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Community Discusses Cultural Resources:

A Town Hall meeting was held last Saturday at the Ken Edwards Center so community members could give input for the City’s cultural resources master plan.

City documents state, “The plan will identify community priorities and articulate the policies and strategies that will be required to achieve those priorities that will make Santa Monica an even better environment for creativity in all forms…[the] plan will be developed in two major phases.  The first phase will continue through the summer and will focus on community input and research.  Then, from September through January preliminary reports and a draft of the plan will be circulated for additional public review and comment.  The final draft will be presented to City Council in early 2007.”

Community members shared their ideas by rotating through groups that focused on participation, facilities and funding.  The participation workshop concentrated on “identifying community priorities and defining ways to increase arts and cultural activities in Santa Monica, as well as participation by residents and visitors.”  Participant suggestions included incorporating art in everyday life, coordinated community-wide marketing, having additional arts education, lifelong learning opportunities and more arts festivals.  Other recommendations included encouraging spontaneous celebrations and weekly neighborhood festivals, creating a master calendar, coordinating efforts with other organizations and using mass transit to promote events.

Those in the facility workshop helped “assess community cultural facility needs and recommend options.”  Community members suggested supporting the sustainability of the cultural community by developing more affordable live/work spaces for artists, funding individual artists, developing more cooperative relationships between the business and arts community, encouraging more sited permanent artwork and developing a central cultural center.

The funding workshop helped “assess current public funding mechanisms and identify innovative models for future support, public and private, monetary and non-monetary.”  Suggestions from this workshop included linking funding to a percentage of the City budget, a campaign to increase the level of art philanthropy in the City, a commuter art tax, art vending machines, an art lottery and the creation of an arts advocacy Council.

The workshop topics were developed as priorities during the two cultural visioning sessions held by the City in 2005 as preparation for the cultural master plan process.  Other suggestions that have already been implemented are an art palette of upcoming cultural events, an art trek map and a developer art requirement.

For further information visit www.creativesantamonica.smgov.net, or contact the City’s Cultural Affairs Manager Jessica Cusick at 310.458.8350 or creative@smgov.net. 

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