Our Meeting in Santa Monica

Yesterday we announced the gist of the Council votes taken, but thought you might like to know what else went on during a busy and productive day at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on November 19th.

The Council was welcomed by Jessica Cusick, Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Santa Monica, and the ever-efficient Elizabeth Dugan who did a great job with all the arrangements for our meeting.

We acknowledged and thanked Jeff Mickeal of Topps Digital Services, whose tireless efforts on our behalf went above and beyond the parameters of his actual contract—and have made our Arts License Plate the first California specialty plate to offer a voucher card program, making it possible for people to purchase arts license plates as gifts.

It was wonderful to greet former Council Member Terry Lenihan, who came to give a presentation on the work being done by Turnaround Arts California, utilizing one of the largest single funding awards ever given by the California Arts Council. It warmed our hearts to hear inspiring stories of lives being changed, students and teachers being lifted up, and low-performing schools improving dramatically as a result of the Turnaround Arts program.

The bulk of the day was spent in intense discussion. The Council thoroughly considered the final recommendations of its staff and Programs Committee regarding the allocations of a one-time budget boost of five million dollars received for 2014-15, weighing each potential project and initiative against the needs of the arts field and our state’s communities. We believe the field will be pleased and the state will be well-served by the final result of the discussions and votes.

The Council then adjourned in memory of three California artists who will be sorely missed: Juan Cervantes and Samuel Quiñones of the beloved Royal Chicano Air Force, and Anita Pauline Hall, whose dedication to teaching dance and inspiring a rural community in Monterey County to produce a “Nutcracker” every year for thirty years is being acknowledged in a special ceremony in King City this month.