Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Uninformed and Not Stupid?

 

Shepard Fairey Arts Vote


I had an interesting discussion with my husband this month about the difference between ignorant and stupid. I often chastise myself for thinking someone is stupid because they don’t believe in science or have a twisted view of truth. I try hard to see their point of view and be empathetic to how they might feel. But this is a hard task especially in our world that seems to be more and more polarized. I know these people are smart about lots of other things in their lives. But what I realized is that they may be uninformed once it was pointed out to me that they might just be ignoring certain ideas.

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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Summary of the New Ordinance for an office of Arts and Culture at the county level.

by Patricia Frischer



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. 

Questions remaining:

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?


Saturday, May 21, 2022

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,

Patricia Frischer
Founder/Coordinator,
San Diego Visual Arts Network
A database of 2500 visual arts resources and calendar, reports and support information produced to improve the clarity, accuracy and sophistication of discourse about San Diego's artistic and cultural life, dedicated to the idea that the Visual arts are a vital part of the health of our county. 

Monday May 23: District 3 Lawson Remer
REGISTRATION LINK

Tuesday May 31:District 4 Fletcher
MORE INFORMATION

Thursday, June 2 District 1 Vargas
REGISTRATION LINK

Monday June 6, District 5, Desmond
MORE INFORMATION

Wednesday, June 8 District 2, Anderson
MORE INFORMATION

 


Sunday, May 1, 2022

Costumes and Scenery from the Ukraine for the Encinitas Ballet

 reported by Patricia Frischer



We recently got this very touching story from Sayat Asatryan who is the owner and director of the Encinitas Ballet company. I am reposting his story in his words below. 


Sayat Asatryan, Agent/ Director
Encinitas Ballet
Located at: California Institute for Human Science (701 Garden View Court, Encinitas, CA 92024) cell 760.632.4947
www.EncinitasBallet.com
www.NutcrackerHelp.com

We are so excited to announce that our Cinderella dresses and one backdrop have arrived from Lviv, Ukraine! 

It's so touching that designers were making our costumes for us at such a hard time despite the difficulties of the current world. Before the war, on February 23rd, everything was ready to be shipped to the United States, until the 24th, when the war started, and all the post offices had closed.

The backdrop was ready, but I told them to stop making costumes in order to ensure their safety, yet they continued to create our beautiful costumes because it was what helped them not think about the war, keeping them happy.

We found only one solution, to transfer everything to Poland. After a four-hour drive, the costumes were at the DHL office and were ready to be shipped to us. 

We received stunning costumes for Cinderella (Gabby Fish/Moriah McLellan) and the fairy godmother (Andrea Schefer/Elisa Shroeder). The hand -painted backdrop was done using my design and was sponsored by Christina Elmore. 





Sayat Asatryan, Agent/ Director
Encinitas Ballet















Saturday, April 23, 2022

How are the arts doing?

 

The San Diego Museum Art Arts Alive blooms again in a kaleidoscope of color this April 28-May 1, 2022. Talented floral designers inspired by the Museum collection, offer a brilliantly colored backdrop for a weekend of beloved traditions and art-inspired activities. Thurs, April 28 Art Alive 2022 Premiere Dinner from 6:30pm–11:30pm, Fri, April 29 is Members’ Preview from 8am –10am. and Bloom Bash from 7pm.–midnight, Art Alive Floral Exhibition Fri.10am–5:pm Sat/Sun 9am to 5pm, and Sat/Sun Garden of Activities from noon–4pm. 

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 patricia@sdvisualarts.net

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.


5. 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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Do's and Don'ts for Non-Techie Founders by Anand Bora

Anand Bora is a one of my most valuable friends. He has helped the San Diego Visual Arts Network make extensive improvements to our website and was involved in the DNA of Creativity project in  both the SDVAN View Art Now App and PAMM Polyaethetics: Mapping the Muses project. The View Art Now app allows all of our events on SDVAN to be located on a google map. PAMM makes visual the understanding of the mechanics of aesthetics and its interplay within Art, Culture & Science. When you read this article, I think you can see that the do's and don'ts can apply to much more that those founding a tech project. 
 Patricia Frischer

Since I started my firm Determinant Studios way back in 2014-15, I have been involved with different kinds of startup founders who have tried to give their all to their ideas, concepts and eventually their technological vision. This small write up is based on my experiences working with a lot of non-technical founders trying to build technological machinery in the digital world. This is just a pure assessment based on my experiences and enumerates the do’s and don’ts.



DO’s - Technology is a secondary tool, focus is first

Let me start with a couple of successful stories as we need the mood to be light before gobbling the bitter medicine. Sometime back, my firm was involved in building a small platform for a NGO whose target was to build a small web application which could accept donations for their cause. This NGO was very specific on what they wanted to do. The founder himself was a retired army personnel and had been funding the NGO from his own pocket for a few years. His sole idea was to bring an online presence for the NGO and make sure that the visibility is good enough for agencies which will be funding him. His work was predominantly in the field and his requirement wasn’t completely dependent on online donations. He worked to his strengths and slowly his online platform started generating revenues which helped him grow. The crux is that technology in this case is a secondary tool. Online donations and donation platforms are the present and the future. But the founder has to work to the strength and fundamentals of the business. The technology and upgrades to it need not drive home the advantages.

DO’s - Keep the UI simple and plan upgrades
Another one of our projects involved building a platform for a Fintech company which wanted to build a ‘Google’ of Wealth Management platform. Of course, ‘Google’ is not a Noun anymore which explains a lot. Google started with a simple search engine concept and grew to the enterprise we know of. A lot of non techie founders don’t realize how technology works and try to push in a short timeframe. Eventually, they have a product which is good but has a lot of holes. The maintenance of such a product keeps consuming time and money both and hurts in the long run. In today’s world, the UX/UI plays an important role in selling a product and increasing the customer base. Most founders I have met want their product to create a ‘WOW’. Sometimes, trying to achieve this Wow, turns out to be ‘wise of wreckland’ instead of ‘wise of wonderland’. A lot of this is because most founders think that doing simpler changes in the UI shouldn’t wreck the software and they keep asking for changes without following a process. The simplest approach to solve a problem is to break it down into small problems and solve one at a time. Similarly, a founder should always target a functional software with minimal working wireframes. This would ensure a good product plan and delivery. The product can be improved over iterations and with time

DO’s - Understand the process of building a software product
This must be the first lesson for someone who wants to get their hands dirty in creating a software product and coming from a ‘unsoftware’ background. It is really important to understand the process which will eventually lead to millions of lines of code and preferably dollars too. That said, there are hundreds of processes defined in the books for building a quality software product. The industry follows Agile methodology for a reason and that is what a founder should understand. Goals will be achieved only after understanding the process in a seamless way. In my experience, most founders have wanted results as soon as the developers started working on the product. One should realize that the Taj Mahal was built in 22 years and that is why it is a marvel we still cherish.

DO’s - Be involved in the process
A founder understands clearly what the eventual goal has to be. The vision and the clarity of thought is necessary to materialize an efficient and robust software product. A constant input channel to the dev team needs to be maintained to bring out the best. Most founders multitask in their day to day responsibilities. But their main focus should always be the product and the product itself until it reaches a stage where he is the last person to say ‘wow’. That pure dedication to the building process culminates into the results. Of course, I know that the founder has too many things on plate, but the product should always be the focus. I have worked with founders who have been focused more on other things than the product. Needless to say, the eventual product took a hit.

DON’T - ASSUME
The biggest menace I have experienced working with so many non techies is ASSUMPTIONS. It is important to understand that any action or change done to a pre-decided goal will always alter the timeline of delivery of work. Most bigger companies have a set process because they want to mitigate the risk of changes and alteration of deadlines. The process takes control of building the software and eventual delivery of the product. But in reality, when a new platform or software is built, the founder is too focused on creating the best product as the first version. In turn, a lot of changes are being done without any plan. This leads to a lot of technical debt inside the product code and eventually a low quality software. Ideally, even addition of a small horizontal line should be discussed with the dev team to avoid any impact on deadline or quality of the software.

DON’T - Undervalue or undercut your development team
With the current situation of WFH, it has become so easy for software developers to jump companies. If you think that this is a job bubble, then I think you are mistaken. Anyways, I am trying to refer to the problem of rising engineering costs and maintaining a good engineering team. It is important to keep the dev team in confidence and create a win-win situation in such a way that the ecosystem of mutual growth is realized. It is a harsh reality that a founder is always short on funds until an investor comes on board. Running the business until that time with keeping everyone in confidence is a huge challenge but it should never result at the expense of the dev team. A happy team can do wonders in the long run.

DON’T - Hire high cost supplementary work resources
A mistake I have seen many founders get into is to hire high cost personnel to get the job done in quick time. One should know that gastritis can happen from food in a food stall or from food in a five star hotel. It is all about the sanity of the body to digest the food. Sometimes we think that hiring a dev team with support staff might get us the product quickly and help us scale quickly. This notion is an invocation of ‘harakiri’ for a lean startup looking to build the product in the right way. Keeping the costs low has to be one of the most strategic decisions so that the firm survives the long run. Management has to be the onus of the founder and the founder should only identify and hire people who can support the venture in an economical and efficient way.

DON’T - Create WOW with just Design
It is important to understand the use-case of the product and realize the end customers of the product. Before Macintosh OS was released back in ‘84, the world was engineering and functional in it’s own way. Apple revolutionized the concept of user interface design and brought in a new spectrum of creativity in the field of software engineering. Every now and then you look at an iphone and appreciate the technological marvel and the ease of use it has. But little do we realize that the best of designers and billions of iterations and loads of time would have been required to achieve that feat. Most founders of startups are short on time and money and in today’s world both are precious.
Image: Anu Cheeran

I would like to compare building software with a piece of clay being molded into a beautiful pot. Every line of code needs care to build the perfect product. If you keep adding materials and keep changing the shape, it will result in something undesirable. The founder is the sculptor who is directing the show and needs to be careful at each step.

Happy founding and best wishes.
Anand Bora, Determinant Studios

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Arts and Culture Center for Encinitas

Conceptual image of a yarn bombed art center by Patricia Frischer



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.


It was an unanimous vote from the entire city council which is most gratifying. Our thanks go to Mayor Catherine S. Blakespear and City Council Members Kellie Hinze, Tony Kranz, Joe Mosca and Joy Lyndes. The city which owns the property, will pay for the renovation and be responsible for maintenance, security, staffing and the EFA will help with fundraising and programming along with the city staff and the Encinitas Commission for Arts and Culture.

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; 

*Create the economic growth for which the arts are well known.
*Add value to our community by celebrating 500 artists and 90 arts organizations willing to contribute their expertise. 
*Create new jobs for a state-of-the-art facility
*Take advantage of state and national funding for the arts as never before. 

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.”

The activation of the site which originally cost $10 million, could be anywhere from approx. $4 to $8 million, but Woodward has Assembly Member Tahsa Boener Horvath word to consider matching the City’s funding up to $3.5.  With that sort of backing, other funds should be forthcoming.

There has been lots of controversy and rumors about delays in this activation. But now is the time to do what the arts are best at…bringing a community together to heal and prosper.

Sad, sad, sad


You can read the EFA full vision of the Arts and Culture Center in Encinitas at this link: https://www.sdvisualarts.net/sdvan_new/pdf/ACCVision22.pdf





Saturday, January 22, 2022

Gator Aid

 by Patricia Frischer


Alley, happily ever after in all her upcycled glory.

Alley in situ

We walked down our alley and saw the saddest road kill ever. It was a completely squashed and mangled green mess. I took a photo and posted it to some friends. I got so much feedback on the formerly plush creature, that on our walk the next day I brought a body bag.  Beyond believe, there was a pulse. This was an Intensive Care Unit case. Blind and missing a limb, emaciated beyond belief, amazingly, our little alligator had not bled out. 

The following treatments were administered: 

  • cataract surgery so our patient can now see
  • bionic leg replacement 
  • Botox and plastic surgery on various wounds especially the tail and belly 
  • reverse liposuction i.e. putting the fat back in
  • complete spa treatment including bubble bath, hot rocks and massage, organic dye job i.e. food coloring. 

    Alley the Alligator now resides on my car dashboard with a much higher view of the world.

Alley in body bag.

Alley covered in dirt, cobwebs and various unidentifiable crude front

Alley covered in dirt, cobwebs and various unidentifiable crude reverso

Spa treatment begins with a paint brush.


The whole process with music to celebrate the rebirth!

 



 

Alley, wet but clean.

Alley, fluff dried.



 

Alley in all her glory, new eyes, legs and stuffing. 

 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

State of the Arts 2022: Hurry up and Slow Down

by Patricia Frischer



I have been pushing to re-form a San Diego County Arts Council since I found out that there used to be one that did not survive. Now, it appears that will happen in my lifetime! The Reimagine Vibrant Communities Through Arts & Culture report has now been made public and is in the hands of the SD County Supervisors. It advises that criteria be set for Commissioners to be chosen and so we are heading in the right direction to bring back an art commission or art council for the county of San Diego.

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 RAWcolumns in 2021. This is just a snapshot and is not every call for applications or every funding report. Can you see some trends?

Jan
Good news for the creative industries and artists from the CA’s $227 billion budget. CA is in good shape financially with a $15 billion projected surplus. Preliminary proposal for creative industries state arts agency includes a one-time $15 million CA Creative Corps pilot program and no decrease overall in ongoing funding for the CA Art Council plus $25 million for Cultural Institutions in grants in the next round of $575 million for small businesses recognizing the disproportionate impact of the shutdown to our sector. It is a great start now its need to get it through the legislature. Arts advocates, be ready, you’ve got more work to do.

Congratulation to the California Arts Council Administrators of Color Fellows and Host Organizations which include Luisa Martínez from the Museum of Us who is a transfronteriza cultural organizer, artist, and educator. Her practice develops from the trans-border context of Tijuana-San Diego, but looks to understand borders, and their imminent destruction, beyond geographical parameters.

Feb
Building on the longstanding partnership between the California Alliance for Arts Education (the Alliance) and Create CA and their shared mission to make sure that a quality arts education is part of every student’s life, they are merging into a new, united organization using the Create CA name. By coming together, they will join the power of Create CA’s dynamic communications and innovative data project with the Alliance’s proven policy and advocacy track record and statewide network supporting districts and counties to provide a full arts education to all students.

March
We all know how bad it is out there for the arts, but here are four links put out by USD research team: 2020 Annual Report: State of Nonprofits and Philanthropy in San Diego, Nonprofit Sector Response for COVID-19 March 2020 , Unprecedented Disruption: COVID-19 Impact on San Diego Nonprofits May 2020, 2020 Culture Shift: Measuring COVID-19 Impact on San Diego Arts and Culture Nonprofits. Nope, we are not going to summarize these for you, but we asked and they did it for us.

Arts Advocacy Week is April 19-23.  Hundreds of advocates will meet (virtually) in Sacramento to illustrate the creative industries and artists impact on our economy and wellbeing, and to meet directly with elected officials to encourage them to support increased public funding for the arts and legislation and policies that are pro-arts, arts education, culture and the creative sector.  We hope you will engage in advocacy and for you to be inspired to participate but you must sign up with Californians for the Arts. Raise your voice for the arts and join us for advocacy week April 19-23 by becoming a delegate. Attend ACCM Virtual Convening – April 27.  The keynote speaker is our own Todd Gloria!

Of the $78 million awarded in the first winter 2021 cycle of the Conrad Prebys Foundation, $8,517,500 was granted to Visual and Performing Arts organization. These grants requested $28,767,500.00, but at least 41 different grants were given out.

California Arts Council is changing the name of its Arts in Corrections to Transformative Arts. This is its prison arts program and the change is in honor of its participants & the possibilities creative expression provides. 

April
A big pat on the back to the Commission for Arts and Culture for their newsletter that is lively and informative about happenings at the commission. They also have a data-driven, interactive map that shows the impact of 160+ partner organizations.

May
Of the 11 San Diego County arts organizations who received a combined $203,000 in grants from the National Endowment for Arts in San Diego only two were for visual arts: Outside the Lens in San Diego, $10,000 and the San Diego State University Foundation’s Prison Arts Collective program, $35,000.

Bonita Museum & Cultural Center (BMCC) will join museums nationwide in the Blue Star Museums initiative, a program that provides free admission to currently-serving U.S. military personnel and their families this summer. The 2021 program begins on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15, 2021, and end on Labor Day, Monday, September 6, 2021. Find the list of participating museums at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums

June
The Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC), welcomes new staff member Andrea “Angie” Chandler as Cultural Strategist, to support the organization's recent shift into Inclusion as its Audience and Engagement Specialist. Chandler has already made an impact in the Southern California region with her project, Culture Mapping: San Diego, a community informed initiative to identify the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color cultural sector and ultimately connect them with much needed resources such as funding and space. Chandler from Brooklyn, New York, most recently served as the Education Manager at the San Diego Museum of Art where she oversaw a department that included a museum art school, adult and youth programming, the museum’s library and more. For more info: Leticia Gomez Franco 619.236.9702.

July
The
City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture recently announced 174 funding awards for the fiscal year 2022. More than $7.7 million will be distributed to nonprofits that make meaningful impacts in communities and expand access to arts and culture throughout the city. See the award at these two links: Organizational Support Program (OSP) and Creative Communities San Diego (CCSD). P.S. We love seeing the Commissioner Spotlights in the newsletter as this gives us a chance to know more about this select group of citizens supporting the arts in San Diego. Contact them for more info: arts@sandiego.gov

Did you know that the previous federal government promised the arts and culture industry $16 billion in emergency funding? They have received 14,000 applications for a total of $11 billion and as of June 22 have only given out $834 million to 1400 applications. Not only that but each application was 30 to 100 pages long. Does anyone else see a flaw here? Read more from the New York Times.  There is emergency federal, state and county funding for the arts. 

State funding included in the main budget bill has now been signed by the state governor and include an historic investment of over $600 million dollars to arts, culture and live events in California with $128 million to California Arts Council of which $40 million is for Creative Youth Development, $60 million for CA Creative Corps Pilot program and remaining for local assistance programs and staffing. Read more in our summary: California Arts Council Funding Update: July 2021 by Patricia Frischer

The California Arts Council is officially launching  DREAM, the state arts agency’s new arts and culture magazine. The annual publication features voices and stories from across the state, sharing a glimpse into the depth of impact of creativity and cultural expression in a region as large and diverse as California. The premier issue explores what it means to dream, introducing artists and culture bearers from communities throughout the state. Subscribe to DREAM magazine and receive your free copy in the mail, followed by subsequent yearly issues. A digital edition of the magazine, with both English and Spanish versions, is available also for free on the California Arts Council website at www.arts.ca.gov/dream

Aug
The Commission of Arts and Culture for the City of San Diego is trying to move mountains of policy to bring in a new era of equality. Led by Jonathon Glus, the executive director, the proposal which still has to be passed the city council, aims to make the grant process easier for small organization with less stringent auditing and more importantly access to money before the project instead of after the fact.  Individual artist or even one-off campaigns, as long as they use non-profit fiscal agents, will now be eligible. Although inclusion will be emphasized, project that serve the city but are located elsewhere will no longer be permitted.  This makes it even more important for communities like Chula Vista, Lemon Grove and Poway to have new funds by bringing back a county wide office of arts and culture. BTW, the City has made a call for fiscal agents to step forward and be pre-approved to offer a choice for these underserved groups.

California Arts Council Round 8, the Nonprofit Cultural Institutions Program, will open on August 27, 2021. If you have already received a CA Relief Grant, you are not eligible to receive another one. ONLY one award per organization/individual/business. For more information, sign up for the FREE webinars to learn more.

Sept
The Carlsbad Arts Commission approved the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Community Arts Grants Funding Plan on Aug. 5, 2021 including 29 arts projects and capacity building projects for local schools and arts organizations taking place in Carlsbad through Aug. 31, 2022. This includes $8461 for North County Arts Network.

In August, the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) bill was introduced. CERA is a $300 million dollar program that will mitigate creative worker displacement, stimulate local creative workforce growth, strengthen connections for local creative small businesses and networks, create a pipeline for new creative jobs, enrich communities, increase access to culture, and invest in creative workers and local economies harmed by COVID-19. Ask your member of Congress to sign on to H.R. 5019 as a cosponsor to support the creative economy in your community. This is the 21th century version of the WPA.

Oct
It is time to apply for your City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture funding. Organizational Support Program (OSP): Provides general operating support to arts and culture nonprofits and Creative Communities San Diego (CCSD): Provides support for projects in a variety of artistic and cultural forms, from film and video screenings, art exhibitions and performances to festivals and parades (projects produced by organizations that do not hold tax-exempt nonprofit status may be eligible for funding using a fiscal sponsor) RFQ Application Timeline: September 27, 2021 – October 31, 2021. Access all application materials HERE.

Reminder: Non-profit Neighborhood Reinvestment $5000 to $25,000 ($2 million per supervisor) and Community Enhancement ($1 million per supervisor) County Grants $5000 to $40,000 are available from your own district. District 3 is concentrating on green issues, those with disabilities, equity issues, emigrants help, youth resources, but there are still county stimulus grants for small businesses including non-profits who have suffered from the effects of the pandemic. These are all available every month until the money runs out.

We are thrilled to announce California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed SB-628 The Creative Development Workforce Bill introduced by Senator Ben Allen and co-authored by Assembly members Sharon Quirk-Silva and Laura Friedman and Senators Susan Rubio, Josh Newman and sponsored by California Arts Advocates, the lobbying arm of Californians for the Arts and, Arts for LA. Here is a link to the article I wrote on California Creative Corps Pilot Program Development Update A+ Art Blog by Patricia Frischer. I waded through the 217 page document for the Sept 22 California Arts Council meeting to summarize this and it contains a time line for the new program.

Nov
The San Diego Foundation gave a total of $11,094,777 to Arts and Culture this year. Of that over $2 million went to our museums. Orchestas and Symphonies got over $4 milliion but arts education only $193,606. Can anyone else see an lack of balance here?

The California Arts Council (CAC) announced that it has awarded a total of $2.185 million in support of 182 recipients who applied for an inaugural 2021 Individual Artist Fellowship. These are the 13 who were awarded  from San Diego County and mix of performing and visual artists: Victor Orozco Ochoa (muralist), Alyce Smith Cooper (story teller, actor) (Legacy $50,000) Bhavna Mehta, Cat Phillips, Angelica Tolentino, Macedonio Arteaga, Karla Cordero, B. Deaton, Josemar Gonzalez, Anishka Lee-Skorepa (Established $10,000) Dia Bassett, Yasmine Kasem, Maxwell Lofano, (Emerging $5,000). About 75 went to Los Angeles applicants and only 18 and no legacy award for those in San Francisco.  We think perhaps that is partly due to “…themes such as race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility…” in the requirements of those applying. San Diego simply does not support enough BIPOC artists so they don’t exist or didn’t know about this award. Remember only 182 out of probably a huge number of applicants even got a cash award.

The County of San Diego Board of Supervisors approved a Regional Film Office presented by Nathan Fletcher. Right now, only the city of San Diego has a Film Office as the SD Commission for Film was abandoned in 2013. The proposal is to negotiate the creation of a Regional Film Office with the City of San Diego and the Port of San Diego, among others in the county.

World Design Organization has announced that the cities of San Diego-Tijuana (USA/Mexico) have been jointly named World Design Capital® 2024 as a result of their commitment to human-centered design and legacy of cross-border collaboration. The theme is HOME,  and the US-Mexico border cities win historic designation to become first binational World Design Capital

Dec
Good news! The Reimagine Vibrant Communities Through Arts & Culture report has now been made public and is in the hands of the SD County Supervisors. It advises that criteria be set for Commissioners to be chosen and so we are heading in the right direction to bring back an art commission or art council for the county of San Diego.

A very nice summary of this year’s accomplishments for the arts comes from the Californians for the Arts: Historic investment of the Arts of $600 million nationally, first state creative workforce act (SB 628), senate resolution of artists as second responders, double amount of CAC California Arts Council funding for 2021 to $12 million, federal venue grants for CA of $1.3 million, guidelines for re-opening.