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A family explores a  pond at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center/Wasco County Museum in The Dalles Sept. 29.  The facility has received $123,742  in state grant funding, part of a $25.7 million relief package for cultural organizations approved by the emergency board of the Oregon legislature in July.

Columbia River Gorge cultural organizations received $380,858 in grant funding through Oregon’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support (CRFCS) grant awards totaling $25.7 million statewide.

Six Wasco County cultural organizations were granted a total $209,256; eight organizations in Hood River County received $171 thousand. Statewide, 621 organizations received grant awards.

Grants were distributed through a partnership between the Oregon Cultural Trust and its County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions.

The funds, allocated to the Cultural Trust for Oregon, are for cultural organizations facing losses due to the COVID-19 health crisis, Funds were made available through a $50 million relief package for Oregon culture approved by the Emergency Board of the Oregon Legislature in July.

“Many cultural organizations and institutions have closed their doors to help keep us all safe during this pandemic. These grants will mean that more than 600 Oregon arts and culture organizations across our state’s counties and Tribes will be able to keep up their vital creative work,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Everything from museums to fairgrounds to the summer events we all know and love can continue to enrich our lives—connecting us to one another and giving us the hope and inspiration we need.”

“These funds are life blood to Oregon’s cultural community,” added Chuck Sams, chair of the Cultural Trust Board of Directors. “While they won’t replace all the losses suffered during the pandemic, they will ensure Oregon culture survives this crisis. We are deeply grateful to the Oregon Legislature for making this possible.”

The largest award is $1.4 million to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI); the average grant award is $41,458. Just under $90 million in requests were received from 751 organizations; 130 organizations were ineligible for awards based on program guidelines.

Wasco County

In Wasco County, Crates Point in The Dalles, which is the legal entity operating the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center/Wasco County Historical Museum, received the largest award in the Gorge at $123,742.

“This grant is a huge relief to us,” said Carolyn Purcell, executive director at the museum. Staff has been furloughed for six months, she said. The museum plans to return to full staffing, and hours, on Oct. 1. The in-house cafe and Kids Explorer Room will remain closed. Raptors are on view 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. but presentations are not yet possible.

Two Smithsonian Traveling Exhibits poster displays are currently showing; Choosing to Participate is an exhibition about social justice, equality, and personal responsibility for taking a stand. The exhibit features quotes from prominent historical figures such as Albert Einstein and George Washington that encourage dialogue, engagement, respect and participation; and Votes for Women – A Portrait of Persistence, which commemorates the Centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the women that championed the cause.

Additional recipients in Wasco County include the Dufur Historical Society Living History Museum Dufur, $ 7,346; the Original Courthouse Preservation Corporation in The Dalles, $ 3,208; The Dalles Art Association, $ 17,573; The Dalles Civic Auditorium Historic Preservation Committee, $42,743 and the National Neon Sign Museum in The Dalles, $14,644. In total, county organizations received $ 209,256 in grants.

Hood River County

In Hood River County, Arts in Education of the Gorge in Hood River received $ 15,002; Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, $ 31,644; Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association in Hood River, $26,713; Friends of the Cascade Locks Historical Museum in Cascade Locks, $21,106; Hood River County Fair in Odell, $ 39,043; Hood River County Heritage Council in Hood River, $31,707 and Hutson Museum Mt Hood in Parkdale received $6,387. Hood River County received a total of $171,602.


Also receiving grants in the region were the Confederated Tribes of The Warm Springs Reservation, $53,736, and the Museum at Warm Springs, $140,147, both located in Warm Springs.

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