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Creating an Arts Capital

Making a Real Commitment to the Arts

We have proclaimed our identity as the Farm to Fork Capital. We should also strive to be the Arts Capital. Arts and culture provide a heartbeat to any city, help measure the pulse and vibrancy of a community and fuel economic growth. Great cultural cities are measured by arts & culture, sports, dining and affordable living options. Sacramento is primed to lead on all of these. In order to do so however, we must make a real commitment to the arts. Too often, we give a token nod to the importance of arts without action to back up our words.

Arts as an Economic Driver

The downtown economic renaissance is incomplete; it can’t just be about sports or downtown, it must be also be about the arts and our neighborhoods. I understand the key role arts and culture plays in fueling growth and economic development as well as the role our local artists play in revitalizing our community’s vacant and inactive spaces. Portal and the Art Hotel are recent examples of how our arts community can generate excitement and activity around a run down and underutilized space.

To advance this initiative, the City Council approved $500,000 in January 2017 to establish the Creative Economy Pilot Project.

Sacramento Arts Education assessment effort

We have woefully underfunded arts in our schools and made it difficult for young people to participate. Arts help our students use their imaginations and tap into the innovative spirit that is critical to our economy and democracy.

So how might we bring art to every child in Sacramento?

This is a question that the 2016 class of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program recently tackled through an assessment across Sacramento school districts that evaluated the ways in which students receive direct arts instruction and exposure during and outside of school. My office was happy to partner with them on this project and I hope to utilize some of the findings to make real progress on answering that key question.

To learn more about the Sacramento Arts Education assessment effort including the data, key findings and opportunities to engage, visit