By John Dow
The Santa Clarita Arts Commission has some money and is looking to hand it out. $50,000, in fact. At its upcoming meeting on Thursday, March 18, the Commission will receive grant applications for the City's "Santa Clarita Presents" grant program for their review and ratings.
"The Commission's ratings will determine the funding for this cycle of funding," said Phil Lantis, Director of the City's Arts and Events office. The "Santa Clarita Presents" grant program provides financial assistance to local non-profit arts organizations that stage productions at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons. Qualifying organizations can receive up to $7,500.
Art Commissioners include:
- John Dow, management consultant and marketing professional; Board President, Santa Clarita Symphony
- Sandra Fisher, local artist; past president of the Santa Clarita Artists' Association
- Dr. Michael W. Millar, music industry professional and non-profit business consultant; faculty at Cal Poly Pomona
- Eric Schmidt - accomplished and widely published composer; faculty at USC Thorton School of Music
- Paul B. Strickland - extensive background in animation arts; school board president, William S. Hart Union High School District; local radio show host.
The Arts Commission was formed late last year for the purpose of promoting the arts in Santa Clarita.
"We are in the process of drawing up a blueprint for the arts," said Commissioner Chair Dr. Michael W. Millar. "We are establishing important arts initiatives for 2010 to help foster growth in the following key areas: Education, Leadership, Economic Development/Fundraising, Marketing & Communication, Facilities, and Public Art."
"We welcome public participation - please attend Commission meetings and let us hear from you," Millar added.
The commissioners have taken a divide-and-conquer approach to getting work done. Commissioners, who were appointed by City Council members, are each heading up a committee as they establish the city's arts blueprint. Dow heads the marketing and communications committee, and Millar is heading up the leadership and fundraising committee. Schmidt is chairing the facilities committee, and Strickland heads the education committee.
Fisher, who has taken the helm of the public arts policy committee, is excited about the prospects.
"A sound public art program will not only provide aesthetic benefits but economic ones by creating a city that attracts residents, tourists and business; raising home values, providing an educated workforce, increasing retail sales and spurring investment."
The goal is to have each committee be a cross-functional team, made up of individuals from the community.
Anyone interested in participating on one of the committees can contact the Arts Commissioners via email at firstname.lastname@example.org  or in person at the Art Commission meetings.
The Art Commission meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month, from 6pm to 8pm in City Council Chambers, 1st floor of the City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd, Santa Clarita, CA.
Pictured: Art Commissioners Dow, Millar, Fisher, Strickland, Schmidt.