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The city needs commitment to the arts

Posted: November 2, 2008 4:54 p.m.
Updated: January 4, 2009 5:00 a.m.
In a recent conversation with some friends a question arose as to how much commitment the city of Santa Clarita has to the arts. I was told there have been some things the city has done, but for the most part, with little or no input from the arts community.

I decided to investigate. I was sure the city had a program of some kind and there must be a place for public input, but where was it? Apparently, the city formed a committee that meets once a month for the arts.

Unfortunately, no one seems to know about it and I am told even some of the people on the committee don't always attend.

I asked, "Why is that?"

The answer was a bit of a surprise to me. It turns out that no one on the committee seems to know where their recommendations go! Imagine going to work and never knowing for sure who your boss is.
When events are planned no one tells this committee about it much less asks for its input.

Talk about frustration!

This reminds me of the old joke, "If you don't want to make an unpopular decision or don't want real input - form a committee!"

It seems that is what the city did some 10 years ago and has never changed it. Did this slip through the cracks?

When I see a problem I like to try and find a positive suggestion that will help resolve the issue. In this case I searched the Web sites of other cities that tout a serious commitment to the arts in their community.

What I found was they all had a Commission for the Arts, or some such title, that has a real forum with community input.

Now, because there is a variety of art forms some cities have then formed subcommittees for the major arts with the most participation in order to keep things manageable.

Some would say that this is just adding another layer of government that slows things down but I think the advantages of public participation give those involved a sense of pride in their community.

It also allows the younger generation to participate in local government and gain an understanding of how things work, just like they did over the skateboard park. They participated!

The bottom line here is still a question.

Does the city of Santa Clarita have a serious commitment to the arts or are we being flea flicked?

If the city is serious I think they need an Arts Commission so the public can participate.

The Parks & Recreation Commission is not geared for it, The Planning Commission is not the right place for it and the City Council should not be burdened with the nuts and bolts of it. With a city filled with people in the entertainment industry, I would think we would want to make that commitment. Corporations are willing to donate and state and federal funds can be obtained but only if they see a program that is sincere and an organizational structure supported by the community in place.

With all the really good things the city does, I think this is an area we can improve upon. I would like to ask our city council to create this commission so that we can expand artistic programs, especially for the kids. It gives them something to do other than gangs and drugs. The Arts Advisory Committee and the majority of the arts community are in favor of forming this commission. The community is behind it and we hope you are too.


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