Saturday, March 25, 2023

Coronado Cultural Arts Commission Brings Creative Minds Together

Photo courtesy of Bill Sandke

Creativity was in the air at the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission (CCAC) Special Meeting on January 20 in the Grand Room at the John D. Spreckels Center. The meeting was designed to bring together a cross-section of artists and community members to brainstorm and help shape the vision for the Cultural Arts Commission as they promote art to reflect the needs in Coronado. CCAC Chairman and Arts Partners Commissioner Heidi Wilson highlighted that this is a “bottom-up organization, with ideas coming from the community and working artists to the commissioners.” Speaker Jim Gilliam, who is the former Arts Administrator for the City of Encinitas, said that Coronado is a beacon for the advancement of arts, and highlighted that “the assessment process will help shape the city for the next decade.”

The CCAC was created by the City Council in 2011, to partner with local artists and organizations to help develop a vibrant and cohesive arts community. Art in Coronado has risen to a whole new level, with a variety of public art installations, including the Naked Warrior, and most recently Crossing Paths and The Knot. Two city-owned galleries, the C3 Gallery in the Community Center and the Spreckels Gallery have been established, in which 30 art exhibits, highlighting 100 local artists who showcased approximately 1000 pieces, have been held. Senior Management Analyst Kelly Purvis is the city staff liaison for the seven commissioners of the CCAC, which has been the incubator for many amazing programs like the Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF), the Community READ, and the High School Intensives Program, as well as helping to showcase various music groups, and assisting with the Community Grant Process, in which 18 recipients are art-related groups.  The CAC has helped artists develop communication strategies, including social media presence, website design, and grant opportunities, as well as creating a public art walking app.

Roberta Korte is the Commissioner for Visual Arts, and during the meeting the group brainstormed the following ideas for the CCAC to consider: continue art showings at the Art Galleries, continue the Art Banners on Orange Avenue, host artist receptions, attract new volunteers, and organize a Plein Air Festival.

Deb Kaller is the Commission Vice-Chair and Public Arts Commissioner whose group’s ideas included: creating more awareness of public art, offering walking tours, communicating what CCAC does, like outstanding exhibits, such as the upcoming League of Wives. Also noted was the need to reflect diversity, celebrate beach and surfing culture, and consider cultural exchanges.

Dawn Richards is Literary Arts and Performing Arts Commissioner. The Performing Arts group suggested expanding marketing, and pointed out the need for the expansion of current venues, like the Winn Room remodel, and additional options, such as exploring outdoor stages, the Spreckels Park gazebo, etc. This would enable more performing arts opportunities for residents and students. For Literary Arts, the group recommended seeking ways to collaborate with local artists in joint genre events. They suggested diversifying opportunities, such as more writing workshops, such as mini memoirs, poetry showcases, etc., as well as working with local restaurants.

Jean Marie-Bond is Communication, Public Relations & Media Commissioner and this group proposed mentorships for young people and artists to help grow their talent and businesses. They also saw opportunities to create collaboration between artists and non-profit organizations, and to enhance Art in the Park. The Scottsdale model was used as an example of amplifying events and creating moments around themes.

The Arts and Prosperity roundtable was facilitated by Wilson, and the group suggested developing venues, as well as creating synergy for collaborative fundraising and securing city sponsorships. This area is seeking a new commissioner.

Arts and Education is headed up by newly appointed commissioner Stephanie Anderson, and the group recommended enhanced education about what the arts do for the brain and mental well-being. They also proposed hosting pop-ups before art classes or workshops to introduce the medium, and more exposure for the cutting-edge Digital Arts.

CCAC will now review the ideas and put a strategic plan into action for the enhancement of art in Coronado. Check out the latest art exhibit at the C3 Gallery, opening January 26, featuring nine brand new local artists who work in a variety of mediums including photography, painting, jewelry, millinery, and beadwork. To learn more about all art happenings in Coronado, check out the website at


Jennifer Velez
Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]