Lindsay Cultural Arts Coordinator announced

Studies have shown that promoting cultural arts and local heritage increases tourism, benefiting local businesses and, ultimately, city coffers.

In keeping with their non-stop Lindsay Improvement District (essentially the entire city) upgrades, the the city council approved hiring a cultural arts coordinator at their April 11 meeting.

&#8220A lot of effort is going into physical downtown, connecting to housing projects, McDermont Field House and Sports Complex, using an old building for the cultural arts . . . it might move forward faster,” said Lindsay City Manager Scot Townsend at that time.

&#8220I'm really in favor of this,” Vice Mayor Pam Kimball said. &#8220I think it's essential to have an arts element here, but where we are now, we need a paid person.” Kimball also serves as president of the Lindsay Cultural Arts Council.

&#8220Actually we do have a lot of things going on,” Townsend said. He mentioned several groups (listed below).

&#8220We actually need a person who can work with all those groups and work for the city, a paid person who can assimilate and coordinate to take the arts to a higher level.” He said a cultural arts coordinator would add an entirely new component. He said others would want to invest in the community &#8220because they will see the investment we've made.”

An ad was posted, interviews conducted and a selection made last week.

Carolyn Barbre, who has been the city beat reporter for Lindsay since August 2000 was selected. Barbre has a long acquaintance with many aspects of the arts, her most recent as a professional hand painted tile artist in the South Bay where a lot of her work is on permanent display including a 20-foot-long tile mural. She actually started in the arts as a professional photographer in New York City, where she was elected spokesperson for Women Photographers of New York many years ago. She has also demonstrated her journalism and communication skills, picking up seven awards in the last five years, four State-wide and three Valley-wide.

&#8220I am thrilled to be given this opportunity,” Barbre said. &#8220It feels like a culmination of a lifetime of learning and experience - just the right place to be - here - now. I am so excited about Lindsay's progress and prospects art-wise and otherwise.”

Between the council meeting and the decision making, the Lindsay Cultural Arts Council discussed the creation of an arts consortium at its May 2 meeting. It was suggested that a representative and an alternate from each of the various arts organizations form an arts consortium - a board - including the Lindsay Art Association which lines up art exhibits for the LCAC Gallery, the Lindsay Mural and Public Art Society, the Lindsay Historical Society, the Lindsay Community Theater, the Save the Fire Truck Committee and possibly the chamber of commerce plus the schools.

Representatives from the above organizations are expected to attend the next LCAC meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, with a note that &#8220individual groups should schedule their own before or after meetings.”

Barbre will be on city staff effective beginning in June. An example of her duties as described in the job prospectus include organizing regular citywide arts events; acting as a liaison between arts organizations, schools and artists/experts; locate and hire artists for studio and arts market workshops; head a Lindsay Arts Consortium for regular meetings and to foster communications; produce and publish arts information, maps, schedules, etc; coordinate and organize City arts marketing and publicity; grant writer; website developer and more.

Meanwhile, back at the city council meeting, a theme was proposed.

&#8220We have our own identity.” Kimball said. &#8220What we really are is a working-class packing house town that pulls in all the cultures in town because they are someway connected. In my own mind, I think we'll do packing shed art - a theme. If we open art studios on Sweet Brier, who do we want? If they can make any connection with packing sheds, it's a few points in their favor.”

&#8220When we start this we want to send a report out to all different art organizations,” Townsend said. &#8220When I hear ‘Packing House,' we're encouraging the best of Lindsay.”

He said in conjunction with a trip planned for Michoacan May 21-24 regarding bi-national support for the Wellness Center, they would take note of local handcrafts and be considering a cultural exchange as well. Barbre will participate in this trip both as a reporter for the Sun-Gazette and as the Community Arts Coordinator.

&#8220The state is noted for its art and artisans,” Townsend said. He said there are no doubt many in Lindsay who are artisans who have not been able to practice their crafts because they are busy making a living and supporting their families.

Community Development Analyst Kindon Meik, who also coordinates travel plans for city staff, reported that there is a big artisan and crafts festival in the capital, Morelia, each week.

Meik said there is grant mony from the National Endowment for Humanities, &#8220But they're looking for something very solid. If we have someone willing to do the legwork to bring it together, there is quite a bit of funding.”

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