At a time when pandemic fallout poses a serious threat to arts funding, the Oregon Community Foundation is investing a whopping $1 million in arts and culture projects as part of its 2023 Creative Heights Initiative.
“Oregon Community Foundation is proud to support these visionary artists with our 2023 Creative Heights grants,” Chey Kuzma, OCF’s associate program officer for arts and culture, stated in a press release. “Artists throughout our state are thoughtfully uplifting the importance of arts and culture within our current climate, creating genuine connection, and bringing a bit of magic to our communities.”
Grants are being given to artists creating projects that “celebrate culture, bring lost stories to light, center historically overlooked perspectives and provide more opportunities for individuals with disabilities to make and experience art.” That includes Activate Arts, which will create a collaborative cross-organization fellowship for artists with neurodivergent disabilities.
“Receiving Oregon Community Foundation’s Creative Heights grant for this project is life-changing for all artists with disabilities,” said Activate Arts founder Crystal Meneses. “What inspires me to guide this collective is the possibility that one day, youth artists with disabilities can see themselves contributing as professional creatives.”
Also receiving a grant is Anthony Hudson and Felix Furby’s The Shumkhi Project, which will celebrate Oregon’s queer Indigenous history with a new exhibit about Two-Spirit Tualatin Kalapuya healer Shumkhi (or Shimkhin; 1820-1904).
“When we opened our current exhibit on our transfeminine ancestor Shimkhin, [and] we did it with what support we could muster in the moment,” Hudson said. “Now we get to share Shimkhin’s history—and the histories of ten international Indigiqueer artists—with not only our community at Grand Ronde but across our occupied homelands.”
Finally, OCF is helping to fund Cymaspace’s The Universal Design of Music Project (which will use haptic technology to make sound tangible to deaf listeners) and Haunt Camp, an “experimental, narratively driven, immersive walkthrough performance piece” which will be presented at an unspecified rural community in Eastern Oregon on Halloween weekend.
“Oregon Community Foundation’s Creative Heights grant is nothing short of life-changing,” said JR Rymut, the project’s lead artist. “There are no more limits on Haunt Camp’s most lofty ambitions and the network of art people who create it.”