Arts Commission Invests in the Future of Art

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Concerts on the Green in 2016. — NB Indy file photo ©
Concerts on the Green in 2016.
— NB Indy file photo ©

With a newfound need to drive private fundraising for the city’s cultural arts in Newport Beach, the city Arts Commission is investing in music and manpower.

The commissioners approved an increase of $60,000 in their programming budget for a concert by the Pacific Symphony next month.

An increase of $100,000 in the professional and technical services budget was passed for a new contract fundraising employee, who will work for the Newport Beach Arts Foundation.

The Pacific Symphony, which performed last year and is back by popular demand, will perform at the Civic Center on July 16. It has been identified by the Newport Beach Arts Foundation and the Finance Ad Hoc Subcommittee as “a flagship event that can be used to encourage private fundraising and designated gifts,” according to the staff report from the commission’s June 8 meeting.

From the first phase of the sculpture garden exhibition, Ray Katz's “Odyssey” looms over the Newport Beach Civic Center. On Wednesday, the Arts Commission discussed funding ideas for the third phase of the project. — Photo by Sara Hall ©
From the first phase of the sculpture garden exhibition, Ray Katz’s “Odyssey” looms over the Newport Beach Civic Center.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

The funds, according to the staff report, will come from Visit Newport Beach, a portion of which comes from Transient Occupancy Taxes paid to the city.

The new contract employee will primarily serve as a fundraiser for the Newport Beach Arts Foundation. Duties will include developing a donor base and gradually cultivate private support for the arts programming in the city.

In recent months, city council has made it clear to the arts commission that the Newport Beach Arts Foundation should begin drumming up funds for the series of concerts and exhibitions that the city is known for. City council went so far as to ask that the arts commission find a home for a Ronald Reagan statue (currently residing at Bonita Canyon Sports Park) in exchange for approved funding, among other asks.

The statue of Ronald Reagan, which has resided in Bonita Canyon Sports Park since 2011, will be moved to Civic Center Park as part of a special condition on a City Council item regarding the Arts Commission on Tuesday night.  — NB Indy file Photo ©
The statue of Ronald Reagan, which has resided in Bonita Canyon Sports Park since 2011.
— NB Indy file photo ©

Along with the new hire, the commission approved a new organizational structure for the foundation. The commission’s approved plan includes a new Board of Trustees for the charitable group, as well as an “Arts in Action” team within the foundation.

The Board of Trustees will be in charge of raising money for the city’s cultural art programs, but they’ll also be expected to host an annual event, such as a gala or golf tournament, and work closely with the arts commission on future programs.

The Arts in Action group will conduct the foundation’s activities. Current foundation members will continue in this group, or they have the option to join the Board of Trustees, if they choose.

Carmen Smith, current president of the foundation, declined to comment on the new organization approved by the commission, as she was not present when it was discussed last Thursday.

She said that she invited arts commission chair Lynn Selich and Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs, who serves as a liaison between city staff and the commission, to present the reorganization plan to foundation members at their meeting on June 20.

In what was a packed meeting last Thursday, the arts commission also approved ten more additions to the McFadden Square timeline. The McFadden landmark, positioned near Newport Pier on the Balboa Peninsula, has not been updated since the city’s Centennial in 2006.

The following updates, suggested by the Newport Beach Historical Society after light public participation in a survey that was circulated last year, were approved. The updates will next be submitted to city council for approval.


2007: Newport Coast Community Center Opens; Fire Station # 7 opens in Santa Ana Heights 2008: Marine 1/1 Memorial Sculpture.

2010: Oasis Senior Center facility dedicated.

2012: Coastline Community College campus & Art Gallery established on Monrovia Street. 2013: City Hall moved to Newport Center as part of 20-acre Civic Center project.

2014: Sunset Ridge Park opens as West Newport’s first sports park. 2014: Inaugural Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park.

2014: Rex Brandt and Joan Irving Brandt’s home and studio “Blue Sky” is designated as a historic point of interest.

2015: Marina Park opens with community room, sailing facility and visitor’s marina.

2016: Local sailors Bill Ficker and Dave Ullman inducted into Sailing Hall of Fame.

2017: 50th anniversary celebration of the Newport Beach Historical Society.



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