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Uninformed and Not Stupid?
A case in point was in part 7 of the Jan 6 hearings. The family man who listened only to social media to get his news and based his opinions on a very narrow set of targeted statements. He ended up at the “steal the vote” rally and got riled up with the rhetoric and found himself eventually arrested for invading the capitol building. When he shut off the limited social media sources he was reading and really started paying attention to all points of views, he started to develop his own opinions. He saw that he had been misled and that ignorance had a high price i.e. jail time, loose of his job and his family home.
About this time, you might be asking, “What does this have to do with visual art?” I think that one of the most attractive traits of a good artist is curiosity. And if you are truly curious, you do not ignore life around you, but delve into it. I should like to send a little congratulations to all out there who are curious, who notice the world, who are tolerant and who use their art to communicate some of what they are learning.
I am also not so sure anymore how polarized we actually are. I hear this all the time but I may be a victim of the same sort of newsfeed type rants. I know the political parties are divided. The issues of gun control, diversity, equity, inclusion, abortion rights, climate change, voting rights are highly contested. But I believe that most people in America are good at heart and not adversarial in nature. If we can add more curiosity to that good nature, then a common way might be found forward.
ArtsVote California is your way to make sure your vote counts.
Summary of the New Ordinance for an office of Arts and Culture at the county level.
The second reading of the new San Diego County Arts and Culture Ordinance passed unanimously on June 29
I am thrilled to announced that the Ordinance for a new office for SD County Arts and Culture has passed unanimously its SECOND reading. One more reading and it will have gained its place in the 2021/2022 county budget.
My colleague Naomi Nussbaum sums up this new agency, “Some of us have been working on establishing arts & culture on the county level for decades, so we are deeply grateful to all the supervisors for actualizing this. Some of us support our artists and arts organizations throughout the county and keep a firm pulse on their needs, challenges, and opportunities. Because of COVID and the increasing cost of living in our county, we are seeing more artists and small arts organizations struggling to survive. We are losing some of our creative community to more affordable places to live. We believe representation at the County level will address some of the challenging issues facing our creative community, the two greatest being affordable housing and limited opportunities and adequate support. I think we all agree that art & culture transcend barriers, encourage inclusivity, provide innovative solutions, and are vital to economic development of our County. Let’s make San Diego County an international cultural destination.”
Below is a summary of the ordinance combined with more information that we have received from the office of the Supervisors, especially Supervisor Vargas and Fletcher. This was originally compiled for the North County Arts Network and a Confab of arts leaders brought together by Larry Baza to bring back the SD County Arts and Culture Agency. It is our hope to support and advance the Supervisor’s vision for the Arts and Culture staff and Commission.
There are three parts to the ordinance: 1) expanding and improving existing County programs, 2) addressing and improving equity in access to arts and culture, and 3) creating a county arts and culture agency.
Please note: the Film Commission is not part of the new office.
#1 Expanding public arts programs. Updating the Community Enhancement grant programs to better assess which grants are being used to fund arts and culture organizations, (an extra $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will augment supervisorial Community Enhancement Funds in order to fund organizations related to arts and culture, one million dollars for each district.) Updating policies to make grants available to individual artists, and exploring the possibility of using County spaces as workspaces for local artists.
#2 The County to act as a regional leader to inform sector goals to improve racial and cultural equity in arts and culture. To promote greater cultural diversity and inclusivity and empower historically disenfranchised communities, it is important to elevate the work of smaller, emerging artists from communities that have not had access to arts and culture resources.
#3 County Arts and Culture Agency: The SD County Commission for Arts and Culture will be formed with nominations from the public and two chosen by each Supervisor plus 3 youth commissioners (age 16-24). Appointment will last only as long as the Supervisor is in office. Committees can be formed and each has to have at least one commissioner. At least one full time staff will be paid by the county under the offices of the Economic Development and Government Affairs (EDGA) (total budget of that office is $3.5 million). This position is appointed by the Chief Administrator of that EDGA. The remit of the Commission was set forward but we have yet to see the staff description. The Commission shall have the power and duty to:
(a) Study and evaluate equity in access to arts and culture in the region. (This could be data gathering)
(b) Promote equity in access to arts and culture in the region. ( This could cover all sort of things, promotion, funding smaller orgs, support of artists???)
(c) Conduct workshops for County personnel and community groups to explore specific subject areas and improve relationships. (This leaves the door open to educate and sounds like it is about collaborations, professional development workshops, getting paid staff for all cities)
(d) Conduct public hearings dealing with matters before the Commission. (Asking for input from the community to the Commission)
(f) Prepare and disseminate information on matters related to the arts community. (Again, pr and education of the issues)
(g) Provide liaison and assistance to citizen groups interested in the problems facing the arts community. (bringing in non-art org and business to help the arts community, dealing with homelessness and housing for artists, healing arts programs)
(h) Apply for and administer grants from all levels of government and private sources for carrying out the functions of the Commission. (The ability to fund raise, but no funding from the county noted except for admin)
My feeling is when we see the application for the staff position and an outline of those duties and responsibilities as well as the nomination application for Commissionors, we will have a pretty good idea of the direction of this new agency. Although it might have certain flaws, these plans are a good starting place.
1. What is the salary, title and description of the staff position? Are there any addition staff position in the arts and culture department?
2. What is the official title of the office? SD County Arts and Culture Agency?
3. Is there any budget for the office besides the staff position(s)?
4. Will this office be working with Andrew Strong's Office of Equity and Racial Justice?
6. Will this new office be working on a new Public Art Policy?
Support for the Arts at the County Level
The following is a letter I wrote to thank and support our county supervisors who are moving forward in supporting the arts with a designated staff and office for arts and culture when the June county budget is passed. Feel free to copy this and send it to your own district supervisor who are all holding information meetings about the upcoming budget. (see below for dates)
Dear County Supervisor Lawson-Remer, Fletcher, Vargas, Desmond and Anderson,
We would like to thank you each and your fellow county supervisors for the unanimous support you are giving the arts and culture community in San Diego. We truly appreciate the efforts of Supervisor Fletcher and Vargas in championing the move to allocating funds for building an administrative structure on a county wide basis.
At this time, we want to confirm that we are in support of the 2022 budget including the new Office of Economic Development and Government Affairs (EDGA) to coordinate regional efforts through the creation of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). We are particularly happy that the Office of Arts and Culture and its staff are ideally placed in the new Economic Development and Prosperity division of EDGA which will be implementing the county wide coordination and arts and culture initiatives.
We are looking forward to seeing details of these strategies and the posting of these vital staff positions which need professional art experience at this high level. These positions as well as the arts and culture commissioners need to be equitably available and filled. We applaud your effort to make this a vital part of your mission enabling diversity to flourish.
We are here to support you and the county in approving this budget and we are here to play any role in aiding or advising you through future white papers about this office by calling on the expertise of our many colleagues.
With kindest regards,
Monday May 23: District 3 Lawson Remer
Tuesday May 31:District 4 Fletcher
Thursday, June 2 District 1 Vargas
Monday June 6, District 5, Desmond
Wednesday, June 8 District 2, Anderson
I was asked by a friend who knows how involved I am in the visual arts, how are the arts doing? I had just filled out a survey for Americans for the Arts, and so my first impulse was to think about all the challenges that the arts face. But what came out of my mouth instead was the arts are doing rather well in San Diego. We just got promised $7 million for a new art center in Encinitas, the Museum of Contemporary Arts in La Jolla just opened and is a knock out, The Mingei just re-opened as well and the new Institute of Contemporary Art Central and North seems to be thriving. There are new exhibitions opening every week and our SDVAN events calendar is full. Everyone seems to be working hard to make sure of diversity and equality of opportunities.
Below are my answers to the survey. I have shortened and only selected a few of the questions to post here. But I would love to hear your answers…so feel free to email me email@example.com
1. What is the greatest advancement or success of the arts and culture field in your lifetime?
Acceptance of the internet as a way to communicate and create greater involvement
2. What are the three greatest transformational aspirations for change in arts and culture in the next five years?
a. Recognition of the arts in our everyday lives for full integration, in school subjects, corporate spaces, private homes etc.
b. Support for organizations county wide instead of just pockets of support in large or well funded cities.
c. Tax relief for artists as essential workers, tax incentives for supporting artists and to make work live spaces available.
3. What are the three greatest concerns/fears you have about what could transformationally change in arts and culture in the next five years?
a. The election of power hungry and greedy politicians in all level of government
b. A backlash undoing some of the good of more equitable diversity measures taken to recognize minorities
c. Marginalization of the arts due to issues of war and climate change instead of embracing the arts to showcase these causes.
4. What is your highest priorities for the needs of the arts?
Fostering innovation is the highest of my high priorities. A large organization like Americans for the Arts is like a huge ship and I believe it needs to be nimbler if it wants to be more innovative. Applying that innovation to create more funding through more relationships with the business community will only be possible with cross sector collaborations. Business communities want national recognition to give big funding so these priorities are all linter-related.
6. What is the most completely transformational way you could imagine Americans for the Arts changing that would be exciting or valuable to you?
Funding for affordable housing for artist and an expansion of the creative corp.
I am not a patient person in general. I like immediate gratification. But some projects are more like life-time dreams. Many of you know, I have been working toward bringing back a San Diego County Arts Council, but some might not know that I have also been waiting for an Arts and Culture Center to come to the City of Encinitas.Although the entire region of San Diego is important to me, as I age, I want to make sure that my own neighborhood is well served by the arts. That is why I joined the Encinitas Friends of the Arts (EFA) when it first started in 2014. The EFA has a stellar record and this week, after 8 years, we finally got the go ahead to make the Pacific View school property, a stunning site, into that arts and culture center.
.Imagine a place where seniors pass on skills to the young who in turn help their elders learn about technologies. Where the design of a garden is not only for physical sustenance, but for spiritual joy. Where the discarded trash is given new life. Where diversity is celebrated and healing is non-verbal. Imagine an art center full of these small miracles that bring communities together, defines them, makes them stronger. Imagine such a jewel in the middle of our art district, an ace in the hole for prosperity and growth. This is our vision for the Arts and Culture Center Encinitas as a Center for Innovation through Art.
Having an arts and culture center for Encinitas will define the Cultural life of our community. At the heart of this new development is Art Education for all. We are prioritizing Communal experiences and Cross sector development with a strong need to encourage Innovation by creating a gathering place for both locals and cultural tourists. We want to activate this much-loved building into a valuable art education resource;
Naimeh Woodward, the president of the EFA says, “The EFA has been a solid partner for the city for over 7 years. In fact, we just renewed our MOU with the City for the next two years and recently agreed to take on the task of promoting cultural tourism including calendar of events for the community.”
You can read the EFA full vision of the Arts and Culture Center in Encinitas.
But perhaps San Diego should not adhere to any existing outline for a county-wide arts and culture commission even if it is deemed “best practice”. Don’t we need to create a new structure suitable to our own population? San Diego has an arts scene like no other community that I have experienced. There is no central power structure and I deem that a good thing. A re-formed county arts and culture administration should not rush in to fill that void. In fact, most agree that we can’t see this step as a panacea for all our problems. Let’s manage our expectations and allow time for some creative failure along with much needed aid.
I really applaud that equity will be the cornerstone of that revised organization. And a big part of what needs to be done is not only broadcasting successes, but to also support well intentions experimentation even when not successful. The question is, how do you assure both of those goals will be reached.
When forming any organization, it is essential that all involved have a basic agreement on their shared values and beliefs. So that is a starting place; artistic excellence, accessibility to all, inclusivity for all regions, ethical and professional behavior, enabling and empowering, collaborative and cooperative, seeking economic viability, respectful equity.
Do we need another layer of administration to assure eventually agreed upon objectives, goals and strategies? My answer is yes, but I don’t see this as an either/or proposition, but one with potential added value. Just like there is a big push for the arts to be help social services, there is also a place for art to simply be that thing that adds immense joy to our lives.
Yes, we have waited a long time for the county to add more to the conversation about the arts. Now we have to hurry up and slow down to get it right.
This year for my State of the Arts report I decided to take a look back at all of the support for the arts that was mentions in our RAW columns in 2021. This is just a snapshot and is not every call for application or every funding report. Can you see some trends? READ MORE
2021 past A+ Art Blogs Including
SDVAN New Normal Cookbook: Eating Your Art In
Selling the Soul
California Creative Corps Pilot Program Development Update
A Red Letter Day with the passage of a proposal for a County Commission for Arts and Culture
The Blue Economy
VAPA Asks: What is your superpower?
On the Occasion of our 200th SDVAN RAW Column
Simply the Best: A Step Too Far and actually quite dangerous!
A Tale of Two Learnings
Finger on the Pulse
State of the Arts 2021: San Diego Creative Industry by the Numbers
2020 past A+ Art Blogs including
Artist Guide to Surviving the Pandemic: 5 things you can do which will keep you working
Understanding AB 2257, Follow Up Legislation to AB 5, and Its Impact on the Arts Sector
Guiding Principles and Manifestos
San Diego + Imperial counties Regional Conversation Summary
2020 Brain Candy: A Virtual Salon Series – The Curators
The Power of Art Part 2
The Power of Art
It's Not Easy, Being Difficult
Remember when Corona was a Cigar or a Beer
Constance White at The Residency Project in Pasadena
The Role of the Arts in Defining Democracy
State of the Arts California, 2020
2019 past A+ Art Blogs including
Who wants to be a millionaire artist?
Immigration, Migration, Integration: SD Chinese Historical Museum
Isolationist or Globalist?
Birthing a New Art Organization
Three Things You Need to Know
Passport to Dance produced by Encinitas Friends of the Arts
Life Doesn't Frighten Me: Hope Inspired through Art at Fallbrook Library
The Cotwolds: Purton and Cirencester
Modern Couples at the Barbican
Great Big Indian Wedding: Cultural event that ends my year!
India: Monuments and Museums
India: Modern and Contemporary Art
Barnsley House Hotel and Spa
State of Mind, State of the Arts, 2019
2018 past A+ Art Blogs including
2016 Past A+Art Blogs including
2015 Past A+ Art Blog including
Mural by Paola Villasenor at SDAI and Art Fair Miami
Turn on, chill out and Pop up
Incubator for Innovation - final 9 teams for San Diego
London Journal 1: Tate Britain Folk Art
London Journal 2: Horst at the Victoria and Albert Museum
London Journal 3:Today's Special: Pace Gallery, Tate Modern Matisse
London Journal 4: National Portrait Gallery and Saatchi
London Journal 5: London Fashion Week and London Design Show at Tent and Super Brands
London Journal 6: Gilbert and George, Boyd and Evans, Anslem Kiefer and AI WEIWEI
A Call to Action
SD Fringe Festival Art Exhibition at Ten Street Art Center
ILLUSION: Nothing Is As It Seems at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Museum
Deborah DeLisi and One Minute Mandalas at SDVAN sponsored Mission Federal ArtWalk
DNA of Creativity Introduction at Oceanside Museum of Art
Notes on Aesthetics and Authenticity Symposium
SD Art Prize has its roots in the Turner Prize
2013 Past A+Art Blog including
State of the Arts: The Rise of the Living Artist, 2013
New Art at the SD Airportt: Flying High
San Diego Incubator for Innovation
Arts Leaders Motivations
Politics and Art in San Diego
Art Eats Food
Alternative Materials Panel Discussion - Sparks Gallery
London Art Newsletter 2013
San Diego: Identity Crisis or Identity Opportunity? March 2013
Palm Springs Art Fair, Feb, 2013
Corporate Collecting Book Review, Jan 2013
2012 Past A+Art Blog including
2009 Past A+ Art Blogs including
2008 Past A+ Art Blogs including
2007 Past A+ Art Blogs including
2006 Past A+ Art Blogs
PATRICIA FRISCHER, author of "The Artist and the Art of Marketing" has lectured extensively on marketing for artists. She is a trainer of artists’ agents, art dealers, consultant and collectors. Frischer has taken on the roles of gallerist, curator, writer, teacher, website coordinator and artist. Her many metamorphoses make her difficult to fit into any of the usual art world categories. She is a founding member and coordinator of the San Diego Visual Arts Network, (www.SDVAN.net ) which funds the SD Art Prize, directory and events calendar and SmART Collector features. Her own artwork (www.DrawsCrowd.com ) has been shown internationally and her most recent one person show was at Oxford University.