Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 59

THE PLAN Since its public kick-off in September 2017, the Creative Edge team — which includes the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and the Sacramento Region Community Foun- dation — has conducted two town halls, 10 community fo- rums, 57 discussion groups, 66 interviews, surveys of 1,709 residents, and a sweeping review of the city’s arts and cul- ture. “This was an effort to dig deep into the community to find out a number of things,” says Ulich. “What’s the sup- port in the city for growing the creative economy? What’s the status of our arts and culture? And what are the recom- mendations on how to move forward, to make this a great city that grows with the arts?” A telephone survey of 725 residents found that 92 per- cent considered the arts either “somewhat” or “very import- ant.” Perhaps more surprisingly, most wanted to put their money where their mouth is: 73 percent supported an annu- al citywide tax to support the arts. To determine the state of Sacramento’s art and culture sector, the Creative Edge Steering Committee used an ex- ternal benchmarking metric, the Creative Vitality Index, to gauge how Sacramento stacks up against other cities. The score takes into account factors like revenue from cultural nonprofit organizations, artists’ incomes and the number of jobs in creative professions like music and photography. A CVI of 1.0 is the national average; Sacramento scored 1.15, lagging behind benchmark cities like Austin (2.55), Port- land (3.06) and Denver (3.52). To boost the CVI, the plan has six goals: Goal 1: Support arts education. The Creative Edge plan notes that 88 percent of Sacramentans “agree on the impor- tance of arts education, and it is the #1 priority for online survey participants.” Yet they also found that only 42 per- cent of children participate in the arts in school. There’s work to do. Goal 2: Advance cultural equity. “We have a tendency to fund the well-oiled machines — the symphonies, the op- eras, the ballets,” says Ulich. “The smaller organizations that are serving our diverse population tend to be left out.” Goal 3: Grow the creative economy, which defines art more broadly than just the obvious examples of paint- ings and sculptures. For example, Visit Sacramento only has one person — actually, a half-time person — work- ing on a film division. “Filming in Sacramento is some- thing that’s very top of mind for the city right now,” says Testa, especially in the wake of the 2017 Sacramen- to-based film “Lady Bird.” “As an organization, we don’t May 2019 | comstocksmag.com 59