Community partnership stressed at arts forum

Brief: Connells recognized for generosity

More than 100 people intent on painting the future of art in
Gilroy pressed their name tags to their clothes and packed Lizarran
Tapas Restaurant during the inaugural roundtable forum,

Building the Arts through Community.

More than 100 people intent on painting the future of art in Gilroy pressed their name tags to their clothes and packed Lizarran Tapas Restaurant during the inaugural roundtable forum, “Building the Arts through Community.”

At 1:55 p.m. Wednesday, stairs were filled with residents, council members, city staff, business owners and educators waiting to make their way into the second-floor function room of the downtown restaurant at 7400 Monterey St. Hosted by the Gilroy Arts and Culture Commission, the 2 to 5 p.m. forum was a chance to talk art, meet old friends and form partnerships.

“You are all in a unique position as you have a chance to partake in a vision of the future of Gilroy,” said commissioner Karen La Corte, before she pulled out the Commission’s new Strategic Plan – some 18 months in the making.

“Some of you give away grants, and some of you have the business mind to partner with the arts in Gilroy.”

Among those attending were Mayor Al Pinheiro, council members Perry Woodward and Cat Tucker, City Administrator Tom Haglund and other community leaders.

Residents and community leaders were asked to help shape the document, which sets the guidelines for the arts in Gilroy through 2020. The Strategic Plan is an update to a 1997 plan, which didn’t have the flexibility of being updated every year.

After several arts groups were introduced and attendees were asked to talk about the community activities that work well, facilitator Trisha Creason-Valencia asked groups to assemble and brainstorm a vision for Gilroy.

“What I found particularly helpful was listening to those ideas and feeling both the passion the desire to incorporate those in a meaningful way,” Haglund said. “The inclusion of money from developers for public art will some day will be a policy question.”

The next section in the discussion was how to make ideas a reality. Jaime Rosso, Gilroy Unified School District trustee, offered to hold a follow-up session to discuss many of the ideas relating to the arts in education, while the Leadership Gilroy Alumni Association volunteered their services in future arts projects.

La Corte believes new partnerships will begin cementing throughout the coming months.

“It’s a start for community partnership,” La Corte said.

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