For Immediate Release
Contact: Jessica Cusick, Cultural Affairs Manager
Shannon Parry, Assistant Director, Office of Sustainability and the Environment
Santa Monica is the first city in California to integrate cultural indicators into a comprehensive approach to sustainability.
Santa Monica, CA – May 10, 2012 Tuesday night the Santa Monica City Council added a ninth goal area to the Sustainable City Plan (SCP), which was first adopted in 1994, to address the arts and culture. Collectively, the eight existing SCP goal areas document a broad vision for a sustainable Santa Monica, as well as associated indicators that track progress towards the goals. Dean Kubani, Director of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment stated that “Santa Monica is proud to continue to be at the leading edge of comprehensive thinking about sustainability.”
The new goal area was added to reflect the results of the community’s Creative Capital visioning process, as well as a growing recognition of the role of arts and culture in sustainable communities nationally. It includes the following goals:
• Retain and nurture Santa Monica’s arts community and resources.
• Increase cultural participation and provide greater access to a diversity of cultural programs for all ages.
• Enhance the long term sustainability of Santa Monica’s creative sector.
The indicators for the arts and culture goal area will be developed over the next few months and presented to Council in September 2012, along with the update of the existing SCP.
Despite the abundance of creative people, businesses and organizations in Santa Monica and widespread understanding of its value, Santa Monica’s artists and cultural organizations are currently only explicitly mentioned once in the SCP, in the Human Dignity goal area. In recent years, arts and cultural activities have been reported in a limited capacity in the Community Education and Civic Participation goal area under the Community Involvement indicator. Staff from the Office of Sustainability and the Environment and the Cultural Affairs Division worked to include the arts and culture in the Sustainable City Plan as a way of consistently tracking the City’s progress in the creative sector. The City is being advised in the process by Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson of the Urban Institute, author of Cultural Vitality in Communities: Interpretation and Indicators, and a leading authority in the field of cultural indicators. “In recent years, integration of the arts and culture into sustainable community planning efforts has become a best practice that reflects the vital role these facilities and programs play in developing and sustaining vibrant local communities,” stated Shannon Parry, Assistant Director, Office of Sustainability and the Environment.
In developing the current cultural plan, Creative Capital, residents espoused a vision for their community that weaves the arts, cultural activities, entertainment and education throughout their lives, work, cityscape and neighborhoods. The Creative Capital process found that the creative sector employs 43% of Santa Monica residents and includes close to 9% of local jobs. The creative sector includes the production of a full spectrum of cultural, artistic and design goods and services. As of January 2011, Santa Monica was home to 1,763 arts-related businesses that employ 10,579 people. “Adding an arts and culture goal area to the Sustainable City Plan will help us document Santa Monica’s ongoing cultural vitality and provide valuable information for policy makers,” said Jessica Cusick, the City’s Cultural Affairs Manager.
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