By Jane Mulholland
The League of Women Voters of Lincoln County (LWVLC) held its December Membership Meeting at the Hallmark Resort in Newport. Thank you to Marilyn Podesta for her excellent organizational skills and planning. We were happy to have 27 people in attendance and we enjoyed a delicious luncheon in a festive atmosphere.
Our speaker, Jason Holland, is the Executive Director for the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA). Jason has a very interesting background. He lived in Florida in his early years where his father was an executive with Disney Corporation. He began playing an instrument as a young child and this opened up the world of performing arts to him. When he was 9, his family moved to Tokyo so his father could help open Tokyo Disney. They remained in Tokyo for 4 years. He was an education major at the University of Kansas with the goal of becoming an English teacher that put-on plays; however, he became a professional actor in Chicago instead and this led him into performing in plays and later becoming a director. His next job in the field was in the area of arts management and advocacy, which he has been doing for almost 20 years, first in the Los Angeles area and now in Newport. Jason is a passionate and innovative non-profit executive leader with broad-based operational and programmatic leadership experience. Areas of principal responsibilities include program development, impact measurement, fundraising, staff development, artistic programming, community engagement, organizational strategy and implementation.
Jason shared with us how being exposed to various forms of arts at different ages made a huge impact on him and his life directions. He has learned over time that it is important not only to expose children and youth to options as a performer, but also to the various jobs that exist within the arts; i.e., stage manager, sound and lighting, box office, set production, and marketing to name a few. The presentation gave us an understanding of the OCCA and its various programs. OCCA was founded in 1977 as a grassroots local arts council tasked with supporting arts and artists throughout Lincoln County. Through advocacy, the regional arts council helps build support for a strong arts and culture community. OCCA is the region’s leading nonprofit organization for promoting and developing community arts. With over 35 years of service experience, OCCA is dedicated to serving the region’s arts, heritage and humanities organizations, as well as artists and performance ensembles. OCCA receives funds, in part, from the Oregon Arts Commission to accomplish these services. In addition to the role as Arts Council, OCCA operates two of coastal Oregon’s premier arts venues—the Newport Visual Arts Center and the Newport Performing Arts
Center—since its doors opened in 1988. The traveling Art Bus is another activity within the OCAA.
Jason provided updates on how arts and culture organizations fared through the pandemic; about the Arts and Economic Prosperity study; and the benefit of the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit, which allows people to reduce their tax liability through donations to the arts.
In addition to his work with the OCCA, Jason currently serves as co-chair of the Coastal Equity and Inclusion Committee as well as the treasurer for the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition. Thank you, Jason, for an excellent presentation! Marilyn closed the program by recognizing one of our Lifetime Members, Maxine Demory of Newport. Maxine has been a member for 59 years, originally joining in Astoria before moving to Lincoln County. Our other lifetime member, Sue Groshong, was unable to be there but we felt her presence. Marilyn also recognized Jean Cowan for her excellent leadership facilitating the candidate forms this fall.
The program for the January 19 Membership Meeting will be presented by Ruth Kistler and will focus on the “work” of the League at the county and state level. We hope everyone will join us for this Zoom meeting. A link will be sent out prior to the 19th