SB 1582 funding for cultural organizations

SB 1582
In Committee
Public Hearing 02/12/2024 8:00am HR E
Status (overview) of bill:
Committee assigned to bill:

This bill dedicates out of the General Fund, the amount of $27,414,113.59 to bailout Oregon arts organizations and declares it an emergency. To be eligible for a grant, an Oregon cultural organization must demonstrate to the department’s satisfaction that, at any time during fiscal year 2020 through fiscal year 2023, the organization experienced a significant loss in earned revenue because of statewide mandates, or guidance of the Oregon Health Authority, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. priority given to applicants who have experienced the greatest proportional loss, and proportionately among the geographic regions of this state.

These organizations received federal COVID funding, so is this still the result of COVID or failure in state policy driving businesses out of state, which affects cultural entertainment and tourism. Attracting illegal immigrants to maintain population doesn’t help with organic support of cultural  organizations. This is the cost of the state’s mismanagement.

SB 1582 includes:

• $250,000.00 for Portland Art Museum’s Center for an Untold Tomorrow.   The Portland Art Museum is seeking a quarter million bailout, and they are need it for their art shows like screening the 2000 horror film Psycho Beach Party this month. This is the same Portland Art Museum that fired 175 volunteers for lack of diversity, which may be illegal, and replaced them, in part, with paid employees.  Also, the new program must have been a massive failure because the Portland Art Museum Facebook page is begging everyone for more volunteers (just months after laying off 175).   Are taxpayers paying the Art Museum’s mistake?

• $ 2,555,175.00 for Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  The Ashland Shakespeare Festival is looking to lawmakers for a $2.5 million bailout, despite having $90 million in assets.  For over a decade the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has drawn complaints from longtime ticket-holders for injecting too much politics into classical Shakespeare plays.  Mary McDonald Lewis on Substack reported on the decline of the festival.   It speaks about over-paid 6 figure administrators.  It also quotes fans complaining about Shakespeare politics such as, “My friends and I went to the OSF every summer for years. We all stopped going .. At least a decade ago, the progressive agenda was already making most shows unwatchable. Regardless of where one stood on the political spectrum, it was cringe”  The OSF has $90 million in assets, but needs a quick $2.5 million to survive.  Is this the best use of our taxpayer dollars?

New to the list is the Black United Fund for $900,000.

High Desert Museum receives both venue and economic grants for $2,379,750. They say they open 12 new exhibits a year, perhaps a reevaluation of management and audit is needed if they are to receive such large amounts.

There is no accountability in the bill that requires organization audits after the funds are dispersed, or any requirements for donor support to reduce taxpayer funding. These organizations must be weened from state support.



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