Fundraising for arts organizations can be a challenge even in a strong economy. In Portland, Oregon the Work for Art program helps to support the arts by facilitating employee-giving campaigns at public and private workplaces throughout Oregon and SW Washington. Some of the participating employers even provide matching funds.
These Work for Art donations are then re-directed back to the community, with 100% of the funds that are raised benefiting arts organizations and the public in three ways: through grants to art and cultural organizations, by paying for art education in the public schools, and by enabling more people to access art exhibits and performances.
Non-profit arts organizations in the three counties spanned by the Portland metropolitan area (Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas) may apply for funding via a grant application process administered by the Regional Arts & Culture Council. In recent years, over 80 arts and cultural organizations have received grants to support their programs. The list of recipients reads like a “Who’s Who” of the visual and performing arts community in Portland. In part, these grants allow organizations to conduct outreach to those who might otherwise not be able to participate due to low income, disability or other restrictive conditions by offering transportation and free or discounted admission to performances, workshops and other events.
Work for Art donations also support arts education in schools through the Right Brain Initiative, an innovative program of collaboration between artists and teachers that integrates the arts into the teaching of core education subjects for K-8 students in the region.
Individuals can benefit from Work for Art through use of an Art Card. Purchase of an Art Card for $60 or more, enables the holder to buy 2-for-1 priced tickets to hundreds of art and cultural events for a full year. This program makes access to the arts much more affordable for families and low-income people, while simultaneously supporting area arts organizations by building their audience base.
The Work for Art program not only gives donors a simple and painless method of supporting the arts, but it also helps ensure a thriving arts community, which makes Portland an even greater place to live and work.