Arts Budget, Programming Discussed at Retreat

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The Newport Beach City Arts Commission met Monday for their annual retreat to discuss their role in the city, arts programming, budget, and more.
— Photo by Sara Hall

During an annual retreat this week, art enthusiasts discussed a number of topics, including programming, budget, performing arts on the Balboa Peninsula, and several new sub-committees, including one to look into possibly bringing back the bus museum tour.

Newport Beach City Arts Commission met Monday in the community room at the Civic Center.

The special meeting also focused on the commission’s role in the city, its relationship with the Newport Beach Arts Foundation, and an overview of arts and cultural programs in the city.

In his presentation, Library Services Director Tim Hetherton referenced the city’s interactive, open online budget tool. Added all up, the Cultural and Arts program budget for fiscal year 2018-19 is $245,464.

“It’s a good, healthy budget,” Hetherton said.

Revenue for the arts is a “four-legged table,” he added. Funds used for the arts include from the general fund, a portion of the Visit Newport Beach Transient Occupancy Tax funds, gifts from the NB Arts Foundation, and $175,000 from the now-dissolved Balboa Performing Arts Theater Foundation (only allowed to be used for performing arts on the Balboa Peninsula). Council approval is required to access both funds.

The first performing arts event on the Peninsula is coming next month.

“Southland Sings: Musical Theater” will debut on Sept. 23, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Peninsula Park athletic field, near A Street and E. Oceanfront. Southland Sings will present a repertoire of upbeat contemporary and classic Broadway songs. Attendance is free and parking is available.

It is included as part of the Concerts on the Green summer series.

Programming budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year is $60,500, with $14,500 of that going toward the Balboa Peninsula performance, Hetherton explained.

From the “Professional and Contract Services” section is $90,000 for the sculpture exhibition, Library Services Manager Natalie Basmaciyan clarified after the Monday meeting. This includes the public survey, installation and de-installation, consultant fees, any honorariums for the artists, and more, she noted.

The $40,000 that the Commission divides up for cultural arts grants comes out of the grant operating expenses section.

Newport Beach Arts Foundation President Virginia Hayter asked if the Foundation would be able to contribute small amounts for some of the rejected cultural arts grant applicants.

Last year, while divvying up the funds, some of the smaller requests, like Baroque Music Festival in Corona del Mar, Festival Ballet Theatre, and Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society, were denied.

Hetherton also noted the various programs the Commission handles, including the sculpture exhibition, distributing cultural arts grants, exhibitions in the central library, and the popular Concerts on the Green.

A Concert on the Green event in 2016 at the Newport Beach Civic Center.
— Photo by Christopher Trela ©

These are the things the public sees, he noted, this is how residents know what the Arts Commission does.

The concerts, he added, bring a “ton of people” to the civic center.

Commission Chair Arlene Greer also discussed forming several new Ad Hoc Committees, including community engagement, performing arts on the Balboa Peninsula, sculpture garden, art in public places, publicity, and more.

She also suggested looking into bringing back the museum bus tour, if funding allows, possibly with support from the NB Arts Foundation.

She handed out a survey to each commissioner so they can indicate which group they have an interest in joining. Formal formation of each committee will take place at the next Arts Commission meeting on Aug. 9.

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