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1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco for $33,000 (75 cents an acre) in a sheriff's sale [story]


Will Santa Clarita gain a reputation as a place that supports the arts with new galleries, grant programs and film festivals? That seems to be the direction the city is going with a draft Arts Master Plan, unveiled in a public meeting Wednesday evening.

Dozens of the Santa Clarita artists and residents gave their input for the Arts Commission Draft Arts Master Plan by choosing their top 10 recommendations Wednesday evening.

The city of Santa Clarita commissioned the Arts Master Plan in 2014 to create a new, long-term roadmap for cultural development throughout the community, according to the executive summary. Themes for the plan include enhancing cultural vitality in the community, strengthening cultural support systems and fostering greater diversity and inclusion.

The presentation showcased key findings from community engagement, the 41 recommendations, the executive summary of the plan and the vision statement.

“One way of looking at cultural planning of arts master planning is holding up a mirror to the community,” said David Plettner-Saunders, a partner in The Cultural Planning Group who led the presentation. “Many of the best ideas in a cultural plan are already present in the community.

“It’s critical that the (City Council) knows that the community supports this plan.”

More than 1,250 community members provided input and engagement for the plan including a stakeholder committee, interviews, focus groups, AMPED Arts Summit attendees and a community survey. These community members ranged from millennial students and workers, parents, educators, small business owners, artists, CalArts faculty and staff, multicultural leaders, realtors, developers, social services, the faith community and seniors, according to the executive summary.

“This is a good first step. In relation to funding and the staffing, I think that’s going to address a lot of those issues — so we have a little more help and then we can help the artists and will, in turn, help the community be vibrant and cultural,” said Patti Rasmussen, chair of the Arts Commission. “This is a huge step for the Arts Commission. We’ve come a long way in 20 years.”

Attendees of the presentation were shown the 41 recommendations by the Arts Commission for the Arts Master Plan. Each person was given the opportunity to choose ten of the recommendations that are most important.

Top recommendation priorities of the attendees include an outdoor amphitheatre, increase in arts grants, percent-for-art program, a community arts center, art galleries in Newhall, arts education collaborative, marketing program, City Council Subcommittee for the Arts, a film festival and cultural diversity programming.

The Arts Commision is planning to present the final Arts Master Plan for adoption to City Council in March.

“I’m excited but cautious at the same time,” said Bob Hernandez, president and founder of the ARTree Community Arts Center.”I just want to shepherd (the plan) in so desperately in a quick manner, so that the interest and the excitement isn’t lost.”

Over the past 13 years, the city’s budget for the arts has grown to $2.2 million with programs including events, arts education, exhibitions, public art and grants.

To read the Executive Summary of the Draft Arts Master plan, click here: http://www.santa-clarita.com/home/showdocument?id=6799

To read the full Draft Arts Master Plan, click here: http://www.santa-clarita.com/home/showdocument?id=10784

For information about Santa Clarita arts and events, visit http://www.santaclaritaarts.com.

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