Editorial: Groups urged to apply for Culture Trust funds by Nov. 1

October 5, 2011

Fine art, wrote John Ruskin, "is that in which the hand, the head and the heart go together."

This community routinely puts hands, heads, and hearts together, along with our wallets, via the Hood River Cultural Trust.

Now comes the payoff for the community's ongoing support of art, literature, dance, music, and other expressions of ourselves.

Coalition members are urging local people and organizations working to preserve, provide access to, and otherwise enhance culture to consider applying for a Cultural Trust grant.

The Coalition will be accepting grant applications requesting funding for culturally significant projects benefiting Hood River County this fall. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1, 2011, for projects operating in 2012.

The Oregon Cultural Trust program is a gift from the Oregon Legislature. The Trust was created by the legislature in 2001 to help build a permanent endowment fund to support Oregon's nonprofit arts, heritage, and humanities organizations, and to provide grants to improve public participation in cultural endeavors and reward excellence in the field.

Guidelines for the grants and application, answers to frequently asked questions and much more information about the local Cultural Trust program may be found at the Hood River Cultural Trust website, www.hoodriverculturaltrust.org.

Funding for the grants comes from the Oregon Cultural Trust. While the amount available varies from year to year, the Hood River Cultural Trust Coalition has generally had between $5,000 and $10,000 annually to distribute.

The Hood River Cultural Trust has provided grants for numerous projects over the years - many of them from the fields of art or music. The Coalition is especially interested in having more heritage and humanities projects submitted for consideration.

Among projects or organizations provided with grants in Hood River County in recent years are the Gorge Music Series, Columbia Gorge Community College's Spring Humanities Series, the Japanese Heritage Garden, Columbia Arts, The Fruit Foundation Historical Society, Nuestra Comunidad Sana, Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association, Columbia Gorge Arts in Education and Klahre House.

Publicly supported art in Hood River County frequently yields works that truly reflect what is important in this part of the world. An example is shown above, from last month's show at Columbia Art Gallery, a painting of Stark Crimson pears, by Mark Larsen, engaging head, hands and heart in depicting local agriculture.

Here's how the Trust works:

Taxpayers make a donation to a supported Oregon cultural nonprofit, then an equal contribution to the Oregon Cultural Trust.

A dollar-for-dollar tax credit for the gift to the Trust can then be claimed on the Oregon state income tax return (up to $500 for individuals, $1,000 for couples filing jointly and $2,500 for Oregon corporations). This goes back into a fund that is distributed among all 36 counties.

A list of qualifying Oregon cultural nonprofit organizations, and complete information about the cultural trust program, tax credits, and methods for making donations is available at the Oregon Cultural Trust website, www.culturaltrust.org.

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