History of Ethos
Ethos was officially organized in 1998 by Charles Lewis and a dedicated group of volunteer staff and instructors. The first classes were offered in the basement of the University of Portland. Since that time the organization has moved (and purchased) a North Portland location and has grown to become one of Oregon’s largest arts education sources and has received numerous regional and national awards:
- E-Town’s E-chievement Award for program excellence (2004)
- Oregon Festival and Events: First place for Ethos’ Educational Program
- Semi-Finalist – Coming Up Taller Award by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012)
Ethos is a community based organization and is the result of the involvement of hundreds of volunteers, former staff, and Board members. We always remember those who have helped shape Ethos’ programs while looking forward to the future of the organization.
Ethos is guided by the principle that every child should have access to music education, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographic location. Headquartered in north Portland, in an Enterprise Community (as established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development) Ethos is committed to making the benefits of music education available to at-risk youth across Oregon.
Like the definition of the Greek word “Ethos”, the organization’s artistic vision is built on the tenant that music education has the transformative power to change thoughts, moods, and actions. To this end, Ethos provides private and group music lessons (on a sliding scale) in north Portland, places musicians to teach afterschool classes in 26 low-income schools in north and northeast Portland, and also places 10 musician-educators (AmeriCorps members) to live and teach general music full-time in the rural communities of Fossil, Condon, Elkton, Long Creek, Madras, Metolius, and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
Ethos’ artistic leadership is comprised of the organization’s Executive Director, teaching staff, and our Urban and Rural Outreach Managers. Hiring and program design is determined through committees to ensure that decisions are informed by the expertise of program personnel. Ethos’ personnel have deep roots in Oregon’s music community and have extensive experience in arts education and nonprofit administration.