BRISTOL - Arts and culture need to be prevalent and promoted throughout the city, according to the Task Force on Arts and Culture’s recommendations for the future arts commission.
Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu and City Councilor Greg Hahn will use those recommendations to lay the foundation of an ordinance and budget for the commission. They will then present it to the ordinance committee and the City Council, making it a permanent city fixture.
“I am really looking forward to having something hit ordinance committee and the budget, so we can have some money and really have something in place, for even as soon as this summer,” Zoppo-Sassu said. “There are lots of interesting things that have been brought together and I think this is a great opportunity.”
At the task force meeting Thursday, members presented their recommendations for the commission, which has not yet been officially named.
“The goal is to create a more arts-friendly community that will in turn stimulate our local economy,” said Lindsay Vigue, Bristol resident, photographer and task force member. “It would be much more enriching to our community if organizations and businesses had a simpler path to put up murals and sculptures.”
Vigue cited obstacles a former city art group faced a couple of years ago when painting traffic boxes, and how existing city ordinances and procedures should be altered in order to create that simpler path for public art.
Vigue also pointed out that the commission could be the liaison between artist, the city, businesses and organizations to help projects come to fruition.
Another task force member and Bristol resident, Richard Rich, added that affordable art studios are necessary for the art-friendly community.
“These kinds of buildings are all across the country,” Vigue added.
Vigue noted, there are vacant buildings in the city that could be used for these studios.
Additionally, task force member and Bristol resident Rich Theriault, recommended the commission have a music liaison that maintains contact with musicians.
This liaison would also help create and coordinate events with them at local venues. This liaison would also work with Bristol schools, private music teachers and other towns, Theriault added.
Performing and theater arts will be supported by the commission as well, by creating related programs or expanding existing ones.
The Bristol Development Authority has many resources to help with the commission’s endeavors, too, explained task force member Mark Thomas. Thomas is the development authority’s marketing and public relations specialist.
The development authority can connect the commission and artists with new or existing local businesses or venues that want to get involved in coordinating events, stated Thomas.
It could then promote those events through its All Heart website, social media, blogs, email campaigns and the Uniquely Bristol TV show. It would also provide advertising resources, marketing opportunities and collateral materials, Thomas added.
Moreover, there are grants that could help fund those endeavors, said task force member Dawn Leger, the city’s grants administrator.
However, the commission needs to be formally constituted to apply for them and the task force needs to consider whether or not the commission will have someone staffed because that can change the grant process, Leger said.
The task force is anticipated to end in mid-March. The next meeting will be on Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. A location has not yet been scheduled.
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