Bend’s High Desert Museum among 28 Oregon arts organizations receiving Arts Learning grant awards

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Twenty-eight Oregon arts organizations will each receive a $10,000 grant to strengthen arts education for K-12 students through $280,000 in Oregon Arts Commission Arts Learning Program funding for fiscal year 2024. All funded projects feature partnerships with Oregon schools within communities throughout the state. 

“Unfortunately, so many schools lack adequate funding for arts education,” said Arts Commission Executive Director Brian Rogers. “We are grateful that arts organizations are providing well-rounded education through creative and enriching learning experiences for our youth. Arts education inspires further development and creative problem-solving skills that are important for Oregon’s future leaders,” he added.

Arts Learning grants are designed to support projects that provide K-12 students a responsive opportunity for learning in and through the arts; foster the exchange of knowledge between artists and educators; and impact the achievement, skills and/or attitudes of learners. 

Applications were evaluated by a review panel, based on project quality and responsiveness, project support and project impact.

Priority for funding is given to projects that primarily impact schools in one or more of the following categories: Title 1 participation; location within a county with more than 16.9 percent of the population experiencing poverty; or location in a rural community. 

FY2024 Arts Learning Grants:

Architectural Foundation of Oregon, Portland       

To support the Architects in Schools program expansion into more low-income, underinvested urban and rural schools around the state. The project includes a free design residency that integrates into existing classroom curricula with the support of a trained professional in the design industry.

Caldera, Portland

To support long-term art-based and environmental-based mentoring and engagement for approximately 350 youth annually (and continuing to scale post-COVID) from underserved, primarily low-income and BIPOC communities in Portland and Central Oregon through partnerships with 12 schools.

Casa Della Zisa Collegium Musica, West Linn

To support the promotion of creativity, leadership and life skills, including 36 hours of music education and cultural enrichment at two elementary schools in Northeast Portland, Mount Scott Elementary School and Community Transitional School. Programming features: Foundation Skills, Creative Exercise (songwriting) and Exploring World Music.

Ethos Inc, Portland

To support Ethos Music Center’s Pass the Mic program in securing continued access to free musical instruments for immigrant students and bringing musical guest artists to isolated, rural Oregon schools.

Eugene-Springfield Youth Orchestras, Eugene

To support beginning strings instruction on-site at Eugene and Bethel public schools, emphasizing accessibility to lower-income students and those from the Latinx community.

Eugene Symphony Association Inc, Eugene

To support the expansion of Eugene Symphony’s Private Lesson Program, which provides free access to individual music instruction for low-income Eugene/Springfield and Bethel band and orchestra students in grades 6-12.

Fishtrap Inc, Enterprise

To support arts learning opportunities for youth across eastern Oregon. In 2023-24, Fishtrap hopes to reach 500 young rural writers, ages 7-18, through its youth writing programs.

Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, Cave Junction

To support weekly sequential dance and theater programming for the 2023-24 school year in rural Josephine County.

Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, Joseph

To support youth art programs in Wallowa County including fall art classes, an after-school program, scholarships, classes for at-risk teens, classes in satellite locations and a creature creation/haunted house workshop for teens to teach them industry skills for careers in the entertainment industry.

Lane Arts Council, Eugene

To support Creative Link, an arts integration program pairing artists with teachers and classrooms to co-develop arts-based curricula in schools with majority low-income, rural, migrant and other vulnerable students, and to provide arts integration training to educators countywide.

Literary Arts Inc, Portland

To support bringing 20-25 professional writers into classrooms at 13 public high schools to provide dynamic creative writing instruction in 30-40 semester-long residencies designed to increase student engagement with writing while building writing and editing skills. The goal is to serve 1,500 students.

Maxtivity, Philomath

To support increased access to high-quality arts education and artists for K-12 youth learners though crafts, fine arts, digital art, pottery, and STEAM projects in rural and local communities in the Mid-Willamette Valley.

MetroEast Community Media, Gresham

To serve 350 K-12 students at five East Multnomah County schools with hands-on digital media and filmmaking education, encouraging youth to integrate arts and technology in creating their own unique work.

Michael Allen Harrison’s Play It Forward, Beaverton

To support weekly, 30-minute individual or small-group music lessons throughout the school year to more than 200 elementary students on-site at North Portland area schools, including music teachers, instruments and performance opportunities.

Miracle Theatre Group, Portland

To support Teatro Milagro UNIDAD residencies for Woodburn High School, Gervais High School and Nellie Muir Elementary in Woodburn, Oregon.

Montavilla Jazz Festival, Portland

To support the collaborative creation of new music by and for students led by Mary-Sue Tobin and four additional local jazz artists engaged in a three-month collective residency at Vestal Elementary, a Title 1 Portland Public School.

Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland

To support increased access to dance with the goal to help students build lifelong skills.

Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestras, Portland

To support BRAVO’s overarching program objective to provide students with an enriching and fun environment in which they can learn the value of teamwork, kindness, respect, diversity and discipline through the performing arts, with a focus on engaging and retaining students of color.

Oregon Children’s Theatre Company, Portland

To support the re-launch of the Theatre’s popular literacy-focused Ticket to Read program, which offers free field-trip performance tickets, class-based activities on literary adaptation and free copies of the book on which the play was based.

Oregon Coast School of Art, Gardiner

To support six weeks of full-day, free summer art camp classes for students in rural Gardiner and Reedsport with matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and cash and in-kind support from the Reedsport School District.

Oregon East Symphony, Pendleton

To support 29 hours of beginner-level instruction on violin, viola and cello for fourth and fifth grade students from Pendleton’s elementary schools and to provide 29 hours of music instruction for students from Pendleton High School.

Portland Center Stage at The Armory, Portland

To support 25 to 55 hours of theater education activities at six Portland-area secondary schools and nonprofit learning programs, progressing from youth matinees and workshops to playwriting residencies with performance and internship opportunities.

Portland Playhouse, Portland

To support the planning, implementation and evaluation of the 2023-24 Social Justice Theatre Project and bring the power of creating live performance to 250 students at seven to 10 middle and high schools in Portland.

Rogue Valley Symphony Association, Ashland

To support a broad range of orchestral-based educational opportunities, residencies and outreach to elementary, middle and high school students in Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties, providing free private lessons, classroom coaching and elementary music curriculum to all interested schools.

Rogue World Music, Ashland

To support unique, culturally competent, trauma-informed music instruction in three Phoenix-Talent School District elementary schools, reaching all K-5 classrooms with 11 weeks of instruction (33 weeks of instruction for the district) that weaves music into the daily classroom environment.

Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Otis

To support rural Oregon Coast art education access through the Sitka Youth Program for 1,700 to 2,000+ youth in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade in partnership with local Title 1 schools during the 2023-24 school year and through a four-week summer STEAM series for more than 100 rural youth in Tillamook County.

The High Desert Museum, Bend

To support Kids Curate, a yearlong, bilingual education program that provides more than 50 hours of engaging and sequential arts learning experiences to 50 underserved students at Bear Creek Elementary School in Bend.

Wordcrafters in Eugene, Eugene

To support 75 creative writing residency sessions at three Lane County schools: Lane County Youth Services (detention center); Kalapuya High School (all at-risk students); and Elmira High School (rural, low-income) while expanding the program with proven academic and school engagement success to new schools.

The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon Legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. 

The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at

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