Prior to an interview last week with Coronado Cultural Arts Chairman Jeff Tyler and City of Coronado Contract Arts Administrator Kelly Purvis, I thought my working knowledge of the Commission’s activities was relatively current. Well, as it turns out, not so much.
Probably the over-arching project in the works is “Coronado Creates: A Strategic Plan for Arts and Culture,” which is a comprehensive assessment of all things relating to art in the city. On Coronado’s side of things, Bill Lowman, who is the Arts Commissioner for Development and Special Events is leading the charge along with founding Arts Commission Chair Heidi Wilson, Tyler and Purvis.
During the City Council meeting of Nov. 15, 2016, the council appropriated an amount not to exceed $120,000 for the study. According to Tyler, nine firms submitted proposals, a number that was whittled down to three for interviews. The review committee for the interviews included City Manager Blair King.
The firm drawing the assignment to handle the community outreach and to satisfy the requirements outlined in the eight and one-half page Request for Proposal from the city is ArtsMarket, which is based in Bozeman, Montana. The principals are the husband and wife team of Louise and John Stevens. In a quote provided by the city, Louise Stevens who has led over 200 cultural, heritage, district, and agency arts and culture master plans said, “I am thrilled to be working with everyone in the city of Coronado and its partner arts organizations to undertake this arts and culture master plan.”
While starting the Coronado Strategic Plan with an eight-hour strategic assessment meeting last Wednesday, Stevens is also currently working on a similar plan for Ft. Collins, Colorado and Newark, New Jersey. She is also leading a major new study on the economic and social impacts of Chicago’s major arts institutions.
Purvis described the creation of the Strategic Plan, which has a targeted completion date of November 2018. “It’s a long process,” Purvis said. “It will involve a community survey, an assessment of all the arts including venues, artists, artist space, activities and an economic impact assessment. We will be working with 15 identified non-profit partners, the Cultural Arts Commission, and Commission volunteers. We will be asking people in town, who are part of the Arts Community to serve on a Steering Committee that will be briefed monthly to make sure we are doing this right and not missing something. We don’t want to go through the process behind closed doors, we want to be transparent.”
Purvis added other areas of outreach that will go into the Strategic Plan. “We’ll be talking over the next eight weeks with each one of the City Councilmembers and the Arts Commissioners, and a list of key players. We’ll be looking at other aspects of how the city is impacted, including the Library, the Parks and Recreation Department and probably the Community Development Department from the aspect of historic homes. A lot of people come to Coronado to see the charming little houses. A lot of the plans include cultural heritage.”
Taking a moment to look back, the Cultural Arts Commission accomplished the following projects in 2017:
• Installed, restored and dedicated six Public Art projects, including the public piano in Rotary Plaza, decorated by Artist Jody Esquer. The piano is taking the winter off and will return May 1, 2018. There is the possibility of two additional public piano projects in the future, with the details still in the works.
• Maintained the CoronadoARTS.com website and produced “3 on Thursday,” a weekly E-mail promoting arts and cultural activities in Coronado, to support and publicize arts and cultural events in the community.
• Mounted four exhibitions and artist receptions in the C3 Gallery featuring over 80 artists this season.
• Participated in the 2017 Coronado Flower Show with the exhibition “Florals by Locals” and provided a floral painting class.
• Implemented the first annual 2017 Coronado Community Read – “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. And the Commission and the Coronado Public Library recently jointly announced the 2018 Coronado Community Read, which is “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. Events for Second Annual Community Read will be scheduled for late February through March 2018.
• Hosted five meetings throughout the year with our 15 designated Arts Partners to promote, coordinate and collaborate arts and culture in Coronado.
• Co-sponsored music concert series with the Coronado Community Band to highlight their 20th Anniversary.
• And the Commission coordinated the ‘Banners on Orange Avenue’ program funded through a Discover Coronado grant. Five custom banner series were created and displayed including: Coronado History, Celebrate Coronado Artists, Coronado Star Spangled Summer, the Coronado Island Film Festival and the Coronado Holiday Banner.
One of the highlights of our meeting was the revelation that Caltrans has approved the final installation of student art on eight of Caltrans signal boxes in town. Tyler said, “The eight boxes are being done on Orange Avenue and will be installed in January and February. We have 15 different artists working in teams.” Also in the works is a public art installation at the city’s Animal Care Facility and an Urban Art Tree concept, where art rotates through the city.
One of the strengths of the Arts Commission is their willingness to promote arts-related events that would appeal to elements of the Coronado community. An example is the Dec. 12, 2017, concert for the Coronado Community Band, which will be held at Coronado High School’s Performing Arts Center at 640 D Avenue, from 7 to 9 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public, with the theme of theater and film holiday classics. Purvis said of the Community Band, “The first concert was around the Coronado Island Film Festival and featured film and movie classics. It was phenomenal. I had never heard them play indoors before and this is their first time playing an indoor series of concerts.”
Another example of Cultural Arts Commission support would be the 100th Anniversary of the Spreckels Building, which is being staged by Lamb’s Players Theatre on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, at 4 p.m. There is limited seating for the celebration, which can be obtained on a complimentary basis by calling the Lamb’s Ticket office at 437-6000 until Dec. 18.
Lest you think that arts organizations are new to Coronado, according to Purvis several local groups are celebrating major historic benchmarks. “The Coronado Historical Association is celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2019; Musica Vitale is coming up on their 10th Anniversary; the Coronado Community Band is celebrating their 20th; Lamb’s has been in Coronado for 25 years; the Coronado School of the Arts is celebrating their 20th; and the Arts Association, which runs Art in the Park and has been here since 1959.”
So, there in a nutshell are the high points of the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission. For more information on the Commission contact Purvis, Tyler, Lowman or one of the other five Arts Commissioners including Doug Metz, Commission Vice-Chair, who oversees Arts and Advocacy; Lei Udell, Literary Arts; Mariah Gillespie, Arts Education and Musical Arts; Maryellen McMahon, Visual Arts; and Sherril Altstadt, Communications, Public Relations and Media.