The Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene (ABAE) has served Eugene’s arts and business sectors for more than a decade. Many dedicated individuals have invested their time and talents to shape the ABAE into the successful organization it is today. The key to the ABAE’s success is leveraging partnerships for the biggest community impact. Over the years, ABAE has carefully curated its programs and continues to evolve to meet the needs of Eugene.


Kelly Johnson



Kelly Johnson brings a lifelong passion for the arts and a successful track record in nonprofit administration to her role as executive director. Prior to joining ABAE in 2018, Kelly was the development director at ShelterCare. She has a bachelor’s degree in theatre from the University of Colorado at Denver and a master’s degree in arts administration from the University of Oregon. When she’s not enjoying Eugene’s spectacular arts and culture scene, you can find Kelly curled up with a good book, taking a long walk around town, or cheering in the stands at a Ducks football game.


In 2006, the City of Eugene decided to take a close look at our community’s cultural strengths and develop an integrated vision for the future. This year of research and conversations resulted in the Cultural Policy Review (CPR) — a report that recommended the creation of an alliance that would coordinate and strengthen the efforts of the public, private and nonprofit cultural sectors, while fostering high-level civic leadership in support of arts and culture.

The City pulled together a group of stakeholders, consisting of leaders from the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Lane Community College, University of Oregon, and Travel Lane County, to bring this alliance to fruition. These five founding partners launched the Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene in 2008 and continue to contribute to the vision and leadership of the ABAE as members of the board of directors.

Our Founding

Making Connections

Out of the gate, the founding partners knew that Eugene needed more opportunities for interactions between artists and businesses. There was also a strong desire to recognize and celebrate the amazing work happening in our community. Using models from similar nonprofits around the country, they created the Business Recognizing Arts Vision and Achievement (BRAVA) breakfast to provide a space for cross-sector relationships to grow and honor excellence.

While the BRAVA breakfast filled the community’s desire to gather, learn and celebrate, there was still a need for dedicated time to network and learn about the amazing arts organizations in our community. The ABAE launched Arts After Hours to provide an opportunity for business and arts leaders to create new relationships, strike up conversations about future partnerships, and explore the congruent interests of the arts and business.

The Cultural Policy Review revealed that our community was lacking a comprehensive communication tool to provide information about Eugene’s arts and culture to residents and visitors. The ABAE decided to tackle this need and developed Eugene-A-Go-Go, a website that served as a comprehensive online arts and culture community until 2015. It was a place where community members could easily learn about the arts and culture activities happening throughout our community. As technology shifted, the need for this tool diminished, and the ABAE retired it.

While many of our programs have focused on exploring and highlighting the ways that the business sector can support the arts, we also wanted a way to demonstrate how arts and creativity could provide business solutions. The Creative Academy seminar series was launched to help business professionals connect with the arts in new ways and learn how the arts can support and drive innovation and company culture.

The arts sector has a wide-reaching impact – some of which are easy to recognize, while others are not as apparent. In an effort to help the business sector realize the value of the arts, the ABAE, along with several community partners, joined with Americans for the Arts to participate in the Arts & Economic Prosperity study. This national study measures nonprofit arts and cultural organizations’ local economic impact on jobs, income paid to residents and revenue for local and state governments. The ABAE led efforts to gather data and share results for studies in 2012 and 2017.

To spur more economic activity in the arts sector, the ABAE created Art Loans. These loans encourage Eugene businesses, artists and nonprofits to incorporate art in a way that creates economic growth.

Economic Prospertiy


Downtown Lighting Project (2013)

The ABAE served as a convener for a project to bring LED lighting to Downtown Eugene to create stunning visual streetscape that showcased the city’s creativity and distinct personality.

Meet-Ups (2014)

The ABAE held monthly community meetings to discuss issues facing the intersection of the arts and business sectors.

Create! Eugene (2013-2015)

A month-long series of creative workshops and cultural festivals that took place throughout the month of August, with a focus on downtown Eugene and the greater Eugene-Springfield-Lane County area.

Make a Band (2015)

Business leaders, musicians and community members showcased their musical talents and formed unique bands made up of members who had previously never worked together.


Blue Paint Splotch

Cultural Policy Review released

Blue Paint Splotch

ABAE Launched

Blue Paint Splotch

Formal MOU with partners
First BRAVA breakfast

Blue Paint Splotch

First Arts After Hours
EAGG launched

Blue Paint Splotch

Arts & Economic Prosperity 4

Green Paint Splotch

501 C 3 status
Create! Eugene
Downtown Lighting Project

Green Paint Splotch

Art Loan
Make a Band
EAGG retired

Green Paint Splotch

Creativity Academy Launched
Arts & Economic Prosperity 5


Since its founding in 2008, the Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene has leveraged partnerships in order to cement arts and culture as essential to our community’s long-term vitality. Because of such partnerships we were able to:

  • Bring 12 noted visionaries to speak at ABAE events
  • Spearhead 2 detailed economic studies on the local impact of arts and culture
  • Pay tribute to more than 50 local artists and organizations
  • Give awards to 25 inspiring partnerships and businesses
  • Invest $200,000 in local arts projects
  • Host 30 events connecting the arts and business sectors
  • Present 16 Creative Academy seminars


Our annual report provides information about our organization’s growth and an overview of work completed during the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).

Annual Report

2021 Annual Report

2020 Annual Report

2020 Annual Report

We love helping arts and businesses find mutual success by working together. Here are a few top-notch arts-and-business partnerships from right here in our community. To see more inspiring videos visit our
YouTube Channel.


Eugene’s arts ecosystem is incredibly broad and diverse for a community of its size. There are many ways that you or your business can get involved, to ensure the arts continue to thrive, which in turn boosts our local economy and helps make Eugene an ideal place to live and work. Want a snapshot of Eugene’s arts organizations, as well as volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved? Our annual Arts Guide is a great place to start!

Arts Guide

2021 Arts Guide

The ABAE works closely with community partners such as Lane Arts Council and the City of Eugene Cultural Services department.

Lane Arts

Lane Arts Council
Lane Arts Council cultivates strong and creative arts communities by providing high-quality arts experiences, engaging people of all ages in arts education, and encouraging artistic endeavors.

Program Highlights: First Friday Art Walk, Artist Development Workshops, and programs to bring arts to schools.

Cultural Services

City of Eugene Cultural Services
Cultural Services provides responsible and catalytic leadership to support the public’s vision for a thriving arts and cultural sector that contributes to the community’s social and economic well-being.

Program Highlights: The Hult Center of the Performing
Arts, 20×21 Mural Project, and EugFun Events.

Want to learn more about what is happening at the state and national level? We are members of the following groups to learn and support:

Americans for the Arts
Americans for the Arts’ mission is to build recognition and support for the extraordinary and dynamic value of the arts and to lead, serve, and advance the diverse networks of organizations and individuals who cultivate the arts in America.

Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Cultural Advocacy Coalition
The Cultural Advocacy Coalition is the statewide advocacy organization lobbying Salem on behalf of art, culture, heritage and the humanities.

Cultural Trust

Oregon Cultural Trust
The Oregon Cultural Trust’s mission is to lead Oregon in cultivating, growing and valuing culture as an integral part of communities. They encourage Oregonians to invest in a permanent fund that provides annual grants to cultural organizations.