Affordable artist live/work space was the primary topic of discussion at an annual joint City Council/Arts Commission meeting on Tuesday.
Commissioner Pat Kollenda said that additional steps need to be taken to help the city’s artists to remain in town.
“It’s not just commissioning them — it’s allowing them to live here,” Kollenda said.
The group discussed ways in which other cities like New York make such spaces possible.
Councilmember Cheryl Kinsman voiced her support, but said that she still had concerns.
“How do you make sure that artists really live and work there?” she asked. “There has to be some protection.”
Other council members also said they were interested in looking into the matter.
“I think it’s got to be our number one priority,” commissioner Jan Sattler said.
Kollenda also discussed the possibility of delineating sp ecific arts districts, i.e. Gallery Row, for marketing purposes using signage and other methods.
“That’s a very interesting thought,” Mayor Toni Iseman said.
Kollenda then voiced her desire for a cultural arts center.
Also on the agenda for the meeting was the commission’s list of accomplishments and aspirations.
“This is sort of our report card time,” Arts Commission Chair Nancy Beverage told the group. “It’s been a very busy year for us.”
Beverage outlined the commission’s accomplishments since the last joint meeting, including the installation of two new temporary sculptures at Heisler Park, the palette and Art That’s Small competitions, new library benches and the summer concert series.
Upcoming tasks include the installation of sculptural elements at the new corporate yard and public parking lot, as well as two Terry Thornsley sculptures at Crescent Bay Point Park.
Future plans also call for a competition to create the public art at the new Senior and Community Center, which would include a mural, seating and sculpture.
The commission is waiting for the renovation design at the Brooks St. beach end to be completed before discussing future art elements for the site.
A second Festival of Mosaics is in the works; the commission is currently choosing a location for the event, which features community involvement in creating a work of public art.
If approved, the commission hopes to hold a juried art show for Orange County artists. It also plans to hold “Sunset Serenades” featuring solo or duo non-amplified artists on Main Beach.
It has also discussed adding artist-designed benches in front of each summer festival and a Bluebird Park entry gate.
Kinsman voiced her preference for Laguna artists to be used in city projects, rather than holding a regional or national competition.
Councilmember Jane Egly dissented. “Having it open improves everybody’s art,” she said.