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Arts-Culture Alliance backs room-tax proposal

Published On: Oct 08 2013 01:24:11 PM CDT
BEND, Ore. -

The Arts & Culture Alliance (ACA) supports Measure 9-94 which will appear on the City of Bend’s November  5 Ballot. The Measure, if approved, would increase the temporary lodging tax rate from 9% to 10.4% by June 1, 2015. Approximately $150,000 annually would be generated from the additional revenue to establish a cultural tourism fund providing grants for Bend’s arts organizations.

Formed in May of 2010, the Arts and Culture Alliance realizes the impact the arts have on Central Oregon and the economy. The ACA was formed to create collaboration and networking opportunities for local arts and cultural organizations; their shared purpose in working together to promote the arts and supporting each other establishes a collective voice.

A letter to voters, signed by supporters of the arts community, stated, “Arts and culture define a community’s personality and quality of life, but an investment in art and culture is also an investment in Bend’s creative economy.

“Bend’s creative economy [currently] supports 160 jobs, generates $16 million per year in local spending, and provides nearly 2 million cultural experiences per year.”

During 2012, cultural travelers spent $19.6 billion in Oregon, and Bend’s arts and cultural events, programs and products can, and should, tap these additional, potential dollars.

“Measure 9-94 reinvests in both our economy and community well being at no cost to residents,” the voter letter concluded. “A vibrant cultural economy attracts more visitors, new residents, new business opportunities, and new jobs.”

By State law, 70% of the additional revenue from the hotel room tax increase would be allocated to tourism promotion and 30% for police and fire services. The Measure would provide approximately $450,000 additional dollars per year for tourism marketing, of which a small percentage or about $150,000 would be set aside annually for cultural tourism, and $200,000 per year for Bend’s police and fire departments.

The increased tourism marketing would be used to expand marketing and advertising of Bend as a destination in Seattle and Northern California, and would especially focus on the winter and shoulder seasons, October - May. Many of the local arts and cultural organizations provide their main programs and services during this time, including the Tower Theatre, 2nd Street Theater, Cascades Theatrical Company, High Desert Chamber Music, and more.

Central Oregon has a wealth of cultural assets, creative industries, and arts and cultural activities that play a significant role in generating economic growth in the region. Despite which organizations receive monies from the funds set aside for cultural tourism, the economic boost will help to grow these assets, and in turn, strengthen our communities.

The 1.4% increase in room tax would be incremental, with a 1% increase established on June 1, 2014, and the additional .4% on June 1, 2015. This increase is only on hotel rooms in Bend; it is separate and non additive to the 1% increase Deschutes County is requesting in Measure 9-96 to help fund the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center.

Measure 9-94 reinvests in both our economy and community well-being at no cost to residents. A vibrant cultural economy attracts more visitors, new residents, new business opportunities and new jobs.

About the Arts & Cultural Alliance

ACA members include: 2nd Street Theater; Art in Public Places; Art in the High Desert; Arts, Beautification & Culture Commission, Arts Central, Atelier 6000, Bella Acappella Harmony, Bend Chamber of Commerce, Bend Dance Project, BendFilm, Caldera, Cascade Arts & Entertainment, Cascade Chorale, Cascades Theatrical Co., Central Oregon Mastersingers, Central Oregon Symphony Association, COCC Barber Library Rotunda Gallery, Des Chutes Historical Museum, Deschutes Public Library, High Desert Chamber Music, High Desert Journal, Les Schwab Amphitheater, Lubbesmeyer Studio, Mockingbird Gallery, Museum at Warm Springs, Redmond Community Concert Association, Roundhouse Foundation, Sisters Folk Festival, Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, Sunriver Music Festival, Terpsichorean Dance Studio, The Nature of Words & Tower Theatre Foundation.

Membership is open to creative arts practitioners, non-profits, businesses, artists, groups and organizations that focus on the arts. Please visit www.artsandculstureco.org, www.facebook.com/ArtsCultureAlliance, or contact Michelle Solley for more information: michelledsolley@gmail.com.

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