BRISTOL - The Cityâ€™s recently established Arts & Culture Commission elected its officers Wednesday and discussed options for assisting in the promotion of the arts in the community.
Lindsay Vigue was elected chairwoman of the commission and Kim Villanti was elected vice-chairwoman.
Councilor Greg Hahn, City Council liaison for the Commission, then explained that $50,000 from the budget for the Mum Festival and $25,000 for promotions was now under the charge of the commission.
â€śPromotion funds can be used for several things,â€ť said Hahn. â€śIf there is an event in Bristol that needs seed money they can go through a grant process from this commission. You can also use it for anything that promotes Bristol culture and tourism and bring them together for various events.
â€śIf the Bristol Auto Club is holding an event and wants to bring in music you could support that. You could widen our Summer Concert series with more childrenâ€™s activities to get more families to come down and increase attendance.â€ť
Hahn noted that the city can now apply for more state grants through the commission that they could not get through the city. He said such grants could be used to fund programs like another Arts in the Park at Rockwell Park.
â€śThis is all to bring people to Bristol so they can frequent our businesses,â€ť said Hahn.
Brian Wilson, superintendent of the Parks & Recreation Department, noted that the city funds one-fifth of the summer concert series. The rest is funded through sponsorships.
â€śWeâ€™re thinking of having our first event June 21 be a celebration and acknowledgement of the formation of this commission and the communityâ€™s initiative to do more with arts and culture,â€ť said Wilson.
Vigue said the commission needs to â€śtap into the true culture of Bristol.â€ť
â€śWe have a city of 60,000 people and we need to make sure everyone is represented,â€ť said Vigue. â€śThere are many beautiful facets to our culture.â€ť
â€śWe have a veterans culture and a sports minded culture,â€ť said commission member and former mayor Bill Stortz. â€śWill we work with that? We have to look at the big picture.â€ť
Villanti said the commission needs to make people aware that it exists so that people will approach them.
â€śThere are a lot of artists and performers who want to be involved without being on the commission,â€ť said Hahn. â€śWe need to figure out how to mobilize them and how to contact them. You could also form subcommittees to figure this out.â€ť
Villanti said that would likely be discussed further at the commissionâ€™s next meeting. Hahn said he would provide them with information from the former arts task force.
â€śYour first three steps should be to explore what grants are available, to set into motion a way to apply for grants from the commission, and to prioritize the departments that people need to speak to,â€ť said Hahn.
The Arts & Culture Commission includes Democratic members Jesse Gallagher, Lindsay Vigue, Samantha Cloutier, Juliet Norton and Alexandra Thomas who was not present. Republican members include Kim Villanti and Bill Stortz.
Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu noted that Thomas is pursuing an art history degree at Bowdoin College in Maine and that she will be at future meetings upon her graduation.
The Arts & Culture Commission will meet the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.