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June 6, 2014

CommUnity Fest - A True Community Experience for San Bernardino

Written by  Kimberly Johnson
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Children at CommUnity Festival Children at CommUnity Festival Photo by Kimberly Johnson

A pint-sized brother and sister duo stopped right in front of me, ice cream melting and sliding down their tiny faces and hands. I laughed as I watched baby sister being attacked by a combination of wind and the blue balloon flailing from her older brother’s wrist. Unphased by it, she kept eating and smiling, enjoying the moment for what it was; unbothered by external interruptions, simply enjoying the luxury of melting ice cream flowing through her petite grasp. 

Times like these remind me to never stop looking for the picturesque moments in life; never stop enjoying bliss and joy even in small increments. A moment of solitude with ice cream dribbling down your hands can equate to one day of positivity shared with your community. Yes, there are external burdens in our home, but no, they should never distract us from enjoying the treats and amenities we do carry. 

The ice cream dribbling down our cheeks and elbows comes in the form of a few things: community leaders actually engaged with effecting change in innovative ways, selfless volunteers who set aside their time to do the same, artists who will go down in history as our very own Picassos and Monets, and the luxury of understanding one another due to shared experiences good and bad— these things create community.

So for the several hundred locals who came out to May 31’s CommUnity Fest, thank you for sharing in that small moment of indulgence. Thanks for basking in the musical stylings of Maria Sweet, Nat the Lioness or the CHORDS Enrichment Youth Program, thanks for engaging with artists like Arose and Joe Ded as they erect murals for our children to grow up to recognize and admire, thank you for being a supporter against accepting only reputation, and instead, an ally in looking forward to change.

I tussled back and forth with how to condense the CommUnity Fest experience, likely because an event of the sorts shouldn’t be condensed or confined. There was music, food, dancing, face-painting, art, yoga, the sun, the sky, grass between my toes, friends who act as extended family—it covers all the criteria, yet goes much deeper than the commonalities of a family-friendly fest. This was a day of celebration; the starting point of historic renewal. As I’ve written before, “Call me exaggerative, call me a wishful thinker, paint me in the image of a wide-eyed youth with hopes of grandeur things—but whatever you do, don’t deny the social change taking place in the artistic community of San Bernardino.”

The floodgates have opened and attention is being paid in full. From here we simply keep our eyes peeled for the next installment of community building festivities brought to you by those who are here to build upon and highlight the luxuries we sometimes overlook. Till next time.

For more photos, videos and commentary from CommUnity Fest participants and attendees, head to Community Fest’s Offical Facebook page.

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Special thanks to our conference host, Copper Mountain College!




Drs. Ernest & Dorothy Garcia


Arts Sustainers

Randy Polumbo

KOA Corporation Planning & Engineering

San Bernardino Art Association

The Ranch Projects Publishing

Joshua Tree Music Festival


Arts Advocates

Paulson Orthodontics

Mojave Desert Land Trust

Cultural Planning Group

Gruen Associates

The Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art

The Ontario Museum of History and Art

The Community Foundation

The Noah Purifoy Foundation

Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology

Pappy & Harriets

Bobby Furst 

The Joshua Tree Inn


Arts Friends

Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (JTHAR)

Chaffey College, School of Visual & Performing Arts

High Desert Test Sites

Elwood & Associates

Inlandia Institute


Special thanks to Copper Mountain College for our hosting the conference this year!









The Garcia Center for the Arts
536 W. 11th Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410

Tel: 909.381.1900

mailing address:

5500 University Parkway
Visual Arts Building, Rm. 308
San Bernardino, CA 92407

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