Life update, Friday, March 27: Rescuing the arts
The beat goes on as people in the arts, entertainment and activity world deal with the health/economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic:
• Oregon Cultural Trust has become involved in rescue efforts for arts and cultural organizations.
In communication with Oregon Cultural Trust, statewide partners and organizations around the state, Gov. Kate Brown has directed the agency to explore opportunities to identify relief funding to address the devastating effects on the state's arts and cultural community from the ongoing health/economic crisis.
Performances, events and activities, as well as fundraising, has been cancelled or postponed around the state, and many organizations have closed their doors. As of March 24, 423 Oregon cultural organizations had already reported losses of around $8.6 million to date, with data still being collected from more than 1,000 organizations, according to Americans for the Arts. And, the Regional Arts & Culture Council reports that surveying among individuals and groups in Oregon projected about $56 million in losses by the end of May.
Many organizations are facing bankruptcy and permanent closure, Oregon Cultural Trust said.
So, the Oregon Cultural Trust board of directors, after an emergency meeting with partners, voted to use up to $10 million of its $29 million permanent fund to create an emergency relief funding program.
The move requires approval from the Oregon Legislature; a concept for consideration has been in the works and will be presented during an anticipated special session.
For more: www.culturaltrust.org.
• National Piano Day is Saturday, March 28, and Michael Allen Harrison is participating with a show with special guest Esther Harrison on Facebook at 2 p.m.
• The Oregon Symphony, like many companies, has been devastated the health/economic crisis. They had to lay off 19 staff members and cancelled services and wages of all symphony musicians. (They're still paying health benefit premiums).
In the meantime, several Oregon Symphony musicians have went into neighborhoods to play music. Last weekend, concertmaster Sarah Kwak and violinist Vali Phillips, a married couple, performed for their Tigard neighbors.
Oregon Arts Watch, an online arts news outlet, has done a full story with photos on Oregon Symphony musicians. It can be seen here: www.orartswatch.org/making-music-in-a-time-of-isolation.
• The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland has laid off the majority of its staff (about 400 people) and postponed reopening until September. It usually stages Shakespeare plays from March through November.
The Oregonian/OregonLive has a story here:
• Michael Allen Harrison's Ten Grands event has been postponed from April 11 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15 at Keller Auditorium.
The event features 10 star pianists playing grand pianos on stage together.
• Oregon State Parks and Recreation has reiterated that parks will be closed this weekend. The closures do not affect ocean beaches, but state, federal and local access points will be closed.
For more: www.oregonstateparks.org.
Portland Parks and Recreation parks are open, but vehicle traffic is limited in many of them. For more: www.portlandoregon.gov.
• In non-virus news, the Oregon Zoo welcomed another resident: Maple, a 3-year-old North American beaver, who joined "branch manager" Filbert in the zoo's Cascade Stream and Pond habitat.
"Beavers are very social animals, so it's wonderful to welcome a new member to the family," said Julie Christie, senior keeper for the zoo's North American animals. "Filbert and Maple are getting along really well, and it's great for both of them to have a friend to play with."
The zoo remains closed until at least April 28. But, it also puts up animal videos weekly. See www.oregonzoo.org.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.