Thursday, May 6, 2021

CoronadoCREATES: The Evolution of Arts and Culture in the Crown City

CoronadoCREATES presentation 10.17.18

October 17th marked an important milestone in Coronado’s evolution in becoming an Art and Cultural hub in San Diego and wider California.

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After a year-long process of research, meetings, comparative studies, and collating public opinion, Coronado CREATES – a ten-year master plan for arts and culture in Coronado – was presented in a breakfast forum hosted at the Boathouse on Glorietta Bay on Wednesday of this week.

Grant opportunities, dedicated art revenue streams, and a new venue for the performing and visual arts were among the highlights detailed to the packed-crowd of stakeholders and interested residents.

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Leading the presentation was Louise K. Stevens, a nationally-recognized expert in the areas of cultural planning, arts-focused economic development, arts in education, and creative placemaking. Louise, founder and principal of ArtsMarket, was engaged by the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission (CAC) in January of 2018 to “assist in designing a planning process that reflected national best practices and that was responsive to the nature of our community.”

Draft Proposal for Arts and Culture

Over the course of the year, Louise worked closely with the CAC and over 500 residents to conceptualize and create the plan, with close attention to feasibility and case studies of similar communities that pursued efforts on a relative scale. The forty-page draft that resulted from the collaboration is a strategic roadmap for evolving Coronado’s existing art and culture initiatives to that of cutting edge and international-level standards. With a nod to residents and visitors alike, the opening statement of the master plan positions art and culture as the very ‘glue’ that binds and strengthens the community:


“Our goal is for Coronado residents to continue to benefit from creative assets that significantly enhance our quality of life. As our demographics change, it is our shared culture that fosters our sense of community and shared values. Culture brings us together, and through culture and the arts we can best demonstrate our commitment to our heritage and history and our current diverse cultures.”

Planning for improvements in the Arts in Coronado long preceded the year Louise was enlisted, however. According to Contract Arts Administrator Kelly Purvis, the idea for a project of this scale has been in the works for almost a decade: “A decade ago, CAC founding Chairman Heidi Wilson approached then-Mayor Casey Tanaka regarding the establishment of a Cultural Arts Commission. Her vision was truly aspirational, but many wondered what a commission would do for Coronado. The reality is the Commission has highlighted and cultivated Coronado’s art and culture and planned for our future. It has recognized the potential for this community and the benefits of planning. The arts have a crucial impact on our economy, but more importantly on our lives. I am excited about the role arts has played in this community and inspired by the citizens’ support of making it a priority for the future.”

The audience response to the presentation of Coronado CREATE was overwhelmingly positive. Because it was facilitated in a way to invite comment and feedback, it was easy to discern the enthusiasm shared by participants. While there was some concern about honoring and maintaining the unique history and identity of Coronado, the sentiment ‘think big’ was embraced by all.

Coronado Arts logoThe plan is still open to revision prior to the final review by the Cultural Arts Commission at their regular meeting on December 6, 2018. For further information or access to Coronado CREATES research and documentation visit or contact


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Aimee Richer
Aimee Richer
Aimee was a ‘nado Navy baby in the 1970s, where her love for adventure and travel began. After growing up and finishing college in the Midwest, Aimee spent more than a decade living and traveling overseas. She returned to the US in 2009, and made her way back to Coronado to raise her own baby – now a first grader at Village Elementary. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:
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