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The Arts Matter
Every great city has a thriving arts and cultural life. Museums, performances, galleries, special events, artist loft districts, and strong cultural institutions are in many ways what separate ordinary cities from world class urban centers. Long Beach has the makings of a world class arts and cultural center, but has struggled to reach its full
potential. I want to help change that.
Last Tuesday, the Long Beach City Council gave initial approval to a package of five arts initiatives, four of which I have authored, and another that I cosponsored. I introduced these initiatives to support and enhance the arts and culture in Long Beach, and Iím excited to have the support of so many artists and arts advocates for these important actions. We are looking not only for ways to better fund the arts, but also simply to get the City out of the way of the natural evolution of arts and culture by amending obsolete ordinances which have served to stifle, rather than encourage, arts and culture.
By supporting all five motions, the City Council:
- Created a Blue Ribbon Commission that will examine ways to increase funding for arts and improve the distribution of those funds in the community
- Removed an obsolete section of the municipal code that bans all street performances apart from special events
- Approved creation of a permitting process for nontraditional entertainment venues like bookstores, cafes and art galleries to offer some entertainment as a way of activating their shops and neighborhood commercial districts
- Voted to explore exempting struggling artists from paying a business tax on a live work space
- Adopted the Cultural Master Plan, a document of arts-related goals and objectives for the City, which was drafted last year by arts advocates
These actions won't cost the city money, yet promise to stimulate not just the arts and culture, but the economy. There are few things that bring business, tourism, and creative residents to a city like an exciting local arts scene, and with this package of initiatives, I believe we are taking a big step in that direction.
This will be an exciting time for the arts, and for everyone who loves Long Beach.
Go Arts, Go Long Beach!
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