Photo Credit: Sean Laughlin

Arts Council Partners With Mayor’s Office, Highlights Innovation and Economic Development in State of the Arts Event

More than 250 people attended the Arts Council for Long Beach’s annual State of the Arts event on October 9 at the Museum of Latin American Art, which for the first time in its 39-year history was held in partnership with the Mayor’s Office.

The heart of the occasion was to recognize the extraordinary work and commitment of five individuals or organizations making our city a great place through the arts, and Mayor Garcia himself announced the Arts Council’s chosen winners.

This year’s James H. Ackerman Arts Philanthropist award went to Dr. Ronald and Sylvia Hartman for their major gifts to several art institutions; Danny Flores was named Arts Educator for his work to keep youth out of gangs; and Victor Ladd was awarded Arts Volunteer for his leadership at the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach and its Shoreline Village gallery. Two new awards were created this year: the Arts Innovator award, which went to MADE in Long Beach for its creative business model to support local artisans and create community; and the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association took home the Economic Development Arts Trailblazer award for the sustainable economic impact its monthly First Fridays event has on the business district.

The Arts Innovator award and Mayor’s Office partnership caught the attention of the Long Beach Innovation Team and Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, both of which featured the event in their innovation week promotions.

“It’s undeniable that art is an essential component to any great city,” Mayor Garcia said. “Public institutions have a responsibility to fund the arts.” Garcia has supported the arts through increased city funding, appointing arts leaders to several City commissions, pushing for the inclusion of an Art Walk in the new Civic Center development and highlighting the arts in a diversity of speeches, from economic development to education.

The Arts Council made several other announcements as well, including a new $5,000 Risk and Innovation grant to encourage risk-taking and innovation in the arts, the Mobile ArtSpace project and capital campaign and nine new board members: Daniel Alvarado, Loara Cadavona, Tasha Hunter, Cyrus Parker-Jeanette, Jessica Quintana, Darick Simpson, Gordon Snead, Griselda Suarez and Sayon Syprasoeuth.

The event featured live music by the Long Beach-based non-profit Jazz Angels, and two local artists, Emily Kiwa Tanaka and Ramon Rodriguez, created the recognition awards. The stage backdrop was created by 16 local artists for a recent Groundwork Fitness event to benefit the homeless non-profit Back On My Feet, and, at 230-feet-long, is expected to be named by Guinness Book of World Records as the largest glow-in-the-dark painting. The Arts Council surprised Groundwork Fitness with a $500 check to kick-start its efforts to pay the artists for their contribution and contribute more to Back On My Feet.

The event was sponsored by Tesoro, Long Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, California Resources Corporation, Plenary-Edgemoor Civic Partners, Yellow Cab Long Beach, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Keesal Young & Logan, Downtown Long Beach Associates, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach Transit, Long Beach Community Foundation, Cambodia Town Inc., Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association, Uptown Property Business Improvement District, East Anaheim Street Business Alliance, TGIS Catering, Museum of Latin American Art, as well as the Long Beach Mayor’s Office and Arts Council for Long Beach.