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Chair Nathan Fletcher and Vice Chair Nora Vargas want to reestablish a San Diego County Arts and Culture Commission. On June 14, the Board of Supervisors will vote on a resolution that will create the 13-member commission to uplift organizations that serve diverse communities, improve access to arts and culture for all San Diegans, and ensure the region is accessing Federal and State grant opportunities.

“Arts and culture drive tourism, make communities dynamic, and help people to be well-rounded; that is why we want to establish a San Diego County Arts and Culture Commission to drive progress around making our region an arts and culture destination,” said Chair Fletcher.    

The County of San Diego had a Public Arts Advisory Council (PAAC) in the 1980s, but in 1993 amid budget cuts the Board of Supervisors eliminated the PAAC, which left the County ineligible for arts and culture grants. This resource gap led to a decrease in funding for organizations and public art in our communities. San Diego County is the largest county in California, and one of only four counties, without a dedicated arts agency.

In 2021, the Board of Supervisors supported Chair Fletcher and Vice Chair Vargas’ policy to “Reimagine Vibrant Communities Through Arts & Culture,” which directed staff to explore how to expand and uplift arts and culture in the county, including through the creation of a commission.

“Arts and culture are an integral part of our society and through programs that foster creativity and expression, we can help alleviate many of the issues that currently persist in our communities,” said Vice Chair Nora Vargas, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Establishing a Commission that centers diverse representation in Arts and Culture is critical to ensuring the county opens doors of opportunity to new artists and organizations from communities of color, removing the disproportionate barriers that they have faced, historically. I urge my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to support the creation of this commission.”

The duties of the Commission reflects feedback from the community and include:

  • Study and evaluate equity in access to arts and culture in the region.

  •  Promote equity in access to arts and culture in the region.

  • Conduct workshops for County personnel and community groups to explore specific subject areas and improve relationships.

  • Conduct public hearings dealing with matters before the Commission.

  • Prepare and disseminate information on matters related to the arts community.

  • Provide liaison and assistance to citizen groups interested in the problems facing the arts community.

  • Apply for and administer grants from all levels of government and private sources for carrying out the functions of the Commission.

If approved, each Supervisor will be able to appoint two members to the Commission.  The County’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) will appoint three youth (age 16-24). The CAO has also already allocated funding in the upcoming budget to support a full-time staff position to help advance the actions of the Commission. 

The ordinance will require a second reading, which will occur at the June 28, 2022, Board of Supervisors meeting.

To read the entire policy, click the link here