Don’t make me send in the mimes

| Print |  Email
Thursday, February 01, 2007

s_Robin

In a previous life, I was an arts editor. I had to argue longer, and a little louder, to get an arts story on the newspaper’s front page, while editors offering tales of big mergers or corrupt cops breezed onto Page 1. So I’m not surprised that the arts “moment” at the recent Oregon Leadership Summit was pretty much ignored in the news coverage of the summit.

The local papers and business press and their editorial boards wrote at length about the sustainability theme of the summit; indeed, that was our January cover story.

But that arts segment, which included dance and classical music performances listed on the agenda as “the lunch program,” shouldn’t be underestimated. It was an elegant shot across the bow by those who have worked long and hard to get the arts included in the Oregon Business Plan, a highly regarded framework for priorities for business and political leaders.

Jamey Hampton, co-founder of Portland dance troupe BodyVox and the son of arts advocate and timber baron John Hampton, gave a smart, funny and passionate speech. Duncan Wyse, president of the Oregon Business Council, invited him to do that in honor of John, who long had lobbied the council to include the arts in its business plan.

John Hampton, who passed away last year, might have liked how his son didn’t mince words as the younger Hampton stood in a place where his father often did: in front of a room full of business people, trying to convince them that arts are not only an artistic expression, but an important fuel in the economic engine.

“I initially accepted this gig today with a bit of trepidation,” Jamey said in his remarks. He wondered if he would have to “stand in front of yet another group of people and make the speech about how the arts are important to the economy of a region ... and have people nod their heads in agreement that, in fact, the arts are important while they are saying inside, ‘Yes, but only after we’ve put all the other aspects of our house in order. And if our schools don’t have enough money, shouldn’t we cut the arts programs first so we can afford the expensive football gear?’”

After the summit, I asked Wyse why the arts still were not a specific initiative in the business plan, now in its fifth year. “We had considered arts for this year, but decided we had a lot on our plate right now,” he said. To the council’s credit, it gave the arts a coveted program spot. Will the arts be in the plan next year? Wyse said the council hadn’t decided. But indecision is not what arts advocates are feeling.

“We’re giving Duncan a little breathing room but we plan a full attack to convince the council that arts should be in the business plan,” says Virginia Willard, executive director of the Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts (NWBCA). “We’re going to focus on creativity and innovation and how important it is to the economy. We need strong arts to compete. Arts have been seen as the frosting. Now we need to see it as the yeast.”

“The timing is right,” says Carol Morse, the NWBCA board president, adding that she is certain the arts will be included in the plan next year. Morse and Willard are formidable forces, and they aren’t alone.

The real honor to John Hampton would be to elevate the arts from a moment at the summit to a full-fledged initiative in the business plan. And to give his son, and all those who work tirelessly for the arts, a seat at the table, instead of being just the invited lunchtime guests.


— Robin Doussard
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


Read more...

The Good Hacker

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY CHRIS HIGGINS

As digital security breaches skyrocket, a cybersleuth everyman takes center stage.


Read more...

Man for All Seasons

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

A longtime technologist and entrepreneur, Dwayne Johnson, 53, is managing partner of PDXO/GlobeThree Ventures, a strategy and business consultancy in Portland.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

Can small be large?

Linda Baker
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
040115-lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Leaders in Oregon's ag sector gathered this morning in Portland’s Coopers Hall winery/taproom to discuss the role of the region as an export gateway, impediments to exporting products and solutions to containerized shipping challenges.


Read more...

A Future Uncertain

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise. As a fiduciary, investment advisors need to be focused on both sides of the coin.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS