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North County Arts Leaders Plan For Regional Vision

Arts leaders from six North County cities are planning to collaborate on a greater vision and purpose for regional arts.

They met for a panel discussion at the Oceanside Museum of Art earlier this month.

Photo by Promise Yee

First panel of North County arts leaders meet to plan a regional vision, April 2014 Pictured at the table (left to right) are Bill Ims, Oceanside; Joyce Pekala, Vista; Daniel Foster Oceanside Museum of Art; Marilyn Huerta, San Marcos; and Jim Gilliam, Encinitas.

Museum executive director Daniel Foster said their discussion centered on plans to form a North County arts council.

“We need an umbrella that pulls all of us together and starts to leverage our talent and organizations together to make much greater impact, " he said, "and to raise all boats in the water."

Attending the initial meeting were Jim Gilliam, Encinitas arts administrator; Karen McGuire, Carlsbad Cannon Art Gallery curator of exhibitions; Bill Ims, Oceanside Star Theatre president; Joyce Pekala, Vista Civic Gallery director and Public Art Commissioner; Marilyn Huerta, California State University San Marcos community liaison; and Wendy Wilson, Escondido Arts Partnership executive director.

The group agreed to meet quarterly to develop leadership and secure funding. Foster acknowledges that raising money to support arts infrastructure is a difficult sell.

“Donors are happy to write checks to a youth arts program that they can see the benefit to some kids at the end of the line of their dollar that they contributed," Foster said. "But putting money into infrastructure, capacity building, leadership development, these are ideas that are harder to get money for.“

In spite of the challenges, Foster said he is optimistic the timing is right and the will is there to form a stronger arts coalition in San Diego’s North County.

Foster envisions an arts council for North County being established within two years.

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