We work in collaboration with our city, state, and county partners to explore creative pathways for integrating the arts into the framework of the countywide vision. We aim to foster more vibrant, equitable cities and communities through the following strategies and programs:
Building the creative capacity and network of every artist and arts leader, emerging and established, and every arts organization and cultural institution, across the county in order to advance the cultural, social and economic life of our communities.
Connecting artists and arts organizations to financial resources, local networks, and professional consultants and opportunities that enhance their creative endeavors, events and projects.
Serving as a central advocate, voice, and resource for how to utilize creative strategies and approaches to solve some of the most pressing county wide priorities.
Sharing knowledge and resources via our website, annual summit, regional arts dialogues, professional development workshops, and policy committees.
Fostering cross sector partnerships that engage the arts as a vehicle for community building, economic empowerment, and narrative change.
Development centers people and community . All voices, histories, and stories are given space to share and be heard. At the heart of planning are efforts to hear what has been forgotten and what the residents of a community need most.
Capacity building is a central focus of our work. Whether at public workshops or one on one through individual emails or consultations, we uplift our community and aim to offer programs that reflect expressed needs and priorities.
By constantly seeking to improve our communication methods we aim to connect more deeply with our community and share authentic stories with our county and civic leaders about the impact of the arts in our daily lives. We welcome public feedback at all of our events and are always looking for ways to improve our programming and communication methods.
Arts Connection- the Arts Council of San Bernardino County – has been an essential advocate and organizer for arts and culture professionals in the region, and more specifically the City of San Bernardino where their office is based, since 2013.
In 2010, a group of over 70 cultural and civic leaders from throughout the County of San Bernardino, led by The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, convened regularly to address the needs of artists and art organizations and the means to support the arts and culture in our retion. Together, we developed a two-year research and implementation plan for creating a new nonprofit arts council, to be built on the best practices among top arts organizations from throughout the State of California, while supporting the development of the diverse creative communities and rich cultural history across this expansive geography.
Arts Connection draws together the existing resources and embedded community leaders in order to build regional networks that can address each of these area-specific needs. From its inception Arts Connection has hosted an annual conference which has consistently brought together 100-200 artists, cultural producers, and business, community and civic leaders to discuss creative solutions to the problems most pertinent to our County’s individual communities. This annual conference spurs conversations about creative approaches to problems facing the accessibility of health and human services, including education, literacy, nutrition and transportation, economic development, including ways to envision revitalizing vacant storefronts and land, and uplifting the diverse tapestry of voices that reside in the 29 cities and towns across San Bernardino County.
Arts Connection directs an ever-evolving ESRI-assisted Cultural Asset Map project, which community members continue to populate with cultural sites, present and historic, venues, galleries, community centers, and businesses that contribute to the life and character of the county. The organization has gone on to use this map and the connections made through its development to act as a consulting agency for larger planning projects initiated by the County. From 2016-2018. Arts Connection staff ssisted in developing the Morongo Basin Strategic Plan for Culture and Arts and the Morongo Basin Active Transportation Plan, both which have received regional awards for excellence. Artists and community leaders were involved in every stage of the planning process for these projects and included public engagement portions for each, which Arts Connection staff was instrumental in helping to produce. Read More
Through strategic partnerships with artists, artist collectives and other organizations, Arts Connection has been able to work in traditional gallery settings, as well as across the public sector. From 2017-2019, grant-supported projects with artist group Fallen Fruit supported the planting of 5 public fruit tree parks, with sites in Victorville, Lake Arrowhead, and San Bernardino. This included public fruit tree adoptions and education workshops at two sites; over the life of the project, more than 300 people participated in these events and countless more will benefit from the 5 dozen trees planted in publicly accessible locations across the county. Read More
Working as a state and local partner with the California Arts Council, Arts Connection supports increased grant submissions for the more than 15 grant programs offered annually by this state agency. Arts Connection offers grant writing workshops and individual assistance for artists and organizations who intend on submitting applications and continues to see greater involvement and funding resources sent to the area as a result.
Professional development for individual artists as well as organizations has always been a cornerstone of the organization’s programming. Each year, Arts Connection offers – either through the support of its own staff or through hiring outside consultants – free professional development classes, covering topics including grant writing, cultural planning, and marketing and business planning. In addition to these professional practice workshops, Arts Connection hosts community mixers, intended to bring together arts professionals, venue owners, producers and community members to share projects and exhibitions and to promote conversations about potential future collaborations. Read More
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