Raising Capital for the Arts in Vallejo

I’ve been meditating this week on my motivation for writing editorials about the state of the Arts in Vallejo. It would be reasonable for any reader to ask themselves what I might be gaining from writing about the [tag]Vallejo Commission on Culture and the Arts Awards[/tag],
or what I think the Downtown Improvement District and the Main Street Association and the Central Core Restoration Committee should do to really make a difference. I’ve meditated on these things before, from the the angle of what I have to offer and what we all have to offer.

From every angle, when I sit in the editor’s chair and write my letter to our extended Arts community, the focus is always the same: Arts and Culture in the communities we live in should thrive and not just barely survive. Arts and Culture is a many faceted, many colored, subtly flavored spectrum that could never be captured by any one person or group of people. Diversity and contradictions are the food of flowers yet to blossom and the true power base of a local arts economy. We’ve arrived at the moment of truth in this particular letter from the editor, the motivating factor behind this particular article.

When I speak to people face to face about the current state of affairs, and get down to the nitty gritty conversation of who is doing what today, not who is talking about doing what, the most common excuse I hear for a lack of action is a lack of funds. What I don’t here is talk about building on the various kinds of capital that we do have. Vallejo is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, just like New York City, we have a wide array of cultures co-existing mostly peacefully in this city. There has been a lot of talk about the holy grail of an arts revival in downtown Vallejo spearheading a main street economic revival. The opening of the doors of the renovated Empress Theatre is supposed to launch a whole new era according to Triad Communities and the City of Vallejo.

Well excuse me for not waiting. While all this talk is going on, Listen & Be Heard Arts, Culture and Entertainment Magazine is the only Arts organization in Vallejo that I know about which has a relationship with arts organizations from Oakland to Vacaville and has reached out beyond those borders to bring people to us. If we rely on only the people in Vallejo to contribute to this economic revival, then we are doomed. Only when people from all over the Bay Area make Vallejo a destination will there be any real influx of income to this community.

Mike Browne, the Executive Director, while being questioned by Tony Mims, co-publisher of Listen & Be Heard Arts, Culture & Entertainment Magazine, at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum on Tuesday morning, at a community meeting about tourism hosted by the museum stated that their general plan has not been updated for decades. They also have no liason assigned to bureaus in San Francisco and other cities because of a lack of funds. As a business owner investing not only in my future but the future of this city, I find that fact to be disconcerting. The Bureau may not have funds, but I would like to see them reach out to non-members in this city in an effort to truly represent the diversity that is our biggest asset.

Folks, it’s sad but true, so far, money can’t buy brains. If we were all suddenly handed millions of dollars, it could be mis-spent very quickly and we’d all be riding in the same boat we’re in now. Our biggest asset will always be our brains, our ability to act, make connections, operate imaginatively with what we have and can create for ourselves.

That’s all I have to say this week. If you’ve gotten this far, please write a Letter to the Editor, we call it a Speakout! here at Listen & Be Heard, and share with us all what you have to say about what I have to say.

Wishing you Peace and Poetry
Martha Cinader Mims

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