Saturday was a beautiful day in the San Francisco Bay area. The sun was glistening, sea lions sunbathing, and boats frolicking in the water. It was the best time to be sitting in a conference room at City Hall in Richmond.
A few months ago, I was appointed to be a Richmond Arts & Culture Commissioner. According to the city’s website: “The Richmond Arts & Culture Commission, in partnership with the Arts and Culture Division, is the lead organization for the development and advocacy of the arts and culture in Richmond. The Commission is respected and sought after for its broad and diverse knowledge of the arts. Members reflect the strength and diversity of the City and represent multiple fields of expertise.” It’s an honor and I’m blushing.
Currently, there’s an opportunity for artists to apply for a Neighborhood Public Art Mini-Grant. The purpose is to encourage positive activity within the community by working with professional artists. There’s only a $65,000 pool in which applicants will compete for small portions. I updated the application form and added questions comparable to other respected public art programs along with feedback from fellow commissioners. This will aid in getting the best outcome for the community.
As a result, volunteered time to help edit and look at application forms for interested artists. Met with 5 artists for 30 minutes each. The goal was to make sure that the applicants used proper grammar, followed guidelines, answered questions completely, and the grant must involve/impact the community.
Even though it was a gorgeous day outside, it was a transformative day inside. I’m a Weekend Word Warrior (W.W.W.). Meeting with a wonderful and diverse group of artists gave me hope. Art does transcend and strengthen communities. It’s not a frivolous expense or waste of time. It defines our culture and makes us want to be and do better.