Proposal to Create Arts Panel Is Sent Back to Task Force

San Diego County Arts Writer

The City Council’s Public Services and Safety Committee returned a proposal to create a powerful arts and cultural commission to a task force on Wednesday for more detailed recommendations regarding the commission’s makeup and staffing.

The action came at the urging of City Council members and representatives of major arts organizations who claimed there were “too many unresolved issues” to make a decision on an arts commission now.

Last month, the Cultural Arts Task Force recommended the creation of a 15-member commission that would allocate millions of dollars annually to artists, arts and cultural organizations from hotel bed-tax revenues. This year, the city will distribute more than $4.1 million in support of the arts and humanities but through several different channels.

A spokesman for the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Opera and the Old Globe Theatre stressed that the commission members reflect the diversity of the city’s “arts constituency” to allow for a fair evaluation of the artistic and economic impact each applicant has on the city.


“It is imperative that (commission members) display a proven record of leadership and experience in the arts community” and be familiar with the funding process, said Thomas Hall, the Old Globe Theatre’s managing director.

Hall, who endorsed the idea of a commission, also called for a four-tiered funding structure that would allow for the “inherent differences,” needs and concerns of small, mid-sized and large organizations and individual artists.

Council member Judy McCarty asked the task force to produce more detailed information by January to justify the need for six staff members to support the proposed commission.

San Diego Natural History Museum President Richard Bundy, representing eight museums, suggested that the enabling legislation specify the desired level of experience of commission members.


In its report, the task force recommended that an interim ad hoc committee be created to process funding applications for the arts and humanities for next fiscal year.