Thursday, September 16, 2010

News thins: Oregon guv candidates mum on art, but California has a way to make them talk/and more!

After Oregon's candidates for governor refused to discuss the role that arts and culture might have in their plans for the future of the state, for reasons Arts Dispatch can't fathom, it's hard to figure out how to inject a full-fledged discussion of the topic into the campaign.

California, however, has an idea. A consortium of arts non-profits, creative industry businesses and "civilians," has formed to inject the arts into the discussion.  Apparently, while we weren't looking, California's support for the arts per capita slipped to 50th nationwide, which puts the state below even the paltry contribution that Oregon makes.  Oregon has several arts advocacy organizations, of course, that could attempt to duplicate what California is doing.

Our concern in this matter: 1) The candidates' reluctance to talk about arts and culture demonstrates that they don't have an inkling about the importance of the arts and the creative economy to Oregon; 2) they don't understand the importance that "culture" (in the broad sense) will play in any success they might have as governor.

UPDATE: Via @RightBrainInitiative on Twitter, we were led to the website the California arts groups have established: Arts in the 2010 California Governor's Race.

The Beaverton School District managed to meet its $808,000 fundraising goal to match a federal arts education challenge grant, and then it raised another $300,000 to help extend the program throughout the district's elementary schools. The district didn't release the dollar amounts of the donations, but Oregon's candidates for governor will be interested to know that they range from Intel and Columbia Sportswear to several waste management companies. Which raises the question, if they get it, why don't our candidates for governor?

Lower Columbia College in Longview, Wash., received a $3.5 million bequest from the estate of Ken and Pat Hanson to support its music program.  The couple met at LCC, and ran a real estate and insurance business together in Kelso, according to a story in the Daily News.  They gave substantially to the school's campaign to build a performing arts center and donated a Bosendorfer grand piano (Ken was a pianist) to the college.  Just to put this in some context: This is the largest gift LCC has ever received, and the fourth largest gift to any American community college since 1987. Arts Dispatch tips its hat.

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