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Arts Commissioners, City Council members give nod to master plan for public art

Posted: May 9, 2014 9:40 p.m.
Updated: May 9, 2014 9:40 p.m.
Cars travel around the roundabout at the end of Main Street in Newhall on Friday. Cars travel around the roundabout at the end of Main Street in Newhall on Friday.
Cars travel around the roundabout at the end of Main Street in Newhall on Friday.

Following discussion on the role and form of art locally, Santa Clarita City Council members and Arts Commissioners gave the nod this week to moving forward with a master plan to take an overarching look at art in the community.

The consensus to move forward with developing the master plan came during a joint study session Tuesday where Arts Commissioners and City Council members discussed both the historic development of art in the city and what the future holds for art development citywide.

“I think it will be a great guide for the Arts Commission and the council and the community,” Arts Commission Chairwoman Susan Shapiro said of a master plan. “I just think it’s the right time.”

The notion of a master plan for the arts in Santa Clarita re-entered the public eye last year following debate over several public art installations, namely the proposed finalists for a public art piece to accompany the since-completed Newhall roundabout.

Following discussion and public comment on the matter, City Council members decided in November that the roundabout would feature landscaping when it opened, leaving open the possibility of adding art later.

Shapiro said Thursday that she thinks a master plan would provide a good general outline on the role of art in Santa Clarita, not just in terms of public art installations, but in what kind of amenities are needed and how the arts can be used as an economic engine.

“I think it’s important because it will create a vision and some overarching strategies for the arts that are tied to the community’s needs and priorities,” Shapiro said.

Ingrid Hardy, community services superintendent for the city of Santa Clarita, said the city’s growth is part of the reason why a master plan is now needed.

“As our community continues to grow and evolve, we feel it’s important to take a strategic look at what the expectations from the community are and explore ways to meet those expectations,” she said Thursday.

The topics the master plan will cover are not yet finalized, but some that have been discussed include public art, arts funding and how to use arts as an economic tool.

“I think everybody’s very excited about the potential that can come out of a master plan,” said Mayor Laurene Weste.

City officials also said the process will include a public outreach component.

“I think the community will set the tone with lots of great concepts, and there will be lots of great opportunities to do so,” Weste said.

Shapiro said the master plan, when developed, will help position Santa Clarita’s artistic future.

“In 10 years, in 20 years, how do we make certain that Santa Clarita is vital culturally and artistically?” she asked. “I think this will help us answer that.”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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