Heart for the Arts

In this issue there’s a report from Cate O’Hagan regarding Arts Central, a multifaceted nonprofit regional arts organization that has been promoting and enhancing our artistic places, spaces and people for almost 40 years.  by Pamela Hulse Andrews

Cate has headed this effort for more than 20 years, as she was inspiring the region to recognize the significant value of the arts when I created this magazine in 1995.  She so aptly states the organization under her leadership has been “putting our heart into the community by assuring the arts are accessible to all in a variety of ways.”

Cate mentions how Arts Central brightens the hearts of school children with creativity through its Artists in Schools program, its high quality arts programming brought to rural communities via the outreach vehicle VanGo and how it offers classes and camps for all ages at the Art Station – a visual arts school that includes a donor-supported scholarship fund.

What Cate doesn’t talk about is the myriad of other ways this organization has helped make Central Oregon alive with creativity, forging a cultural community that is both inspiring and economically viable.  Arts Central is always on the lookout for ways to champion the cause for more support of arts and culture in this region.

The first phase of Bend 2030, Bend’s long term visioning process, Arts Central was recruited to write the first cultural component of the plan, which ultimately led to the formation of the Arts & Culture Alliance (ACA), a consortium of arts and culture groups to advocate for all arts and culture in the region. Arts Central invested $6,000 to fund the strategic planning process.

The ACA became a major force behind the passage of the tourism tax levy that created the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund. Lodging tax revenue collections of more than $125,000 have made it possible for essential grants that support cultural tourism activities

Cultural tourism promotion has been on Arts Central’s radar since it became a regional arts and culture council in 1997. With funding assistance from the Oregon Arts Commission, Arts Central championed its interest in cultural tourism publishing a regional tourist map for arts and culture, Cultural Byways.

Cate has also led the way for placing arts and culture in Central Oregon as a priority on our regional agenda for economic development. The Central Oregon Regional Solutions Advisory Committee is working to attract businesses and individuals who are accustomed to and often require a culturally rich environment where they live and work. This has a profound economic and socioeconomic benefit.

I am now repeating here what Cate says in her article in the February issue of Cascade AE..               If you want to see the community thrive through the benefits of the arts, you can help during February as Arts Central spreads the love with its Hearts for the Arts campaign — an opportunity for you to make an impact by supporting Arts Central’s enriching programs.

Let’s help Arts Central raise $15,000 to deliver inspired learning to kids in school, to fuel its scholarship fund, to take the arts to every corner of our community. Hearts for the Arts starts with you and expands into a creative culture that benefits all who live here.

Join me at www.artscentraloregon.org to learn more.

If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams. ~ Yann Martel, Life of Pi


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