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George Mcguiness: Open-minded art approach

Posted: March 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.

In the past few months, there has been increasing criticism about the support of the arts here in Santa Clarita.

Residents have been writing in, randomly throwing around figures about how much this or that costs.

Recently someone writing in the Opinion pages pointed out art work around the city, putting each one down. He also complained about the millions of dollars poured into Old Town Newhall making it into an arts district.

What he did not mention is the millions of dollars generated by art in its every form, whether it’s traditional art, music, dance, acting or comedy.

At the Santa Clarita City Council candidates’ forum focusing on the arts on March 1, the candidates talked about the millions of dollars brought in by the nonprofit art associations alone.

From overnight hotel stays, patrons purchasing food at events or visitors utilizing the city’s stores, think of the millions brought in by all the filming done in Santa Clarita.

One of the great reasons to live here in the Santa Clarita Valley is the creative energy and thought that goes into making our city unique.

When I drive over the hill from the San Fernando Valley after work, I always feel lucky to be living in a proactive, beautiful city.

What I propose, as many people do, is for the city to purchase a permanent site for an arts center — one that would be the focal point for all the arts here in the valley.

Sometimes people disagree on what art is, and sometimes people need to be exposed to and educated about art.

I, myself, wasn’t a big arts advocate until I saw the Vincent van Gogh exhibit at the county museum in the late 1990s. I was emotionally moved by what I saw.

For those people only thinking about money, arts do produce revenue in any city. Being a member of the volunteer bike path and paseo patrol here in Santa Clarita on a weekly basis, I call in for graffiti cleanup.

Having arts available to anyone would reduce the thousands of dollars the city spends removing graffiti. In the city of Venice, California, graffiti was reduced by 30 percent after an art program was introduced.

Art is everywhere around us. Website designs, freeway off-ramp landscapes, building architecture and so on.

We must not be narrow-minded when thinking about the city’s budget. Remember: Art is food for the soul and a city without a soul is a dreadful place to live.

George Mcguiness lives in Valencia.



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