Littleton will begin exploring how to bolster its arts and culture offerings through a new city commission. City council approved the Arts and Culture Commission in a 4-3 vote at its Nov. 19 meeting, …
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Littleton will begin exploring how to bolster its arts and culture offerings through a new city commission.
City council approved the Arts and Culture Commission in a 4-3 vote at its Nov. 19 meeting, marking one of the final decisions made by the departing council. Councilmembers Peggy Cole, Carol Fey and Jerry Valdes voted against the measure.
The commission will be charged with “encouraging and supporting the growth and expansion of culture and the arts in the community,” according to city documents, with an eye toward promoting the city as a destination for art lovers.
“I think this is something that will further celebrate, cultivate and amplify what we already have,” said councilmember Karina Elrod, who championed the commisison. “We already have so much richness in our community that perhaps goes underleveraged. How wonderful it would be to help them rise.”
Littleton is home to a number of top-flight arts and culture amenities already, Elrod said, including Town Hall Arts Center, the Littleton Museum, Depot Art Gallery, The Hudson Gardens and Arapahoe Community College, which operates an art program and gallery.
“And there could be more we don't know about,” Elrod said.
The commission will be composed of nine members, according to city documents: one each from the existing Museum Board, Fine Arts Board and Library Board, one representative each from four local cultural organizations, and two representatives of the business community. Members must either reside in Littleton or represent an organization operating within city limits.
The commission will have a budget of $34,000 for its first year, according to city documents, with $31,500 going to pay for a consulting firm to develop an inventory of existing amenities and create plans for outreach. The commission will not have a dedicated budget in future years, and will need to appeal to city council for funding for any proposals that may arise.
Tim Nimz, the head of Bemis Library and the Littleton Museum, will help get the commission off the ground.
Nimz told city council that while Littleton already has a Fine Arts Board, its mandate is more narrow, and focused on procuring public art pieces for the city. The new commission would have a much broader scope, and he's confident Littleton is well-suited for such a mission.
“Littleton's fortunate that we have a substantial and thriving downtown,” Nimz said. “That's a great centerpiece to work from.”
Mayor Jerry Valdes said he voted against the creation of the commission because he doesn't feel he knows enough to say whether it's necessary.
“All we got was one study session, then we voted on it the next week,” Valdes said.
Valdes said he plans to have meetings with city staff to hear their vision for the commission.
“It passed, so now it's a matter of making it work,” Valdes said.
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