A community effort to outline the future of public arts programs, and find ways to fund them, kicked into gear this week with an enthusiastic town hall-style meeting at Oceanside’s downtown public library.
“This was incredible,” participant Cindy Rocco said afterward. “It’s like a huge think tank, and it’s really exciting.”
Oceanside has a thriving arts scene, with theater groups, galleries and museums, but so far it’s had little financial support from City Hall. The often cash-strapped City Council places a higher priority on public safety and other practical needs, such as streets and water.
Annual per capita spending on the arts in Oceanside is among the lowest in San Diego County — an average of 14 cents per person — compared to $10.17 per capita in neighboring Carlsbad and $4.59 per capita in the city of San Diego, according to a report the Oceanside Arts Commission prepared earlier this year.
Participants in Thursday’s brain-storming session gathered around tables and talked in broad terms about the need to secure more grants, improve publicity and communications, unite the city’s diverse population, and encourage or assist local artists.
The moderated meeting was the first in a series being led by David Plettner-Saunders of The Cultural Planning Group, a San Diego-based consulting firm hired to guide the creation of Oceanside’s first Master Plan for the Arts.
“The arts are an economic driver,” Plettner-Saunders said, adding that successful arts programs can boost business, improve property values and unite communities.
Completion of a Master Plan for the Arts would outline goals and potential…
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