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November 1, 2013

San Bernardino Arts Representatives are Fighting the Good Fight

Written by  Kimberly Johnson
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City of San Bernardino Arts Groups Connect City of San Bernardino Arts Groups Connect Photo by Kimberly Johnson

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.

Through my watchful eye and close examination of social trends, through my equally labored, Ed Tessier inspired research on community renewal, I feel it’s finally safe to say we are on a current communal shift that will further patronize, or iconize the arts culture of San Bernardino.

Like Sant Khalsa, visual artist and Treasurer of Arts Connection, mentioned at the City of San Bernardino Arts Groups Connect meeting on Oct. 10, downtown Pomona in the early ‘90s was a mirror image of San Bernardino’s current status. Stricken by the unfortunate burden of an economic downfall, the city was condensed to being seen as seemingly absent of art, vibrancy or bravado – sound familiar?

However, all it took was one venue, The Haven, and passionate kindred spirits were summoned, the community was granted a melting pot for artistic political activism, and the spark that brought attention to the active underground community of Pomona was ignited, later birthing the Pomona Arts Colony.

As the idea of lush art bars and vibrantly colored galleries lining San Bernardino streets resonates in your mind, let us look at the true availability of this supposed pipe dream and examine the pieces of this renovation we currently have, and identify the ones we are missing. That is what the many representatives of the San Bernardino County arts community did at their recent Group Connect.

Ernie Garcia, with seasoned work as the President of the San Bernardino Valley Concert Association (which sponsored the evening) and the National Orange Show Art Gallery, sat amongst representative of the new era of art enthusiasts, Brandon Aguilera, Coordinator of art collective Zealous Lyfe and guiding force behind San Bernardino Generation Now, a political collective working to bridge the gap between age and voter participation.

The impressive pool of individuals, led by Arts Connection’s Andy Woods, specializing in differing sectors of the arts community examined ideas to rejuvenate San Bernardino such as monthly art tours highlighting historic San Bernardino cites, a city mural project, art in the park, the implementation of artist lofts for housing and work space, and the notion of a television broadcasting endeavor to chronicle the existing art community with the intention of attracting an even larger one.

My view from the back of the room, notepad in hand, listening to muralist Phil Yeh speak on his current mural of San Bernardino County at the historic McDonald’s inception site, following my conversation with Maria Saenz, President of Sinfonia Mexicana, which has a music academy giving youth the opportunity to learn and play instruments as well as adding the extra value of creativity to their development of self-awareness, dually inspired me to believe that the conversation starts here and now.

The demand is present—knowledgeable individuals with the resources to instill real change are waiting for the arts community to make its presence known. Splash paint on canvas in a way that demands attention, write prose to rival Hunter S. Thompson on his best day—San Bernardino is not an eye sore, nor is it a burden—it is a community, an opportunity, and an investment towards an enlightened future for this community and neighboring communities alike.

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ARTS CONNECTION CONFERENCE PARTNERS

       artworks arts.gov      

 

   

Special thanks to our conference host, Copper Mountain College!

 

ARTS PATRONS    

  

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARTS CONNECTION

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

Tel: 909.381.1900
info@artsconnectionnetwork.org

mailing address:

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

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