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Alachua County Art Groups Meet To Develop Citizens Advisory Board Resolution

The Arts Council of Alachua County was born Thursday night.

Gainesville’s leading arts agencies gathered to draft the framework and guidelines for the new council.  Their resolution seeks to provides a unified approach for artists and agencies within the local arts communities.

“This meeting is a great step forward for the county and for local arts organizations, and producers of various cultural and artistic endeavors throughout the county,” said Joseph Floyd, executive director for Active Streets Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to public space access.

He said the Active Streets Alliance hopes to expand community efforts, such as their third annual Menagerie in Motion Kinetic Derby and second annual Chimera Fest.

“Organizations like this committee will actually bolster these efforts by creating more cohesion between various local arts agencies,” Floyd said.

The proposed council, as part of the county’s Art in Public Places and Local Arts Agency, will also serve as a resource for local artists and agencies in all nine Alachua County municipalities.  

“We have a lot of wonderful organizations in the city of Gainesville that a lot of the municipalities don’t know about,” said Carol Velasques-Richardson, former Cultural Affairs Board member.  “So, I’m hoping that this could be a resource center to also bring people outside of the city of Gainesville to take advantage of what we offer, and also help them develop their own programs.” 

In October, the county commissioners designate Alachua County, rather than city of Gainesville’s Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs department, as the county’s local arts agency, said Gina Peebles, assistant county manager.

“By designating us as that (the local arts agency), we are now eligible to apply for grants through the state of Florida and also the federal government to do a number of art-related programs and projects here in Alachua County,” said Peebles. “It also means whenever folks buy their (specialized) license plate tag, we also get the proceeds for that to reinvest into art.”

Peebles invited community input at Thursday night’s meeting to help craft the resolution that will be sent to commissioners. Attendees addressed questions such as the number of council members needed, their qualifications and the council’s responsibilities.

Arts group members agreed to a seven-members council: one business-community member, one working artist, one affiliated with a nonprofit art-related agency, one arts educator in the field, and three additional members who have a vested interest in the arts.

The commission will have a public hearing to adopt the ordinance creating the council on Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. in the John R. “Jack” Durrance Auditorium at the county administration building.

“I’m thrilled with the outcome,” said Peebles. “Everybody is in agreement, and I think this is something the local arts community can stand behind and support.”

About Amy Guzman

Amy is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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