Friday, June 2, 2023

Arts Forum Charts Path for the City’s Cultural Future

Some sixty artists and art lovers attended an Arts Forum held by the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission on Thursday to chart a way forward for the arts community in Coronado.

“We’re here to celebrate the future,” said Heidi Wilson, the Commission’s Chair.

Mayor Casey Tanaka and City Manger Blair King opened the Forum. Both had been instrumental in establishing the Cultural Arts Commission.

They did so King said because of the important role the arts play in a community’s quality of life.

“Music, food, creativity, culture are the things that make life worth living,” he said.

Felicia Shaw, Director of Arts and Culture for the San Diego Foundation suggested ways participants could “weave arts into [their] lives” through programs, creativity, leadership and education. Above all, she told them to “be prepared take risks”. Shaw also touched on the importance of fundraising, saying that without adequate resources, nothing else is possible.

That point that was echoed by producer Don Gregory. “You have to have money to do the things you want to do,” he said.

One fundraising suggestion was to employ the “round it up” approach, where shoppers round their purchase total up to the next whole dollar amount and donate the difference. Shoppers at Vons and Albertson have grown accustomed to being asked to “round it up” to help one good cause or another. “Why not the arts?” Wilson asked.

The Cohn Family Restaurants already does this. One month of the year they ask patrons to “round up” up their tabs for the arts.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our restaurants did this,” Wilson said.

There was no end of suggestions on ways to spend the money: music festivals, concerts on the beach, book fairs, writer’s conferences, and gallery events. Work/live spaces for artists to create and grants to support them were also proposed.

The Commission is only in its second full year. It was established by the City Council in June of 2011, following an Arts Forum organized by Heidi Wilson held just before the Council meeting. The vote was unanimous.

Coronado was not the first local city in to form an arts commission; Carlsbad established one in 2011. There are now arts commissions in five cities in San Diego county, 52 counties in California, and over 4,000 around the world. “Each is unique,” Shaw said.

Having spent its first full year organizing itself, writing mission statement, launching its new interactive website that lists all of the cultural and artistic events happing on the Island, and staging numerous events, the commission is poised to help Coronado create its own cultural vibe and raise the city’s arts profile to enrich residents and tourists alike. Cultural tourism is an important economic driver, Wilson has noted many times. She and the Cultural Arts Commission aim make Coronado as famous for its art as it is for its beach.

Related: Coronado Cultural Arts Commission Launches Website

Gloria Tierney

Staff Writer

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Gloria Tierney
Gloria Tierney
A freelance writer in San Diego for more than 30 years. She has written for a number of national and international newspapers, including the Times of London, San Diego Tribune, Sierra Magazine, Reuters News Service and Patch.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]