New Arts Council hits ground running

SAN MARCOS — Until last month, San Marcos was the only city in North County without an organization for the promotion of the arts. All that changed with the incorporation of the nonprofit San Marcos Arts Council on Jan. 2.
The Arts Council will promote and develop the visual and performing arts by sponsoring music events, fine art shows and juried festivals. It will also promote public art installations throughout the city, encourage the development of new artistic venues and collaborate with artistic entities in neighbor cities.
“San Marcos has prided itself as a place where people not only come to be educated, but where educated people come to live and work,” council patron John Lauer said. “That doesn’t seem possible without a vibrant cultural life.”
“I think the arts can be an economic engine generating interest in the community,” he added.
The new council is unique in that it is not run by the city it resides in — unlike most of its neighbor counterparts. However, the city has endorsed the Arts Council every chance it has had, council trustee Jan Jackson said.
“The city is very much a proponent of it,” she said. “Mayor Desmond is very supportive of the arts in San Marcos. At our first meeting … he gave words of gratitude and support.”
The council’s board of directors represents the many artistic resources the city has to draw from, with trustees from the Chamber of Commerce, Cal State San Marcos, Palomar College and the school district.
“It’s a nice marriage to have business and the arts working together in the community,” Jackson, who is also the San Marcos Chamber chairman-elect, said. “I think by working hand in glove with the business community, we… bring different perspectives into the arts.”
Council trustee Tanis Brown is president of the San Marcos Historical Society. She said the two organizations are a natural fit, both trying to promote cultural and community activities to improve San Marcos.
“We’ll be working in tandem with other organizations in ways that might strike a chord with the population,” Brown said. She said she likes the idea of holding concerts at the society’s Heritage Park, attracting those who like music and history.
Before the council can get off the ground, however, it needs funds both for upfront expenditures for upcoming events as well as to pay for a consultant to help develop the council’s strategic plan.
“We need some help, startup funds,” Lauer said. “We’re begging and borrowing. We haven’t had to steal anything, but we’re getting close to that point.”
On Jan. 27, Lauer asked City Council for 2 percent of the $300,000 city fund reserved for developing the arts. When the city attorney advised the council members that they could take no action at that time, Lauer promised to come back Feb. 10 with a formal agenda item.
The Arts Council’s first official event will be the Valentine’s Day Soirée for Music Lovers, the evening of Feb. 14. It is the follow-up to the highly successful pilot concert held last April. Dinner is $60 per couple, the concert alone is $10. Dinner tickets are available through the Chamber of Commerce. Concert tickets will be sold at the venue, City Hall.
The Arts Council also invites the public to it’s monthly meetings, the first Monday of every month at 1 p.m. at 1282 Pacific Oaks Place.