Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 60

n PUBLIC FUNDING have the ability to provide meaningful financial incen- tives to production houses. ... But if the city can make those investments, we see a great opportunity to grow that industry locally.” Goal 4: The official Creative Edge plan delicately calls this “Enable Sacramento artists and creatives to thrive in their work.” The more blunt language: help starving artists. Two uncomfortable facts: Art doesn’t pay well, and rent isn’t cheap. Their survey found only 28 percent of professional art- ists earn enough through their trade to make a living. They outline a range of initiatives such as individual artist grants, an expanded busking program and the creation of an artist’s co-op gallery. Goal 5: More art in more neighborhoods. The team’s au- dit found that most of Sacramento’s existing art is clustered downtown. Ulich’s team is working on a Public Master Art Plan, so “we’re not just putting in things willy-nilly, but actu- ally working with all of our council members on how to work with each neighborhood,” she says. Goal 6: Get funding. THE PLAN IN ACTION Ulich admits the process has taken longer than expected, and since the roots began during former Mayor Kevin Johnson’s administration, “we did start and stop a little bit.” Yet the plan is in motion. In January 2017, the city moved $500,000 from the pre-existing Innovation Fund into the Creative Economy Pilot Project. The city was inundated with applications, totaling $7 mil- lion in requests. The 12 percent of applications they funded were covered by 13 grants of $25,000 and 44 microgrants of $5,000. The winners included the District 2 Arts Festival (with a focus in north Sacramento and Del Paso Heights), First Festi- val (a locally produced lineup of music, art and comedy), “pop up adventure play days” at Fairytale Town and the “Living Colors” interactive LED wall sculpture. But the $25,000 awarded for “pop up adventure play dates,” for example, begs the question: Is the money worth it? The jury is out. SMAC’s Ray Gargano, who manages the grants, is work- ing with a consultant, Third Plateau, to audit the process and gauge the return on investment, which they hope is complete in June. “We’re going to look at what we missed, and how we can do better next round,” says Gargano. The Creative Edge plan’s top goal — arts education — also is underway. The Arts Education Consortium, led by Steven Winlock, the executive director of Sacramento County Office of Education’s School of Education and the vice chair of SMAC, received a $1 million grant from California’s Department of STARTUP of the MONTH Know a female entrepreneur who has what it takes? SUBMIT YOUR PICK TODAY! COMSTOCKSMAG.COM/STARTUP-MONTH 60 comstocksmag.com | May 2019