Longtime Chief of Portland Public Art Announces Her Retirement

Eloise Damrosch will step down in June after 13 years leading the Regional Arts and Culture Council.


Eloise Damrosch announced her retirement today, effective June 30.

Damrosch made a lot of artists and arts organizations happy in her 13 years atop the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

At RACC, Damrosch oversees a budget of nearly $10 million, most of which she and her staff spend on public art, and grants to support arts and arts organizations. Last year, RACC gave $3.9 million in grants to 129 organizations and 136 artists.

The city of Portland and the arts tax citizens pay individually provide about two-thirds of RACC's budget.

In her tenure at RACC, Damrosch convinced elected city and Multnomah County officials to double the amount of money dedicated to art in public projects from one percent to two percent. She also launched the Right-Brain Initiative, a program aimed at restoring art instruction to every primary school student in the tri-county area.

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Arts Commissioner Nick Fish and Mayor Ted Wheeler issued statements praising Damrosch.

"It has been an honor to partner with Eloise. She is a friend and colleague," Fish said in a statement. "I wish her well in her richly deserved retirement, and join with our community in expressing my gratitude for her stellar service to our city."

"Portland is fortunate to have had Eloise's leadership in the arts," Wheeler said. "She is a respected administrator, convener, problem solver and innovator whose lifelong dedication to the arts has positively impacted our community. I am grateful for her contributions and wish her all the best for her future."

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