M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The spirit of creativity and innovation that lives in the Pacific Northwest is perhaps no better expressed than in its thriving arts and culture. From exciting musical productions in Boise to world-renowned Pacific Northwest Ballet performances in Seattle to the nationally recognized Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska, cities across the region are breathing life into their communities through the arts. Despite the incredible COVID-19-related challenges they have faced in the last two years, arts organizations throughout the region have shown incredible resilience and creativity.   

Portland is no different, with an ever-growing creative ecology that has continued to find ways to engage and connect with audiences even through these challenging times. The Murdock Trust is proud to support several organizations that seek to enrich Portland’s diverse art scene and make encounters with art accessible to everyone. At our Fall 2021 Grants Meeting, we had the opportunity to support three more such organizations:  

Artists Repertory Theatre 

Artists Repertory Theatre performance space
Credit: Jeff Hayes

Artists Repertory Theatre (ART) is Portland’s longest-running professional theater. ART aims to be a place where artists and audiences can take creative risks, and when COVID-19 hit, they put these innovation skills to use in creating an award-winning digital season. Though they have a legacy of thought-provoking regional, national, and world performances, they care deeply about local Portland artists and ensure that they remain at the center of ART. 

Portland Open Studios 

A hand paints on a canvas

For two weekends every October, Portland Open Studios paints a picture for the public of what it’s like to be a Portland artist. The Portland Open Studios team collaborates with over 100 local artists to create a free tour that touches nearly every neighborhood in Portland, letting local artists show off their studio. Visitors and locals get to see art in the making, artists get to grow their reach, and a vibrant art community is formed and fostered.  

Portland Playhouse 

The Portland Playhouse puts on performances for over 10,000 visitors annually from a historic repurposed church in the King neighborhood. With a passion for creating an inclusive theater experience, the Portland Playhouse team intentionally includes those with limited access to theater through education programs, complimentary tickets for organizations that work with disadvantaged youth, and a culturally diverse set of productions.  

As the nation slowly starts to fill seats in auditoriums again, these organizations and so many others across the Pacific Northwest deserve a standing ovation for their important work in enriching our region’s cultural base, pandemic or not. Join us in applauding all who are working tirelessly to make Arts & Culture a space where every individual, family, and community has the opportunity to flourish and thrive.  

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The Trust guides nonprofit organizations through every level of their development through grants and other resources.

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