By Ted AYALA
The future of arts and culture funding in Glendale was discussed by City Council on Tuesday. In recent years, Glendale’s reputation as an arts hub has been steadily growing. The city is home to several musical ensembles, entertainment studios and soon will be host to the Neon Museum formerly of West Hollywood. A plan demonstrating how the city can grow in this direction through 2018 was outlined by city staff.
“This is the next step – and it is a big step – in the maturation of the arts and culture program that is a priority for this city,” said City Manager Scott Ochoa, adding that it would be a “touchstone” for what the city means as a community. “It’s an important step to get the ball rolling.”
Annette Vartanian, Library, Arts, and Culture Program supervisor, said that her department’s plan aims to raise the visibility of the arts in the city, advance its role in government, and use it as a tool to address cultural and social barriers, among other goals.
One of the resources the city can use to achieve these goals is its Urban Art Fund, which has so far raised $1.4 million since May 2012. It expects to collect an additional $1 million. The fund is to be used for urban arts projects in areas such as Verdugo Gardens.
The plan also outlines partnerships with various entities including the Los Angeles Stage Alliance, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and even local arts bloggers.
Potential arts programs and projects listed were construction of sculptures, statues, and murals, as well as public events and performances.
“There’s a lot we can do in our community as far as what we can do for public art,” Vartanian said.
“What the public is seeing is only a part of a much longer policy document,” said Councilmember Laura Friedman. “I’m very pleased with this. This is the beginning. The plan is very well thought out. I’m happy that [Glendale] for the first time has an art fund.”
Mayor Frank Quintero also expressed his support.
“It’s been a long struggle with arts and culture,” he said. “The Arts and Culture Commission and city staff have worked very hard on this. We’re on a way with this.”