan honored with award"). Two organizations from Sisters are among them.

The Sisters Arts Association received a grant to be used toward the Fourth Annual Artist Studio Tour, on the last weekend in June. SAA President Bob Burgess accepted the check, and proudly noted that this event has grown from 10 to more than 40 artists who will demonstrate and meet the public in their home studios. Two of the artists participating in the tour this year are Jean Wells Keenan and her sister, June Jaeger.

T. Lee Brown accepted a grant for New Oregon Arts and Letters, which will go toward 2020’s Tea and Poetry event at the Sisters Farmer’s Market. This is a poetry contest open to all ages. Last year’s awards were judged by Oregon’s Poet Laureate Kim Stafford.

Other organizations receiving grants included: BEAT: Presenter of children’s theater in five Title One schools in Deschutes County.

BendFilm: Celebrating the work of independent filmmakers through the BendFilm Festival and the Women’s Film Festival, the grant funds the Power of Film nonprofit promotional video.

COCC Afrocentric Studies Clubs: For the student-led EVOLVE Project at the Tower Theater, March 13 and 14. EVOLVE is a performance experience that explores the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color.

High Desert Chamber Music — to support the 2019-2020 Season.

High Desert Museum — supporting Little Wonders. Through a partnership with Neighbor Impact, Little Wonders will provide museum memberships and $10 gas cards to 360 Head Start families, over 80 percent of whom will be from Deschutes County, ensuring children from low-income families have access to unique learning experiences that will help close the opportunity gap in Central Oregon.

KPOV-FM Station 88.9 on your radio has designated its award to provide podcast training for other nonprofit organizations.

Opera Bend: funds will enable this group to present its annual opera performance “The Elixir of Love” to high school students in mid-March.

Tower Theater: funds will pay for Lesson PLAN, which stands for Performing Live Arts Now. Performances are held in the theater and in schools around Central Oregon with the goal that every student should see at least one live arts performance.

Sunriver Music Festival: designated to celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020.

Ben Westlund was the force behind legislation creating the Oregon Cultural Trust (OCT), which receives its income largely through donations, and for which donors can take a full tax credit. The OCT distributes monies to cultural nonprofits around the state in three ways.

Funds are allotted to five cultural agency partners: the Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon State Preservation Office, and Oregon Heritage Commission. They are given directly to statewide cultural organizations through a competitive application process, and they are distributed to 45 county and tribal cultural coalitions around the state. Deschutes Cultural Coalition is one of them, and the grants awarded are from this source.


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