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City of Santa Ana Establishes Arts Commission

Members of the Santa Ana City Council, City Manager Cavazos, and members of United Artists of Santa Ana after the historic vote to move forward with creating an Arts Commission.  Standing (l-r): Victor Payan, OC Film Fiesta Development Director; Omar Avalos, composer and Santa Ana College music instructor; unidentified City staff member; Kalim Quevedo, Artist; Lorena Gonzalez, LGBT Activist; Marina Aguilera, Artist; Councilmember Vincent Sarmiento; Councilmember Michele Martinez; Councilmember Angelica Amezcua; City Manager David Cavazos; Peter Katz, Com-Link Boardmember.

Kneeling (l-r): Nathan Warren, Music Promoter; Matthew Southgate, Artist; Yenny Bernal, Artist. Photo: by Sandra "Pocha" Peņa.

A new era for Santa Ana's arts community has begun with yesterday's decision by the Santa Ana City Council to establish an Arts Commission.  The Commission will be comprised of seven Santa Ana residents to be appointed by the Council in the coming weeks and will meet monthly.  The City Manager also announced that he would seek to fill one of two existing Senior Management Assistant vacancies with a specialist in arts and culture to provide staff assistance to the new Commission.  This will be the first time that Santa Ana has had an arts manager on its staff since 2004, when the position (then held by Jim Gilliam, who is now shepherding arts programs for the City of Encinitas) was eliminated after 6 years during major budget cutbacks. 


During the 1990s, Santa Ana made investing in the arts a priority, painted "City of the Arts" on its iconic water tower, and partnered with Cal State Fullerton to create Grand Central Art Center in what became known as the Artists Village which now hosts a popular monthly art walk.  During this period, the City's largest arts institution, the Bowers Museum, underwent a transformation and expanded its facilities, and Saint Joseph Ballet opened a new facility and re-branded as The Wooden Floor. 


Like most cities with redevelopment agencies, the state's elimination of that funding mechanism put a damper on continued arts development in Santa Ana, the Great Recession took its toll economically, and other community issues dominated the focus of the City Council.


Then, two years ago, downtown Santa Ana property owner Mike Harrah put his historic Santora Arts Building on the market.  When it became known that a prospective buyer planned to turn it into a church, Santa Ana's arts community mobilized and formed United Artists of Santa Ana (UASA).  The artists discovered, to their alarm, that the City's permit agreement requiring that the Santora must maintain a majority arts tenant base had expired.  But they also learned that the site was not zoned to permit a church, and they conducted an active campaign to restore the artistic focus of the property.  After that buyer withdrew, a new buyer, Jack Jakosky, emerged and pledged to honor the artistic nature of the building. 


UASA then re-grouped around the goal to persuade the City to establish an Arts Commission, which Santa Ana has never had.  In addition to UASA, a major catalyst in the City's decision to create an Arts Commission was its new City Manager David Cavazos, who had come from Phoenix, Arizona, where he experienced firsthand the benefits of a city government engaged with the arts community and the resulting impact upon that city's economic development and quality of life.  Leading to the Council's decision was a staff report prepared by Gerardo Mouet, the City's Executive Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.

GEM Theatre in Garden Grove Re-opens

After a fire that occurred more than two years ago, the historic GEM Theater has reopened in time for the holidays.  Read the Orange County Register article here.
Santa Ana Community Artist(a) Coalition  
Mural Nears Completion
Santa Ana Community Artist(a) Coalition is a new organization connecting local artists to their communities in a collaborative process to create art that transforms public spaces, generates civic engagement, and promotes personal and social change.  Its first mural is located on the wall of the Macres Flower Shop, 419 N. Broadway, on the wall facing the corner of 5th Street & Sycamore.  The project has involved artists and community members of all ages.  More details here.
California Arts Council Announces Plans for
$2 Million One-time Allocation
from Assembly Speaker John Perez
At its November meeting, the California Arts Council approved several new funding initiatives designed to achieve maximum community impact with one-time monies allocated by the Assembly earlier this year.  More information is available in this media announcement from the Council and also in this article in the Los Angeles Times.



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Balboa Performing Arts Theatre Foundation has voted to re-invent itself. Following the election of its new Chair Dr. Don Hecht (above), the current Board dissolved to enable Dr. Hecht to hand-pick new Board members that will help him carry forward a new vision in tandem with its CEO Steve Beazley, who was appointed in September.  Hecht, founder and president emeritus of California Southern University, serves on the boards of the Pacific Symphony and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The National Endowment for the Arts has communicated that it is making a number of changes in how to apply to the NEA's Art Works and Challenge America Fast-Track categories. New guidelines will be posted on its website in January 2014.  

The application deadlines and process have changed: 
Art Works - February 20
Challenge America Fast-Track
-May 8

Art Works
- July 24
Applications will continue to be submitted both through and the NEA GrantsOnline™ System (NEA-GO), as previously done.

However, there will now be 2 sets of deadlines for each application! 
NEA will be conducting a series of webinars on the new guidelines and application process. For webinar information, go here. If you're unable to make the webinars, they'll be archived on the NEA website.

Whitney Museum in New York Acquires Works by UCI Art Professor Ulysses Jenkins



New York's Whitney Museum of American Art has purchased three videos by Ulysses Jenkins. They include Cake Walk, Mass of Images, and Without Your InterpretationJenkins is a professor of the Department of Art at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts.  More details here.

Free Education & Advice for Broadway Aspirants



Free education and advice is being offered by Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Tim Kashani through a new venture called ShowBizU.  According to an announcement, ShowbizU aims to empower storytellers by partnering with proven entertainment insiders to produce an online community where aspiring artists can learn, collaborate, and inspire each other. Continually rolling out interviews with Broadway performers, lighting designers, writers, musicians, and many more, ShowbizU is a growing and adapting online community. Currently, ShowbizU features interviews, but will expand into offering structured, online lessons created by proven industry insiders.

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) launches the application cycle for the 2014 grants and leadership programs. Applications are now being accepted for three grant programs: NALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA), Transnational Cultural Remittances (TCR), and Diverse Arts Spaces (DAS), and two leadership programs: NALAC Leadership Institute (NLI) and Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI).  More details here.


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