Portland, April 1st, 2016. Miracle Theatre Group (aka Milagro), the Northwest’s premier Latino arts and culture organization, was awarded $187,750 in grants during the first quarter of 2016. The funds will be used for general operating support and to fund Milagro’s artistic bilingual programming, arts education and community engagement efforts. Artists are gearing up for, “The National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Into the Beautiful North.” Inspired by the classic film The Magnificent Seven, it’s the story of a young woman living in a small Mexican village and her companions who venture across the border determined to bring back seven good men to protect their village from the invasion of narcotraficantes (drug traffickers). The production runs from April 28th – May 28th. 

Contigo Pan y Cebolla Photo by Russell J Young

For more than 30 years, Milagro has been providing Latino theatre, culture and arts education experiences for the enrichment of all communities in the Pacific Northwest and across the country.  (Photo by Russell J Young)

Contigo Pan y Cebolla Photo by Russell J Young

This is a scene from the recent production, Contigo Pan y Cebolla. Photo by Russell J Young.

Here’s a list of foundations which contributed to the total $187,750 which Milagro received in grants:

The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation awarded Milagro a general operating support grant totaling $134,000 to be dispersed over four years to support national touring and arts education programming, operations and capacity building.  The Miller Foundation is an independent, private foundation, established in 2002 to enhance the quality of life of Oregonians through support of the Arts and Education, in honor of James F. Miller and his wife Marion, who were passionate about languages, history, mythology, literature, ballet, music, the arts, and other cultures, and who gave generously to many cultural and educational institutions in both Oregon and New York. The Miller Foundation works to fulfill their legacy by supporting the arts and education throughout the state of Oregon. For more information visit, http://www.millerfound.org/

 The Bloomfield  Family Foundation awarded Milagro a grant of $5,000 to support bilingual theatre residency programs in Jackson Country. Since the early 2000s, the Bloomfields have run the Bloomfield Family Foundation, which supports artistic and intellectual pursuits in communities that are not traditionally well served, plus innovation in education and breakthroughs in medical research, especially neurological research.  For more information, visit http://501c3lookup.org/bloomfield_family_foundation/.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) awarded $22,125 to Milagro in General Operating Support, which will allow the organization to continue to build MainStage, Touring, Arts Education and Creative Engagement programs in 2016 – 2107. RACC receives funding from a variety of public and private partners to serve artists, arts organizations, schools and residents throughout Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. RACC provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through workplace giving; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; and provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists.  For more information, visit http://racc.org/

The EC Brown Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to Milagro to support the continuation of sexual health workshops statewide, using the platform of the touring play, Broken Promises, as part of a collaborative project with OYE, opciones Y educación (Options & Education), which engages Latino youth and adults in sexual health workshops and community events, the Multnomah County Health Department, and Latino Network. The EC Brown Foundation was created in 1930 as part of the will of Ellis C. Brown, M.D., as a perpetual charitable trust to be administered under the direction of the president of the University of Oregon. Its mission is to promote a sound and healthy understanding of sexual attitudes, activities, and behaviors among young people in the state of Oregon.

Oregon Humanities awarded Milagro a Public Program Grant in the amount of $2,625 to support a series of post-play conversations with audiences, scholars and local experts to talk about themes that will emerge from Milagro’s production of Into the Beautiful North, including topics of Young Latina Empowerment, Displacement and its Consequences, and Movies as Catalyst for Change. Oregon Humanities has been generously supporting Milagro for over a decade. Oregon Humanities is a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities which funds OH’s grant program. Formerly the Oregon Council for the Humanities, Oregon Humanities was established in 1971 and is one of five statewide partners of the Oregon Cultural Trust.  For more information, visit http://oregonhumanities.org/

The Ford Family Foundation awarded Milagro a $5,000 grant to support Healthy Relationships workshops in conjunction with the touring of Teatro Milagro’s production Broken Promises in Umatilla County. The Ford Family Foundation funds public charities and governmental entities that predominately benefit small communities in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California, with grants that work at many strategic levels in rural communities – from emergency needs to systemic change.  Started in 1957, the Ford Family Foundation now manages large, internal initiatives and makes grants to public charities predominantly benefiting communities in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California.  For more information, visit www.tfff.org.   

The Hoover Family Foundation awarded Milagro $4,000 to support Healthy Relationships residency program at Roosevelt High School. The Hoover Family Foundation was created in 1992 by James and Katherine Hoover. Significant additional funding was provided in 1995 through the estate of James’ mother Mildred Mickel Hoover, whose husband, Truman Hoover, had been an executive in the pharmaceutical industry. The goals of the foundation aim to increase the self-sufficiency and quality of life for individuals through human service and enriched education; and to increase the ability of organizations to provide excellence in their commitment to the community.

The Herbert A Templeton Foundation awarded Milagro $5,000 to support Healthy Relationship residency programs in conjunction with the touring of Teatro Milagro’s production Broken Promises. Founded in 1955, the principal activity of the Herbert A Templeton Foundation is the making of grants to appropriate tax-exempt organizations in the areas of education, social concerns, performing arts and humanities. The Foundation endeavors to remain responsive to changing conditions, and perceptive to emerging and critical needs. Overall, the trustees feel a strong commitment to strengthening the quality of life for the total community with special emphasis on giving support to youth. 

From Milagro:

For more information about Milagro call 503-236-7253.

Here’s a history of the organization: José Eduardo González, Executive Director, and Dañel Malán, Teatro Milagro Artistic Director, founded the Miracle Theatre Group, a.k.a. Milagro, in 1985. Milagro was an outgrowth of ARTPAZ, founded and owned by González and Malán in 1984, that produced an eclectic blend of theatre productions beginning with Relatively Speaking by Alan Ayckbourn, staged at the Savier Street Theatre. In the next year, ARTPAZ experimented with a variety of productions, avant garde, irreverent, and socially conscious, as it searched for both identity and purpose.

Oedipus Rex Production, 1986

Oedipus Rex Production, 1986

In 1986, after the formation of Milagro as a non-profit organization, the company produced Oedipus Rex at the Northwest Service Center and founded the Ancient Greek Theatre Festival. For the next seven years, Miracle continued to produce Greek tragedies and comedies. In 1989, González, inspired by nostalgia for his beloved Southwest, spearheaded the creation of the first Hispanic Cultural Festival. This ambitious event presented two adult plays,Roosters by Milcha Sanchez-Scott and Burning Patience by Antonio Skarmeta, and Teatro Milagro’s first bilingual children’s play, Perez y Martina by Thom Jenkins. Additionally, the first program presented local dance and music companies, featured Portland poets in bilingual poetry readings, and in collaboration with the Council for Human Rights in Latin America, presented the internationally renowned musical group Illapu from Chile.

Over the next two seasons, Milagro continued to produce the Hispanic Cultural Festival in the spring and the Ancient Greek Theatre Festival in the fall (talk about identity crisis!). Finally, in 1992 the organization felt that the transition point had been reached and dedicated its entire energy to the production of Hispanic works of theatre, art and culture. And it has not turned back since.

Día de los Muertos Festival

Día de los Muertos Festival

At the end of 1992, Milagro reached another important juncture. It decided to relinquish its tenancy at the Northwest Service Center and find its own home. Over the next three years, Miracle continued to produce a full season of productions utilizing available theatres and “spaces” throughout the region. Finally in September of 1995, after three years of wandering and wondering, Miracle discovered its present home. In seven short weeks it set up its administrative offices and built its current theatre, just in time for the first Día de los Muertos Festival. In December of 1997, it accomplished another milestone: purchasing its building. This enabled it to expand its facilities to include a dance/rehearsal studio, a gallery space, scene shop, and props/costume storage area. Recently, the organization has taken over more space and will be working to expand its lobby and establish a café, box office and gift shop.