How commission will work has yet to be decided.
One thing’s for sure, the city of Santa Clarita will have a dedicated Arts Commission. How it will work, what power it will have, and how it’s structured will all be decided later.
After hearing requests from prominent leaders with local art, theatre and music organizations, the City Council had to weigh whether or not to change the existing establishment of the Arts Advisory Committee into a more powerful organization.
The primary concern for the art leaders who spoke was that the existing Arts Advisory Committee does not have enough influence and they pushed to elevate its status so that it reports directly to the City Council in an effort to bring new community-wide art projects to the table.
Generally, all of the City Council members agreed that there needed to be improvement in the organization of new arts projects, and that Santa Clarita has a wealth of talented art and business professionals that could make such an organization thrive.
The issue that divided the Council was that of funding.
Council members Laurie Ender, Frank Ferry and Laurene Weste all questioned how much additional staff time the commission would demand, noting that with the current economic times, the city has a limited staff and no room in the budget to hire more.
Council members Marsha McLean and Bob Kellar insisted that elevating the status of the Arts Advisory Committee wouldn’t require any more money or staff time to accomplish its goal of empowering the arts community and giving them a distinct voice before City Council.
After a long and stubborn debate over what the commission would do, the Council concluded their Tuesday evening session by voting 3-2 in favor of forming the commission. Mayor Frank Ferry and Council member Laurene Weste dissented.
But while that settled the question of wanting an arts commission, the exact structure and power of the commission will be hashed out later.
The current Arts Advisory Committee was charged with the task of collecting the input of the arts leaders in Santa Clarita and putting together a plan for the new commission including the exact number of members, proposed compensation, and operating needs. It will then be up to the Council to again vote to approve the plan, thereby officially establishing the new commission.
So for now, the Council has succeeded in expressing an interest to better position Santa Clarita as an arts-rich community. But the debate on how to do that is far from over.
The Council also made a decision regarding The Master’s College plan for a 10-year expansion project. See what they thought of that by clicking here.