Much of my time is dedicated to art, or more broadly speaking “the arts”.
I was fortunate to have grown up in a way that the arts were fully integrated into my life. As a 5-year-old, living in Arlington VA, it was rare that a full week would go by without a trip to the Smithsonian. I expect the early visits to the national gallery and symphony concerts in the park in Colorado Springs and the range of cultural activities I was exposed to as a child has driven me to find great value and pleasure in the arts as an adult.
Santa Cruz has a very mixed bag when it comes to the arts. We have so many truly excellent artists and organizations here, and there is always interesting culture to be found, but we are a bit behind the curve in our public relationship to the arts. Funds for the arts here from the public sector are nominal and from the private sector cultural philanthropy remains narrow and underdeveloped. And yet…
We continue to be identified as a cultural mecca. We have something like 350 artists per square foot, and there are 4 arts nonprofits for every citizen. and there are new projects popping up all the time. The creativity that exists here is contagious. Artist and other creatives want to live here because, well come on, it’s an amazing place to live. But it’s also a struggle to live here. We all know that. There will likely always be a community of creatives here, but at some point, the question becomes, for whom? Unless we can find a way to address social equity and diversity in our population, the arts, as we know and appreciate them in Santa Cruz will not sustain.
There are solutions.
There are great people and organizations doing great work not only in the arena of presenting and developing art but in creating a culture where artistic and cultural diversity can thrive.
At the end of the day, it’s not these organizations that will determine the fate of culture in Santa Cruz. How do you support the arts locally?