Roundtable: Advancing Art Through Community

Around 90 individuals attended the 2nd Annual Arts Roundtable Forum and Panel, where attendees discussed how to advance the arts scene through different areas of the community.

How can art be incorporated into various sectors of the community to help advance the city and its local art scene?

That’s the question around 90 individuals explored during the 2nd Annual Arts Roundtable Forum and Panel at the on Wednesday.

The forum, hosted by the City of Gilroy Arts and Culture Commission, gives community members the chance to communicate what they’d like to see from the arts, and collaborate over ways to advance the arts within the community.

Wednesday’s roundtable was a follow-up to the first one, where over 100 guests formulated responses to a list of questions about local art, and how they envision it evolving through different sectors of the community.

“This year we took all that information and then we said ‘OK, now we’re seeing what people want, and we’re seeing what people are asking for, what’s working well, what’s not working well,”  said Kevin Heath, owner of and president of the Gilroy Arts Alliance.

“Lets give it now to the powers that be—like the [Gilroy] Foundation, the local press, business owners, local government, the religious sector, an artist, schools, and the chamber. Where are they as far as the arts go? What can they contribute, and how can they grow their area so the arts continue to thrive here?”

In answering these questions, 10 representatives from key areas of the community served as a panel at the event, and offered their two cents.

Panel representatives included Former City Administrator Jay Baska, Council Member Dion Bracco, Gilroy Dispatch Editor Mark Derry, Superintendent Deborah Flores, Donna Pray of the Gilroy Foundation, Mark Turner of , Susan Valenta of the , Gary Walton of Lizarran Tapas Restaurant, and Stephanie Woehrmann from the Center of the Arts.

Panel members discussed techniques to incorporate art into schools, businesses, downtown and religion. They spoke of ways to encourage donations, to use art as a means to attract tourists and generate spending.

They also touched on methods to increase community engagement, among many other things.

“As a community, we need to make art accessible for everyone and that’s not only to come and see it on the walls, but to participate in it,”  Woehrmann  said.

Mattock Scariot, who attended the event and also serves as a member of the Arts and Culture Commission, said she thought the panelists offered great ideas that needed to be heard.

“The forum was great because it reinforced a lot of things that needed to be reinforced, [like] art groups should work with the downtown business association, and combining art into the wine stroll,” she said.



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