Santa Clarita City Council members discussed Tuesday an annual update from the city’s Arts Commission on the city’s priorities for public art works, outreach and programming for the next year, as well as a look at what’s been accomplished.
A few of the priorities identified by the city include exploring opportunities to address diversity and inclusion through grants and a pair of future public arts projects and an expansion of the city’s support for the performance arts through various means, including more outdoor spaces.
April Scott-Goss, chair of the Arts Commission, also mentioned the current plan is nearing the end of its lifespan as it was first approved in 2016, with a new plan expected to be worked on for 2026.
“The current arts master plan has been vital in guiding the growth of arts and culture in our community,” Scott-Goss said, “and we look forward to continuing this in the future with the new … arts master plan … that will serve as a roadmap needed to be successful.”
Two of the new public pieces expected to be planned during the course of the next year, according to Phil Lantis, arts and events administrator for the city of Santa Clarita, include a piece for David March Park on Via Joyce Drive in Saugus and a piece for Old Orchard Park.
The Old Orchard Project is budgeted at $46,000, which is expected to include all costs, as well as materials, installation and the artist’s fee, according to Lantis, The David March Park project has a total budget of $389,000 with $108,000 in the budget for public artwork.
While there are some nuances, the funding for the respective works is basically determined by the overall cost of the city project, with some exceptions, and then an additional 1% is asked for by the city for a public art component, Lantis said.
Touching on a theme that was also brought up by council members in the meeting, he added that residents can still voice their opinion and influence the process by showing up to Thursday’s Arts Commission meeting at City Hall.
City Council members also praised the city’s public arts programs and pieces during Tuesday’s special meeting with the commission, but they also asked if there is more that can be done to promote those efforts to the public.
“I’m just thrilled with the energy and the passion that you guys are showing and putting into your work as commissioners,” said Councilman Bill Miranda, adding that the work has been especially impressive in light of the challenges over the last few years in bringing the arts to the public.
“So one thing that always bothered me is, I like to show off my city or our city — and when people say to me, ‘I’ve never been there’ … ‘I didn’t know we had that’ — it just rattles me,” he continued. “We have so many great opportunities to enjoy the arts in Santa Clarita. And people don’t know about them.’
Commissioner Patti Rasmussen acknowledged that competing for audience attention was one of the more difficult problems the commission faced.
Some of the suggestions that came from the discussion included partnerships with local school districts and using city buses to increase the visibility of the city’s outreach.
More discussion of the city’s plans for the arts in the coming year and further out is expected to take place with the Arts Commission at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
The commission is also expected to talk about its arts grants program, which is one of the ways in which the city supports local artists, Artober, which is slated to begin next month, and the 2024 Sidewalk Poetry Project, which takes place in the spring and welcomes public participation.
Santa Clarita City Hall is located at 23920 Valencia Blvd.