Culture Jam

A Program of the Oregon Country Fair

An 8-day Gathering of Youth Who Care About The World and Its Future
July 31-August 7, 2020


Culture Jam is the Oregon Country Fair’s exciting 8-day youth gathering for ages 14-18 that takes place 3 weeks after the Fair on a parcel of site we call Alice’s Wonderland. 2020 will mark our 19th annual Jam! This inspiring event is based on the Creative Empowerment Model created by Charlie Murphy and Peggy Taylor ( Their model is now being used by youth organizations around the world, empowering teens to live positive, engaged lives through discovering their unique sense purpose and creative potential. Culture Jam is committed to serving youth from diverse cultures and economic backgrounds and bringing them together with adult staff from all walks of life as well. The Culture Jam experience is also for those who want to take an active role in creating a positive future and have a great time in the process.

Here’s Charlie Murphy explaining how it all began, why we do this work and what happens during the week.

What Goes On?

Youth get to take part in a whole lot of high-energy, experiential, arts-centered workshops and activities. They also have the unique opportunity to learn from and create meaningful relationships with adult social change activists, artists and nature educators who come to spend the week and share their expertise. The workshops are a part of daily life and choosing from multiple workshop opportunities is the norm: dancing, drumming, spoken word, nature appreciation, circus arts, theatre improvisation, fashion arts and singing, inner work and community activism — just a sampling. Writing and hip hop, painting, teaching each other things that are important to us; there is something for everyone. Culture Jam is also a place where learning about and sharing many points of view add to the mix. Staff and youth alike are thrown into the creative soup to create a tight-knit community that recognizes the power of appreciating difference.

How it Happened

In 2000, Leslie Scott (GM of the Fair at the time), brought Charlie and Peggy’s exciting youth work to the attention of the OCF Board. She encouraged them to allow the Fair to produce a youth event based on their approach. She argued that this arts-based, change-the-world,  youth empowerment model was a perfect program match for the organization. It took some time and support of many to convince, but in time  board members voted a unanimous “YES!” and began moving toward the production of a one-week event.

Soon after, City of Eugene Recreation Services got on board by providing staff and transportation for water activities, scholarship support and youth outreach. This rich partnership continues to this day. Meanwhile, the partnership with Power of Hope and PYE has gotten deeper, and CJ began receiving support from the David C. and Lura M. Lovell Foundation of Arizona, The Rex Foundation and many generous individuals and businesses. Donations came in through grants, art supplies, quality food for the kitchen, and charitable gifts. Fundraising to help support Culture Jam continues.

Thanks to Leslie, all of Culture Jam’s heartfelt volunteers and supporters, and the steady endorsement of the OCF Board and many others, this life-giving event is alive and well!

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are central to a successful Culture Jam gathering. Every year we bring together an dynamic group of youth, artists, activists, youth workers, educators, and other creative adults. To apply to be a staff member at Culture Jam, contact the Fair office for details. Click for more info about volunteering.

Youth Registration 

Tuition for the 8-day sleep-over event is $450, scholarship funding is available. We are committed to making Culture Jam available to all youth regardless of economic circumstance.

Financial assistance is available through the Culture Jam Scholarship Fund. Ask about the scholarship process when you register.

How to Register 2020

Returning Youth: Email the Fair office between April 15th and May 1st (email address is below). A minimum of $100 toward your tuition is required to save your space unless you are applying for scholarship. If you will be seeking scholarship support, this is the time to ask about the process and get it started.

New Youth: Email the Fair office between the May 1st and May 15th (email address is below). Please include the following information about the youth you are entering: name and full birth date. Also include your name, snailmail address and phone number. No deposit is necessary at this stage. Once you are notified if the young person entered has been placed, a minimum of $100 toward tuition will be required to save the space. Notifications will go out no later than May 22nd, one week after the deadline.

If you have further questions feel free to contact us:

Culture Jam!
c/o The Oregon Country Fair
442 Lawrence St., Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 465-2230

Help Keep Us Jamming 

buy tickets

All of Culture Jam’s direct costs are covered by grants, donations and participant fees. To keep fees down and scholarships available, donations are accepted—and are tax-deductible. Did you know that The Country Fair is an Oregon Cultural Trust match? Get a Oregon tax credit and double your donated dollars to the arts and cultural programming in Oregon. Call Robin at the Fair office for more info on supporting Culture Jam, 541.465.2230.

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