Oregon's Diverse Talent Base – its Greatest Strength

Oregon Talent

Whether it’s the thriving independent music scene, live theater, or a combination of multiple creative disciplines, there is no doubt Oregon is a thriving base of creative expression.   According to the Oregon Arts Commission over 60,000 jobs in Oregon are directly related to the creative economy.  That may not sound like a lot of jobs but when you figure that Oregon has about 1/10 of the population of California, it’s a large section of the total workforce in Oregon.  So when a film or television project comes to Oregon, there is a rich and diverse depth of talent to pull from.

In recent years Oregon has become the home to many well respected and successful independent music artists.  Thanks to the success of The Decemberists, The Dandy Warhols, Pink Martini, The Crazy 8’s, Curtis Saldago, and many others, Oregon has adopted a brand of diverse musical talent.    The indie music scene is so much a part of the fabric of Oregon’s cultural sense that its common to see paintings of musicians displayed in Portland’s city hall. In September Portland plays host to the emerging Musicfest Northwest Festival which is in its tenth year.

In live theater, Oregon has a wide array of first class theater companies.  Perhaps the most recognized is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR which this year celebrates it’s 75th anniversary.  The festival is home to countless local actors who have chosen to make southern Oregon their home.  One such actor is renowned actor Anthony Heald who was profiled in the Oregonian recently.  In Portland there are several successful theater companies that produce first class original productions.  Portland Center Stage recently completed it’s season and it’s already gearing up for another stand out season beginning in the fall.  In August Artists Repertory Theater is producing “Long Days Journey into Night” starring Oregon resident William Hurt.

Oregon is also home to many different creative minds that thrive on out of the box ideas.  One such demonstration of this is the recent Ballet Font Project.  Thanks to the partnership of the Oregon Ballet Theater,local animation studio Fashion Buddha, and  W + K 12 the Linge Font was created.  Through motion capture technology, Fashion Buddha recorded the movement of two ballet dancers who danced the alphabet.  Once the movement was turned into data, a new type font was created.  The three partners donated their time for this project to celebrate the arts and education.

Often Oregon is branded with an “out of the mainstream” label .  But instead of considering this as a liability, the creative community continues to embrace this label and as a result, Oregon’s reputation as a strong creative force gets stronger and stronger.

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