Creating an Arts Capital
Making a Real Commitment to the Arts
We have proclaimed our identity as the Farm to Fork Capital. We should also strive to be the Arts Capital. Arts and culture provide a heartbeat to any city, help measure the pulse and vibrancy of a community and fuel economic growth. Great cultural cities are measured by arts & culture, sports, dining and affordable living options. Sacramento is primed to lead on all of these. In order to do so however, we must make a real commitment to the arts. Too often, we give a token nod to the importance of arts without action to back up our words.
- Establish an Arts Liaison in the Mayor’s office so our arts community has a true voice and advocate in City Hall to guide our efforts in becoming the Arts Capital.
- Restore funding to the arts through increasing the arts’ share of the Transient Occupancy Tax.
- Create artist workspace. Work with landlords of vacant storefronts and developers of new spaces to allow artists to create, display and bring activity into unused areas.
- Continue building on the downtown housing initiative to create mixed-use, mixed-income communities like the Warehouse Artists Lofts on R street that provide subsidized housing and creative spaces for artists.
- Encourage Regional Transit to collaborate with local artists to revitalize transit stops so they are more inviting and well-used.
- Create flexibility in the city ordinance that funds our Public Art Program so some or all of the allotted money can be invested in artwork off site from the capital improvement project generating the funds.
- Explore the creation of an arts district neighborhood that would give artists space to create, display and sell their work or find ways to provide artists with street permits that encourage pop up markets, performances and placemaking.
- Facilitate in every way possible the proposed development of Crocker Park and its connection to the riverfront and surrounding attractions as well as highlight the Crocker Art Museum in City promotional materials.
- Highlight and champion our performing arts in City promotional materials from the Sacramento Ballet to the Camellia Symphony Orchestra, to the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera and more.
Arts as an Economic Driver
The downtown economic renaissance is incomplete; it can’t just be about sports or downtown, it must be also be about the arts and our neighborhoods. I understand the key role arts and culture plays in fueling growth and economic development as well as the role our local artists play in revitalizing our community’s vacant and inactive spaces. Portal and the Art Hotel are recent examples of how our arts community can generate excitement and activity around a run down and underutilized space. This translates to tangible economic benefits for neighboring businesses through increased foot traffic and exposure.
We also know that an investment in the arts like Second Saturday can provide real returns on investment and have positive economic impacts. Downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts has a similar monthly program, aha! (Art, History, Architecture) on the second Thursday of each month. For every dollar spent on their program budget, $2.50 was returned in economic impacts. Imagine that kind of investment and boost for our Sacramento business corridors. Investments in our local artists and venues like the Crocker Art Museum, B Street Theater, Guild Theater and local galleries are investments in local small businesses – those dollars are returned to the local economy.
Arts and Schools
We have woefully underfunded arts in our schools and made it difficult for young people to participate. Arts help our students use their imaginations and tap into the innovative spirit that is critical to our economy and democracy.
The arts are just as diverse and varied as Sacramento itself. From small performance artist troupes, to classes working out of the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts, to local bands drawing crowds to summer concerts in the park, to artisan crafts for sale at local markets, to muralists beautifying our city's walls and freeway underbellies. It will take a clear vision and leader to bring our diverse arts community and community at large together to make Sacramento an Arts Capital. We must ensure the arts are accessible for everyone and that our minority and beginning artists are not marginalized.