Category Archives: Newport Beach

Public Art Financing NB Sculpture Garden


Newport Beach Sculpture Garden Financing Controversy

Artist Ray Katz

Artist Ray Katz

Status Quo: Newport Beach Civic Center, a place of government, wisdom and culture. Having City Hall, the Library and the Sculpture Garden all in one place represents a beautiful nucleus that represents the City and our community. Art-focused cities like Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Brea, Orange with Chapman University, Fullerton and Costa Mesa are all vying for an arts-interested audience. In addition, the Orange County Museum of Art is moving from Newport Beach to Costa Mesa.

Core Questions:
Does the City Government want to include culture? Yes or no
If no:
Let’s stop all arts funding that is not already in the general budget. The value of art projects only gets muddled when art is used conditionally as a band aid for political image improvement.
If yes:
a. Does the City want to be known as a city with art, using culture at its bare minimum?
b. Does the City want to be known for a special kind of art? Music Festivals, Theater etc.
c. Does the City want to be know as an art city? Where art & culture is an important part of Newport Beach’s daily lifestyle, interwoven with businesses, recreation and entertainment.

Artist Ivan McLean

Artist Ivan McLean

Direction/Vision:
Without a clear answer to the aforementioned core questions and its resulting cultural direction/vision from the City Council, art will always be hit or miss. The Arts Commission and city staff can help and execute within any budget of $1000 or $5 million, but without clear direction art will stay a blow in the dark.

Core Problem:
Art & Government are two extremes clashing against each other when ignoring the elephant in the room, value. If one looks at art only financially then there is little reason for art. On the other hand, looking at art from an art for art’s sake standpoint, only minimal or no financial responsibility seems justified. How can you bring these two opposites together?

Solution – Understanding & Establishing Value:
1. Stop seeing art as an intangible money pit. Before the City invests in any project, establish each project’s intrinsic values.

2. Create a clearly established cultural vision that includes all City-desired intrinsic values of cultural programs it wants to support. These established values allow and remind new and old financially responsible parties about why the City chooses to invest in the selected kind of arts.
Example: The sculpture garden was initially created to attract more visitors to the park. It did just that, but since there was never a financially justifiably visitor range established, and the intrinsic values where not promoted, the sculpture garden landed in a gray zone. Art projects without identifiable value lead to –

3. Government sees art mostly as numbers to be paid out, which nullifies all human effort and financial investment that it had been given. Many big companies invest in art, because they are aware of all values that supporting the arts provides for their business.

Strengths of The Sculpture Garden:

www.michaellart.com

Artist David Buckingham

Besides people visiting the library, City Hall, or driving by on the park’s three surrounding roads (MacArthur, San Miguel and Avocado), all are exposed to some art of the park.
The sculpture garden rotates half (currently 10) of its art pieces annually, which is the most important value creator. Its annual rotation provides fresh web content, gathers attention from the public and media, while creating an image and art history for the City. Additionally, the new artworks help more artists being exposed, create discourse, and controversy. That is exactly what art is supposed to do, starting dialogues and make us think and feel. In addition, the elements of sun and saltwater are very harsh. A cosmetic restoration would be advisable after the two years of exhibition anyway. This operating system is perfect as is.

Financing The Sculpture Garden?

www.selfawareart.com

Artist Warren Techentin

Since the City Council decided to create a sculpture garden, it is their decision to keep financing it or lay it to rest. If the City does not want to allocate the funds for the next exchange of the statues, it has to make the decision to end this project and explain why, as well as being responsible of how to phase it out. The Arts Commission is run by volunteers in an advisory position. If the city asks for a sculpture garden, the commission will advise and support city staff to execute such a project smoothly. The Arts Commission can not take responsibility to finance such an endeavor, because that is not their job, nor have they signed up to be expert art fundraisers. To push the financial responsibility for the sculpture garden from the City to the Arts Commission is unrealistic, since today, raising private or company funds is usually a high paid job for an art fundraising expert. If the City does not want to pay all, any, or no money for the arts, but still wishes to support our City’s culture, it might want to consider hiring such an expert fundraiser to secure the necessary cultural budget for the City.

“Art is beautiful creation that blossoms through the artist, reflecting the Source from within. The sole purpose of expressing the Arts is enhancing the quality of human existence.”
Michaell Magrutsche

Michaell Magrutsche is an Austrian-Californian multimedia artist, creative consultant, art educator and former Cultural Arts Commissioner of Newport Beach living in Laguna Beach.

NB Art Master-Plan Study 10-08-2015

Dear Citizens of Newport Beach,

The 1st Stage of the Newport Beach Arts & Culture Master Plan ended up as a good general Arts & cultural assessment of the City’s existing Arts & cultural landscape. This study session is about creating a cultural vision for Newport Beach.

Newport Beach and Laguna Beach’s Master-Plan Survey I am very much in the arts and I experienced the sheer impossibility to answer the questions on both surveys honestly and within a reasonable time. The surveys appear out of touch with the emotional essence of art and the way people consume it today. The methodology of questions to find a common denominator in art-taste or art-craving  is  outdated.

Surveys and public forums are dependent on their usability and success-rate of their results. They make it possible to gauge if people want to widen streets, building a subway or a new fire station. Especially, if the economics are in place and acceptable, decisions can be made very logically in conjunction with a person’s need and/or necessity.

Art is a whole other world with its own rules. This fact is why politicians and city personal tread lightly when it comes to this subject. Art does a lot, but it does not shorten your way to work, nor does it help putting out fires or rescue people. Art functions purely on emotions. It is an emotional language, which means art is to each person something different. Thus, using surveys and people’s input for art is almost always a miss. Art reminds us that we incapable of telling what others like or dislike because art is always a personal preference.

The impossibility of evaluating what art programs to offer Trying to make a decision on finding common art denominators is actually counter to art’s function and its emotional rewards. For example: If a survey indicates that a majority like to attend more rock-concerts; does that mean people will fill the event. What kind of rock can you bring to the city? The diversity in Art genres: Soft Rock, Hard Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Southern Rock, Adult Alternative Rock, American Traditional Rock? Yes, the Internet and technology have turned us into art-snobs.

Art is as diverse as the people that consume it; thus, impossible to predict. One month you feel like going to three theater performances or movies, the next 6 months you do other things, because the art-programming offered is not emotionally rewarding enough to satisfy your current taste.

Key Question:  What could/should an arts master-plan do for the City of Newport Beach? The answer: Coordinate the Arts in a balanced and harmonious way to build social interaction, stronger community, cultural enrichment, social pride, a strong artist community, and appealing visitor attraction.

Purpose/Function: Know Thy Audience. Newport Beach has drastically changed a its citizen’s demographics since 2008. Finding the arts and cultural-wants that are attractive for citizens and visitors is the biggest challenge to create an engaging cultural masterplan vision.

The Best Solution to discover Newport Beach’s Art Trends. Today, a “General Cultural Events Calendar App,” for all electronic devices, as part of the Visit Newport Beach’s app could allow for, a. a more accurate way than any survey or public forum to study the actual engagement of art-stakeholders, b. the basis to build (a) solid vision(s) that citizens want to vote for in future public forums. c. better art-informed citizens, d. more accurate tailored programming. Just  integrate art & culture in the already available BCS Visit Newport Beach app http://www.visitnewportbeach.com/bowl-championship-series-2014/bcsapp/

Within a year this cultural app could provide cultural trends and their usage with high accuracy. When and which art contributors get the most traffic. What art form is trending overall and seasonal. What are citizens willing to pay for a cultural experience and more. Because of the availability and engagement of this app, citizens will attend more art events and getting and discovering more of their cultural preferences.  For my previous assessments and other related links go to: SelfAwareArt.com

Previously:

Other Master Plan Study Sessions:

NB Art Master-Plan Study 9-10-2015 http://goo.gl/QP2orC

NB Art Master-Plan Study 8-13-2015 http://goo.gl/TmzQDw

NB Art Master-Plan Study 7-09-2015 http://goo.gl/ZKNVGu

NB Art Master-Plan Study 9-10-2015

Dear Citizens of Newport Beach,

The 1st Stage of the Newport Beach Arts & Culture Master Plan ended up as a good general
Arts & cultural assessment of the City’s existing Arts & cultural landscape.

The next step is to create a vision. Here is my recommendation for creating this vision in our next study session on 9/10/2015.

Focus: Create a vision to establish the essential function for Newport Beach’s Arts Masterplan.

Participants: Newport Beach City Council, The Newport Beach Arts Commission, Citizens participating in the study sessions.

Goal: Tap into the individual enthusiasm and passion of the participants regarding Arts and Culture in Newport Beach.

Questions: There is no right answer, only the one that feels best to you.

  1. Personally, do you want  to add more to the Cultural Arts of Newport Beach?
    Yes or No
  1. If No, Do you want to support existing arts? Yes or No
  1. If Yes on 1 OR 2, what kind of cultural art do you personally want to add or preserve?
    a) Visual Art
    b) Music
    c) Performing Art
    d) Literary Art
    e) Public Art
    f) Art Education
    Rank your choice (s) #1 thru #6, with 1 being your personal first choice.
  1. Define your first choice:
    a) What is your overall vision? (How would your vision look implemented?)
    b) What is the visitor expectation? (What is the capacity of people it would serve?)
    c) What and where is the venue? (What would be the preferred venue of your choice?)
    d) What time of year/season? (Is there a special time or season your choice would be best served?)

NB Cultural Arts Master Plan Study Session 9/10/2015 Assessment by Michaell Magrutsche
Next study Session: October 8, 2015 – 4 pm Friends of the Library Room.
a. Discussion about suggestions of before mentioned participants.
b. Bring suggestions into a workable function with respect to available assets and possibilities.  For example,  can Newport Beach’s cultural vision be integrated with our neighbor cities instead of duplicated.

Other Master Plan Study Sessions:

NB Art Master-Plan Study 10-08-2015 http://goo.gl/0JHKYK

NB Art Master-Plan Study 8-13-2015 http://goo.gl/TmzQDw

NB Art Master-Plan Study 7-09-2015 http://goo.gl/ZKNVGu

NB Art Master-Plan Study 8-13-2015

Dear Citizens of Newport Beach,

This study session is about finding an art & cultural vision for the city of Newport Beach:

The workflow for realizing any vision successfully: a.Vision – b.Function – c. Form

  1. Best Possible Vision –  In order to create a vision one has to assess the current status quo, possibilities and options to mold ways to integrate such a vision and create functionality.
  • Unpredictability & Unknown: In the 1st session we assessed that our country is going through a powerful transitional stage from a technology into the digital age, where no one really knows where we are going. In particular with the numerous changes in human behavior due to technology it can’t be conservatively be predicted where art and art consumption is going to be in 5 years.
  • Limited Options? Our situation of change limits the options of creating a long time cultural vision for any city. In addition, the financial responsibility of a city forces a vision for arts & culture to be treated very conservatively to keep successful programs running, while adapting them to new technologies and outdated programs to be phased out. This process has to be revised yearly until the situation quiets down or new ways of presenting the arts can be implicated.
  1. Most Applicable Function:
  • Misleading Needs Assessment: Most people that are questioned or come to  meetings are not fully aware about different generational art needs and consumption. They are not properly informed of what a great art selection we already have in Newport Beach. How could they, because there is no central source/hub that offers a complete pool. (Closest comes Master Plan stage 1)
  • Quintessential Questions: What does the City government want culturally for Newport Beach that is not currently offered? (I.e., a better cultural image)  Why does the City want it? (i.e. better quality tourism) Why does the City believe our citizens want the same? (i.e. more & better jobs)  Are citizens agreeing with such a vision? Is there a need for more arts in Newport Beach or is the overabundance of Newport’s current arts landscape sufficient?  See Newport Beach Arts & Culture Master Plan Document 1st Stage click here and the about 50 arts organisations in Newport Beach.

The Key that Drives The Art & Cultural Business Today –

How To Inform Citizens About The Art They Prefer In Time?

The ease of connecting through social media has created an overabundance of options for what you can do in your spare time. Everyone competes for those 30 min – 2 hrs of free time. Sadly, it is not the best performance that mostly attracts you to attend but do you know in time about an opera event that you might be interested and are you reminded enough to make you consider it.

  1. Best Form For Current Vision and Function.
  • A General Cultural Events Calendar that becomes part of Visit Newport Beach’s “Celebrate” department which could be renamed “Celebrate Newport Beach’s Art & Culture.”  Integrate this calendar in the already available BCS Visit Newport Beach Mobile App.  See:http://www.visitnewportbeach.com/bowl-championship-series-2014/bcsapp/ Staff Question? How to best implement a complete cultural events calendar. How to feed and update information because being current is key to citizens using it.
  • Why Rethinking Grants: Arts organisations usually put all their money in the production of art and there is too little money to promote them. Either put in a clause to use grants on promotions. The Arts Commission to awards  promotional credits as grants that can be used with before mentioned app.

NB Master Plan Study Session 8-13-2015 Assessment by Michaell Magrutsche

Next Study Session September 10 4 pm Friends of the Library Room:
1. Money Sponsorship Funding are all based on what audience engagement can you offer with the quality of your program.

2. Assessing what the NB government wants and suggests as Arts & Cultural enrichment and why. So citizens can cast their vote.

Other Master Plan Study Sessions:

NB Art Master-Plan Study 10-08-2015 http://goo.gl/0JHKYK

NB Art Master-Plan Study 9-10-2015 http://goo.gl/QP2orC

NB Art Master-Plan Study 7-09-2015 http://goo.gl/ZKNVGu

NB Art Master-Plan Study 7-9-2015

Dear Citizens of Newport Beach,

When I looked at the recent study sessions of the master plan I see one common denominator it is no one knows where we are going. This is not misinformation but no one knows where the arts is going because we are in a traditional time where technology and human behavior changes are so rapid that there is no foreseeable direction yet.  That is why a current assessment of behaviors, conditions and roles is the best thing we can to to gain clarity.

The Aesthetics Needs Bottom Line: The more humans are surrounded by lots of Nature with outside living, the less humans need art. See Southern California and south of Rome where Nature fills the human needs of aesthetics and almost no art is needed.

Government’s business is to govern, not being in the arts business. Thus, let museums and cultural organisations do the buying, selling or handling of art. Government can expose, promote and support.

The Role of Government with the Arts is: Building community experiences by involving citizens. This leads to an active community engagement, which elevates Civic Pride. I.e. Newport Beach Arts Exhibition, Concerts and Shakespeare in the Park.

Rule 1:  Expose as many people possible to the Arts for the least amount of money. Especially today, what counts ultimately for non-profit and government is how many people can you expose and engage in your arts & cultural activities. 

Rule 2: In a world that thrives on innovation and technology. Make sure that Arts education is up to date and always a part of the school curriculum to hone our kids creative understanding.

Rule 3: Support the kind of art that is from contemporary-living artists instead of classical art, which is overabundant offered by other organisations. Look at Vienna/Austria.

Human Evolution Facts:Today’s citizens don’t want to have something put to them without being questioned. You build them and they will come does not work anymore. I.e., Segerstrom Center etc. Anyone that works currently in the arts knows, you don’t know what people like till you have done it and it can change tomorrow. You must minimize the risk by answering the quintessential question. Otherwise you get problems like City Hall problems and few visit Sculpture garden.

The Quintessential Question: Is is there a need for more arts in Newport Beach or does the overabundance of current arts need to just be centrally organized and properly promoted with existing vehicles like Visit Newport Beach and social media. I am in the arts and before working on the master plan. I did not know how much art NB had to offer. The Reason: The Arts usually put all their money in the production of art and there is too little money that there is mostly never budget to promote them. Please see huge quantity of art offerings in first stage of NB Master plan.

Needs Assessment Core Problem: Most people that are questioned or come to meetings are not fully aware about different generational art needs and consumption. They are not properly informed of what a great art selection we already have in Newport Beach. How could they, because there is no central source/hub that offers a complete list.

NB Master Plan Study Session 7-09-2015 Assessment by Michaell Magrutsche

Next meeting in August 13:
Vision/Idea – Function – Form is the flow of every project. It seems in the arts it is the other way around and that creates problems and disappointments.

How to implement a complete cultural events calendar as an addition to the current events calendar of Visit Newport Beach.

Newport Beach Arts & Culture Master Plan Document 1st Stage click here

Other Master Plan Study Sessions:

NB Art Master-Plan Study 10-08-2015 http://goo.gl/0JHKYK

NB Art Master-Plan Study 9-10-2015 http://goo.gl/QP2orC

NB Art Master-Plan Study 8-13-2015 http://goo.gl/TmzQDw