The Linn County Cultural Pan

The Linn County Cultural Coalition envisions a county with widespread participation in rich and diverse arts, humanities, and heritage activities—activities that promote community pride and creative expression.

First written in 2005, this plan was updated in 2020 by Rebecca Bond, Brian Carroll, Jane Donovan, Charlie Eads, Greg Schneider, Jo Anne Vetter, and Linda Ziedrich.

Who We Are

Operating in Linn County since 2005 as an independent, nonprofit corporation, the Linn County Cultural Coalition promotes development of the arts, heritage, and humanities in Linn County through periodic distributions of grant moneys from the Oregon Cultural Trust, supplemented by local donations. Our grants fund a broad range of cultural activities, including arts education, historical preservation, community theater, and library programs for toddlers and elders. From 2005 to 2020, the Linn County Cultural Coalition has distributed more than $178,000 among 87 Linn County organizations.

As ambassadors for the Oregon Cultural Trust, we are among 45 countywide and tribal cultural coalitions organized to ensure that Cultural Trust dollars reach every county in Oregon. The Trust provides each coalition with an annual base grant plus additional funds based on population. Each coalition has its own unique grant program to address local needs and priorities. With this autonomy, each coalition can involve its community in creating, sharing, documenting, celebrating, and developing local cultural identity. You can find out more about the coalitions here.

The  Linn County Cultural Coalition is comprised of as many as 12 volunteer directors, from various parts of the county and representing various local cultural organizations.

These volunteer directors are elected by their peers. The current directors are:

Linda Ziedrich, President—Lebanon, Humanities

Keith Lohse, Secretary–Albany, Museums
Jo Anne Vetter, Treasurer—Albany
Rebecca Bond—Albany, Historical Events
Jane Donovan—Albany, Theater
Charlie Eads—Lebanon, Music and Media
Greg Schneider—Scio, Community Events
Sally Skaggs—Lebanon, Arts
Valentina Soares–Lebanon, Arts
Scott Swanson–Sweet Home
Stacey Waley–Museums

History of the Coalition

The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Cultural Trust in 2001. Each of the state’s 36 counties and 9 federally recognized tribes was charged with establishing a local committee of citizens who were committed to improving the cultural life of their area. Each committee was to create a coalition with bylaws and a cultural plan, which was to be approved by the Cultural Trust. The plan would identify the unique cultural life of the area and determine future funding priorities.

In Linn County, the Board of Commissioners appointed a cultural planning committee, made up of seven citizens with experience in the arts, humanities, and heritage. Meetings were held to recruit more committee members, with the goal of equitable representation across disciplines and across the county. The committee conducted a survey and interviews to identify the county’s cultural assets and residents’ priorities in protecting and enhancing the arts, humanities, and historical resources. From these findings, the committee wrote a cultural plan for the county, with a vision statement, priorities, strategies, benchmarks, and performance measures. A hired consultant helped in compiling a cultural inventory, and the committee created a website, a grant application, and grant guidelines. Once the Oregon Cultural Trust approved the Linn County’s Cultural Plan, the committee incorporated itself as the Linn County Cultural Coalition.

The initial planning process revealed—

● a lack of public awareness about cultural events, activities, and facilities, and their benefits;
● a scarcity of funding for cultural activities, and of information about available funding sources; and
● widespread difficulties in getting to cultural activities and paying for them.

Although Linn County’s economy has improved since 2001, the Linn County Cultural Coalition has continued to focus on these issues.

The Linn County Cultural Plan was updated in 2008. This document represents a second update, completed after another survey of Linn County residents, to again assess the county’s cultural assets and priorities.

How We Define Culture

The Linn County Cultural Coalition takes its definition of culture from the Oregon Cultural Trust: Culture, for the purposes of this plan, includes arts, heritage, and humanities. Culture may include but is not limited to the following:

Art history and criticism
Cultural and heritage tourism
Historic landscapes
Historic preservation
Historic sites
Historical societies

Historic trails
Living history programs
Media arts (film, video, photography)
Visual arts

Overview of Linn County's Resources

In the heart of the Willamette Valley, Linn County stretches from the Willamette River through the western slopes of the Cascades to the summits of Mount Jefferson and Mount Washington. The Willamette, North Santiam, South Santiam, and Calapooia Rivers tie the county together, providing opportunities for commerce and recreation in serene settings. Early pioneers found rich ground on which to establish an agricultural industry and lush forests on which to build a timber industry, and both agriculture and timber still dominate most residents’ sense of cultural identity. A diverse manufacturing industry, meanwhile, has provided a steady source of job growth.

Today Linn County has one medium-size city (Albany), fourteen small to very small incorporated cities, and a handful of unincorporated villages. These communities celebrate culture in various ways. They honor their heritage through lovingly maintained old houses, numerous antique shops, historical museums and murals, tours of the county’s covered bridges, and preservation of historic structures such as the Monteith House, Rock Hill School, and Thompson’s Mill. Eight independent public libraries host authors’ readings, lectures, performances, and summer reading programs. Community festivals such as the Lebanon Strawberry Festival, the Linn County Lamb and Wool Fair (in Scio), the Oregon Jamboree (in Sweet Home), Carriage Me Back (in Brownsville), and the Northwest Art and Air Festival (in Albany) provide opportunities for local artists and crafters to display their talents. Outdoor concert series in Albany, Lebanon, and Harrisburg contribute to the cultural life, as do community choirs and bands, theater groups (the Albany Civic Theater most prominent among them), and musicians’ performances at farmers’ markets as well as in restaurants and clubs.

Despite this wealth of cultural resources, the county’s cultural organizations sometimes struggle to find volunteers, to attract audiences, and, most of all, to secure adequate funding. The Linn County Cultural Coalition aims to help.

Our Vision and Priorities

The Linn County Cultural Coalition envisions a county with widespread participation in rich and diverse arts, humanities, and heritage activities—activities that promote community pride and creative expression.

The Coalition works to realize this vision through three main priorities:

  1. To enhance funding for arts, heritage, and humanities.
  2. To increase public awareness of, and encourage participation in, cultural opportunities.
  3. To improve access to cultural opportunities for all ages, income levels, abilities, and ethnic groups throughout Linn County.

These are our strategies for meeting our priorities:

  • To maintain an inventory of Linn County’s cultural resources.
  • To broadly publicize our grants, the Oregon Cultural Trust, and the Cultural Trust tax credit, through press releases, letters to the editor, our website, our email list, social media, and public awards ceremonies.
  • To each donate each year both to one or more local cultural organizations and to the Oregon Cultural Trust.
  • To award grants to organizations that help us meet our priorities.

For more information on our grant awards, see our list of recent awards and our grant guidelines.