World Arts Foundation Inc. Mission

World Arts Foundation Inc. was established in 1978 in Portland, Oregon to promote and preserve African-American contributions to the American culture, and to support community education through the interface of arts and education in interactive, visual and performing media that showcases local and regional talent. Through our year-round work, World Arts establishes linkages between artists and the wider community that provide increased opportunities for enhanced knowledge and awareness.

For more than a quarter of a century, World Arts Foundation Inc. has served the educational needs of our community, bridging the gulf between lack of information and knowledge of different cultures. This includes the Cultural Recreation Band, a multicultural performing orchestra and music ensemble taught by professional musicians and composed of inner city and minority
youth who have had none or limited previous exposure to music. In a few short years, these young musicians have been trained to present complex classical music programs, which have led to numerous music awards, citations, including placement in prestigious statewide competitions.

World Arts Foundation Inc. History

World Arts Foundation Inc. originated and produced Oregon’s largest annual salute and celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1980. From 1980 to 1984 "Keep Living the Dream” was in a radio show format and broadcast live on the third Monday in January over KBOO radio, a volunteer-assisted alternative station in Portland, Oregon. Since the first King birthday program on KBOO, the station has continued to preempt regular program to provide all-day coverage of the program to thousands of viewers, listeners and attendees.

In 1985, due to the substantial number of performers and citizens desiring involvement in the program, a move was made beyond the station’s confines to a larger public venue-Whitaker Middle School. This move allowed for live public participation and increased community involvement in the educational program. At this time, live simulcast broadcasts are our mainstay with Portland Cable Access.  Within four years it became apparent that another larger venue was necessary in order to accommodate the increasing audiences.

In 1989 “Keep Living the Dream” made a strategic move to the Jefferson High School Performing Arts Center, a facility used regularly to produce outstanding school productions that attracted large and diverse community audiences. The program continued to be simultaneously broadcast on the radio and cable television, and now includes local commercial stations that transmit to their viewing audiences selected portions of the live program throughout the day.

The program is now televised from Highland UCC “Keep Alive the Dream” is recognized as the largest tribute in the State of Oregon and has official designation from the National Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission. World Arts Foundation Inc. has also produced the Timesound Ensemble, a vocal musical ensemble blending a variety of youthful musicians, Youthsound Stageband & Gospel Choir; a historical Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. documentary made for television and after-school theater workshops for students to supplement or replace important arts programs within public schools.


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