Anyone who has enjoyed any number of cultural activities in Wallowa County this past year owes a “thank you” to the donors and the Oregon Cultural Trust.
Four organizations in particular –– Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, Wallowa Band Nez Perce Trail Interpretive Center, Wallowa County Cultural Coalition and Wallowa Valley Music Alliance –– have benefited.
Those who donate to specific organizations and make a matching gift to the trust receive a cultural tax credit when they file Oregon income tax statements.
The deadline is Dec. 31.
In 2017, the cultural trust awarded $2.94 million statewide to 136 nonprofits.
In Wallowa County, Josephy Center received $21,842.
“The trust grant funds our exhibits and complementary programs such as lectures, Brown Bag lunches, concerts, films and readings,” said Cheryl Coughlan, executive director.
The art exhibit “Puppy Love” opening Jan. 6 is an example, as is a student art show Feb. 21 to March 1. Later in the year, a women’s Art Month event is planned.
One of the highlights of 2018 will be a Portland Jazz Ensemble performance April 13 of “Maxville to VanPort” at OK Theatre in Enterprise.
A new piece of community-guided music incorporating the stories of two unique towns in Oregon’s history will be presented.
Maxville and Vanport both had significant multicultural populations at a time when Oregon was particularly unfriendly to nonwhite residents,
The song that will become part of a larger work and will gather input from people who care about these stories. Audience members will hear vocalist Marilyn Keller and composer and pianist Ezra Weiss perform the song “From Maxville to Vanport,” featuring text by Renee Mitchell.
Commentary from all three as well as Maxville Heritage Executive Director Gwendolyn Trice and former Vanport resident Edward Washington will follow, along with robust discussion with the audience.
Other cultural events are planned at Josephy in June, July and August, funded through the Oregon Cultural Trust program.
The Wallowa Band Nez Perce Trail Interpretive Center received $27,657 from the cultural trust.
It is also known as the Nez Perce Wallowa Homeland, according to executive director Angela Bombaci.
“We own 350 acres in Wallowa, have a visitor center in town and host the Tamkaliks celebration pow wow each July,” Bombaci said.
A portion of the most recent grant is targeted for interpretive development at the grounds and the visitor center.
Wallowa Valley Music Alliance received $8,542 and Wallowa County Cultural Coalition snagged $7,063.
The alliance sponsors an annual fiddle tunes camp, courthouse concert music series, Juniper Jam and other events throughout the year. Wallowa County Cultural Coalition is a pass-through organization, using the money it receives to fund other cultural events through a competitive grant process. Grants range from $250 to $1,000 per organization.
Past recipients of coalition funding in the county have included Oregon’s Alpenfest, Eagle Cap Extreme, Fishtrap, Ruby Peak Film Festival, Wallowa Land Trust, Wallowa County Farmers Market, Wallowa Valley Arts Council and others.
“Our mission is to lead Oregon in cultivating, growing and valuing culture as an integral part of our communities,” said Charles F. Sams, vice chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust.
The program was created in 2002 by the Oregon Legislature. No other state provides a 100 percent tax credit to inspire cultural giving.
In 2015, Oregonians gave $4.56 million to the Cultural Trust, an all-time record. Sixty percent of that went back to community organizations. The remaining 40 percent helped grow our permanent fund.
HOW IT WORKS
Donate to one or more of the libraries, arts organizations or museums in the community, then make a matching gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust at culturaltrust.org by Dec. 31. When you file your 2017 state taxes, the donation you made to the Cultural Trust will come back to taxpayers via the cultural tax credit, effectively doubling the impact of a qualifying donation.