New city Arts and Culture Board ready to get to work
Glenwood Springs’ newly appointed Arts and Culture Board is ready to roll up its sleeves and get down to the business of promoting all things artistic.
City Council last week selected seven members out of 17 applicants to serve on the board.
The new advisory board will be made up of Jonathan Gorst, Stefanie Davis, Sandy Haber, Bryana Starbuck, Nathan Stowe, Bonnie Kratovil, Scott Norvell and alternate Mary Noone.
Its mission, in a nutshell, is to raise awareness, promote and create educational opportunities for all types of art, from performance and fine arts to the practical arts, such as design. It also will be instrumental in advising City Council on how best to help fund the arts.
Formation of the Arts and Culture Board grew out of council’s concerns about continuing to promote the arts, while severing the city’s direct financial support for the troubled Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts.
Earlier this year, the city ended its contract with the Center for the Arts, which included paying the director’s salary.
It also ended the center’s lease on the city-owned building on East Sixth Street where it had been conducting programming.
The move came amid a city financial investigation that turned up questionable spending and lax oversight by the governing arts council, and it led to misdemeanor theft charges against former arts center director Christina Brusig.
At the same time, council decided it wanted to broaden its support for the arts beyond a single organization to assist multiple groups and help artists interact and collaborate with each other.
“You really want to make sure the board is focused on developing a comprehensive plan to leverage all of the artistic resources we have in the city,” said Brian Smith, Glenwood’s Parks and Recreation director, who will be working with the advisory group.
A first step will be to conduct a needs assessment to help oversee and guide that effort, he said during a presentation to council at the Dec. 7 meeting.
“One of first things I’d like to see this board do is to talk about priorities … around developing and growing programming that’s sustainable, [and] working with start-up organizations beyond just dance and visual arts programs,” Smith said.
That could include things like TED-style talks, small film festivals, comedy nights, and a high-quality, regionally focused concert series, he said.
“We should focus on making Glenwood Springs a hub for arts and culture programming, not just locally but drawing from throughout the region,” Smith added.
Identifying existing facilities that can be used for the performing arts and coming up with ways to create new spaces will also be a key focus, he said.
Councilor Shelley Kaup added that she will look to the advisory board to help artists collaborate with each other and foster better communication between arts organizations, the schools, businesses and other stakeholders.
“Within the first year or two I’d also like to see this board come up with some signature arts events for Glenwood Springs,” she said.
Councilor Kathryn Trauger referred to a comment from one of the arts board applicants, who said, “the arts are the mortar that holds the community together.”
That’s especially true as it relates to special arts events, she said.
“Those types of things help bring people out and make it a more cohesive community,” Trauger said.
It’s also about broadening the definition of art beyond the visual arts, dance and theater, she added.
“Food is art,” she said. “We really need to expand our vision of what we classify as art.”
Councilor Rick Voorhees said he hopes the formation of the arts board will help spur more outreach to the Hispanic community and to youth.
In addition to the members appointed to the advisory group last week, council members said they would also like to consider adding a youth representative to the board.