San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria began serving as interim Mayor this summer and the arts community is benefitting from his longstanding policy of making arts and culture a top priority. This Thursday evening, Mayor Gloria shared good news and encouragement for the arts community at a networking event held at the new Hess Microbrewery in North Park.
The headline news for arts supporters in San Diego at the October 17 talk was Mayor Gloria’s success in building support for San Diego at the top tier museums in the Smithsonian Museum Network. Earlier this month, Mayor Gloria traveled with representatives of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership to Washington D.C. to inspire museum leaders with innovative plans for the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial. The celebration will feature seasonal themes to broaden its appeal. The prospect of iconic art and historic displays from the Smithsonian Museums visiting San Diego as part of this program has equally broad appeal. Smithsonian leaders have already visited San Diego to evaluate the potential and the recent October mission from San Diego to Washington D.C. was the second by local leaders on behalf of the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial
Mayor Todd Gloria explained that it his goal to promote the success of the Balboa Park Centennial by making sure the key elements for success are in place so that the individual institutions in Balboa Park can achieve their goals. The focus is on encouraging more sponsorship and media coverage and strengthening the relations with other cultural institutions that can help exhibitions attract attendance. Mayor Gloria is committed to balancing these goals with the objective of keeping the events “right-sized” so that they are easily accessible to the San Diego area public and maintain the local character of San Diego.
There is much more good news for the arts and culture in San Diego. Mayor Gloria presented the milestone achievement of the completion of the new San Diego Central Library September 28 to the entire gathering of enthusiastic citizens. His shared a distincitively San Diegan aspect of the landmark – 38% of the project costs came from community fundraising. Over three thousand San Diegans made personal contributions to make the Central Library bigger and better. Gloria explained the landmark on Park Boulevard was designed to last at least two hundred years.
The good choice of this entrepreneurial showcase for graphic arts and creativity highlighted an important benefit of long-term support for the arts. Distinctive design as seen at Hess Microbrewery has become part of the San Diego brand. For a city that counts tourism as its second largest industry, that is an important accomplishment. An accessible Mayor who spends many hours each month meeting with San Diego residents and supporters to listen seriously to their interests is strengthening this brand and building optimism for a bright future for the arts.