Director's Letter | Fall 2019
Fall means it is time to move on from the 2019 Fair, begin planning for the 2020 Fair, and bet back to our year-round business of hosting hundreds of arts events on our campus.
A year ago, I wrote about embarking on a process to develop a countywide art and culture plan: Arts, Culture, Action, Marin!
After months of engagement with residents and arts related groups, Marin County has a new countywide arts and culture master plan, designed to define the county’s creative future. The Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the plan on May 14th, 2019. In my presentation to the Board, I said that after joining the County workforce in 2014, I realized that Cultural Services should be more than just a steward of Marin Center and the Marin County Fair. Research showed that Marin enjoys an enviable abundance of artistic talent, but support needs to be shared more equitably. Other key findings included the struggles of Marin’s creative sector because of the high costs of living, declining philanthropic support, and a lack of coordinated leadership. The plan was developed by and for the community to ensure that Marin County has a sustainable arts ecology for generations to come. However, even with uncertain infrastructure and funding for local arts programs, arts nonprofits contributed $76.4 million to Marin County’s economy in 2018. Those same organizations employed 1,650 full time employees and contributed more than $7 million to local and state taxes according to a study conducted by Americans for the Arts.
The main goals of the master plan are to:
cultivate and advance Marin as an arts and cultural center; ensure the benefits of the arts flow equitably to every member of the community; and sustain and grow resources for artists and arts providers.
The plan was the result of countless stakeholder interviews, discussion group meetings, a statistically valid survey and its responses, a nonprofit arts economic impact survey, supervisorial district forums, and steering committee meetings over the past year. Marin faces ongoing challenges such as limited visibility and awareness of arts programming, audiences traveling elsewhere to attend arts events, and local artists being forced to move away due to high housing costs. Research revealed an array of economic, racial and cultural inequities in access to and funding for arts organizations and arts education in our public schools. The plan details steps to rectify some of the inequities so that arts access in Marin County is for everyone. The Cultural Services Department and its nonprofit, the Marin Cultural Association, will take a leadership role in implementing the plan. If you would like to read the plan in its entirety or join our mailing list for the Marin Cultural Association, visit our homepage. I look forward to seeing you in our galleries and theaters!
All my Best,