Portland City Council adopts a new cultural plan

News Article
A large television screen shows a dance performance and city council guests and Portland City Council elected officials to the right in the background.
"Our Creative Future" provides a blueprint for supporting arts and culture across the the tri-county region.

The Portland metro region has a new cultural plan to guide arts policy and funding decisions over the next 10 years. 

A two-year planning process led by the City of Portland culminated on Wednesday, May 22, when Portland City Council voted to accept "Our Creative Future." The plan provides a framework for local government agencies—including Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties—to advance culture, creativity and the arts in their communities.

The plan, which is based on input from more than 3,500 community members and was co-created by a regional steering committee, articulates a new vision for arts and culture: 

We envision a tri-county region where all of us have access to relevant and dynamic arts, culture and creative experiences as an essential part of our lives. 

The plan presents five specific goals, with detailed strategies for each, in support of this vision:  

  • Build towards an inclusive arts and cultural community that reflects, serves, and welcomes all. 
  • Forge purposeful connection and coordination within the arts and cultural community.
  • Empower the arts and cultural community with sufficient, sustainable funding and other resources.
  • Drive economic growth through the arts and cultural community. 
  • Utilize the arts and cultural community as a vital partner in the health and development of every community. 

As part of the presentation on May 22, steering committee members Subashini Ganesan-Forbes and Kimberly Howard Wade shared several strategies that Portland City Council should consider to help achieve each goal. "Our Creative Future" details over 40 strategies in all.

Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan, who oversees the City's new Vibrant Communities service area, celebrated the new plan. "Today’s renewed support for artists and arts organizations ensures we that the arts will continue to flourish and connect us all. I have said this before, and I will keep saying it—the arts are the soul of our city."

Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio added, "I am also happy to see the intersection between art investments and economic development, revitalization of downtown and other cultural corridors. It’s a reminder that arts and culture is intersectional with multiple other issues—and also essential to our city’s overall health and vitality."

High school musicians perform in a meeting room while their teacher stands to the right, conducting the performance.
The award-winning Roosevelt High School jazz band performs under the direction of Jason Margolis, one of the City's Creative Laureates.

The award-winning jazz band from Roosevelt High School performed as part of the festivities, under the direction of Jason Margolis, one of the City's Creative Laureates.

Local opera singer Onry was also part of the presentation, performing a stirring rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

The full plan is available online at ourcreativefuture.org, along with additional information about the planning process and and related researchincluding an arts demand study and a statistically valid public opinion survey. 

The executive summary is available in ten languages. 

Over the next year, the City's new Office of Arts & Culture will develop a Portland Action Plan, detailing the specific strategies that the City of Portland will implement in pursuit of the overall vision. The Office will also launch a website so that Portlanders can monitor progress and provide additional input.