Council to mull arts candidates

CITY HALL — City Council members Tuesday are expected to review a draft list of potential arts professionals and other community members who will lay down the parameters for a new city-subsidized nonprofit to replace the outgoing Arts & Culture Commission.

The comprehensive list of potential interviewees — to be made public at the council meeting Tuesday — will play a vital role in developing the work plan for the future nonprofit arts council, city officials said.

Council members will have the opportunity Tuesday to add to the list before it is finalized and small group interviews with city officials begin. In the coming weeks, officials with the city’s library, parks and recreation and legal departments will use the input to develop a draft work plan that will eventually serve as the city contract with the arts council, said Mayor John Drayman, who pushed for the plan last year.

“This process isn’t going to happen overnight,” he said. “The idea is to get it right.”

The City Council voted unanimously in September to develop the working structure for a city-subsidized nonprofit arts council that would eventually assume the duties currently assigned to the Arts & Culture Commission.

For months, arts commissioners have complained that they lack the necessary funding and staff resources to carry out their mission of promoting the arts citywide.

Since the September decision that effectively spelled the end for the board, arts commissioners have publicly expressed their frustration over their political limbo and have engaged in diatribes at their meetings over how to proceed.

Newly elected Chairman Arman Keyvanian said Friday that he was looking forward to starting the process of refocusing the effort to bring arts and culture to the forefront of the city’s agenda.

“I’m for any group that can do that,” he said.

Under the proposed plan to the City Council, the work plan would be made up of three primary directives: programming, business promotion and fundraising. But suggestions on how to fulfill those goals will largely come from the list of the working group interviewed by city officials.

The group will be made up mostly of professionals in the media, arts, gallery and studio industries, in addition to any other community members that the council sees fit, Drayman said.

Any proposed work plan that comes out of the interviews would be brought back to the City Council for review and alterations before being adopted and used to either attract an existing nonprofit or form a new arts council in exchange for the city subsidy.

The goal for whoever assumes the work plan would be to organize and schedule a regular itinerary of public art exhibits, live music, dance performances and other cultural events citywide, according to the preliminary proposal.

The City Council will take up the issue at its meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers, City Hall, 613 E. Broadway.


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