Civic Cultural Commission Strategic Plan
(Adopted by Motion 3/3/05)
Why Create a
In 1985, the City of Redwood City adopted a
cultural element to its General Plan,
which sets a goal of creating a "vital cultural life in Redwood City".
As 2005 begins, the Civic Cultural Commission has taken the time to
review the element as a basis for the development of its own
strategic plan to provide:
The Commission believes the following principles and values are the
foundation for all our work.
- A focus for the work of the Commission
- An assessment of what has changed in the cultural
climate of the City
- Information on the opportunities and challenges
facing the arts in the City
- Strategies for reaching our desired cultural goals.
- Celebration the diversity of the Redwood City Community
- Top quality and excellence in programs
- Support of community building through cultural activities
- Recognition that art in all its forms,
including visual, dramatic, music, dance, film, literature or other
artistic expression, is essential to a vital community
authors of the City’s first Cultural Element to the General
Plan believed that, “cultural activities make the difference
between living and merely existing” and that by adopting the
element, the City would, “promote a closer, more productive
relationship among business, government, the arts and the
The reasons for asking the City to support the development of cultural
activities in the City remain true for the present Commissioners and
were expressed by the drafters of the Cultural Element as follows:
Creative activities develop self-esteem and a sense
of accomplishment. They
stimulate community spirit and provide an understanding and
appreciation of our heritage as human beings. Therefore, it is
essential to encourage the appreciation and preservation of the
literature, and the visual and performing arts of the city’s
multi-ethnic culture. By providing opportunities for individuals to
discover their own creative skills, for artists to perfect their
talents, and all to gain inspiration and an understanding of their
fellow human beings and the world around them, we can also help to
unite diverse ethnic, racial and age groups.”
Cultural Commission has determined that it can best support a vital
cultural life in the City in the following roles:
– Example: Proposed % for the Arts Program for new
– Example: Grants Program
– Example: Bringing groups together to promote the arts
– Example: Summer Concert Series, ‘Tis the Season,
School Art Contest, Purchase of public art
Where are we now?
City is situated midway between a myriad of cultural activities in
San Francisco and San Jose and adjacent to the active cultural arts
centers in San Mateo, the Mountain View, Palo Alto and Stanford
University. Despite this level of activity in surrounding
communities, Cultural Commissioners feel that Redwood City is on the
brink of a cultural expansion. With the completion of the new
downtown plan, we have the unique opportunity now to become the
entertainment center of the Peninsula. The importance of this
cultural upswing to the spirit of our city and to its economic
success should not be underrated. Symphony performances, dance
concerts, art shows, and repertory theaters generate income for many
other businesses. Furthermore, they are increasingly a consideration
in attracting corporations and tourists and our surrounding
following represents the Commission’s attempt to highlight both
the opportunities and challenges of the current cultural climate in
- The Fox Theater
located in the center of downtown is under new ownership. It has
been physically restored with increased programming being developed
by Montalvo. Attractions have included Bill Cosby, Itzhak Perlman,
and Jackson Browne.
restoration of historic Carrington Hall on the Sequoia High
School Campus provides another downtown venue for the cultural arts.
- The Downtown Cinema Complex will be completed in 2006.
- The Mayor’s Task Force
completed their work on a proposed Downtown Plan
which emphasized the
importance of cultural activities and suggested the creation of a
cultural arts center.
Civic Cultural Commission is actively involved in making
recommendations on public art for the new downtown, as well as
promoting artist-friendly live/work areas.
- The Downtown Concert Series
and the Concerts in the Park, both sponsored by
the Commission, in Redwood City during the summer months.
- The former San Mateo County Courthouse now houses the
County’s History Museum.
- The new plaza in front of the History Museum will
doubtless provide many opportunities to showcase the arts
- The Redwood City Art Center
offers gallery space, classes and workshops in the downtown, boasts
the City’s first mural, and is attracting new artists who are
providing more and stronger art programs for the community.
- The Redwood City School District has completed the renovation or
construction of Library/Media Centers and Multipurpose Rooms
on all of its campuses.
- An art gallery space was included in the design for
the Redwood City - City Hall.
- Local groups such as the Sequoia Art Group, Redwood City Heritage
Association, Redwood City Archives Committee and public agencies
including Canada College, Sequoia Adult School, Redwood City Public
Library and Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services
provide the opportunity for a wide variety of classes.
- Many cultural organizations seek the possibility of
locating to Redwood City.
School Districts continue to struggle to provide a rich cultural
arts program amid tight budgets.
The Redwood City School District and the Redwood City Education
Foundation are working together to improve this situation at the
elementary school level. As a result there has been marked
increases in the number of instrumental music students (from 250 to
600), with students in grades 2-4 also receiving instruction in
music. The most recent news indicates the need for the Redwood City
School District to cut almost $3 million dollars from its current
budget, which may have a negative effect on the District’s
ability to continue to support music in the schools beyond the
2004-05 school year. Additional funding is needed to support this
valued component of the RCSD instructional program.
- Offering courses such as music, visual and performing arts
continues to be a challenge for our local high schools.
- Commission has vision to dramatically increase visibility
and awareness of public art in Redwood City.
- No ordinance currently exists promoting the
inclusion of Public Art in new developments.
- Funds allocated by the City for cultural arts
currently represent and annual expenditure of less than $1.00 per
resident. Making Redwood City a “cultural destination”
will likely require additional monetary support and a resulting
competition among many other important projects and programs.
- Defining role City should play in seeking additional dollars
in corporate sponsorship, foundation support or other outside funding.
The Civic Cultural Commission considers the opportunities and challenges
listed above as the most important issues to consider in development
of their 3-5 year strategies.
What do we want to do?
Based on our recognition of the changes in our environment, the Civic
Cultural Commission believes that its efforts should be focused on
supporting the following:
- the development of downtown as the City’s cultural
- supporting of the arts both in the
elementary and secondary school levels;
- community building events that celebrate the diversity
of our community and support local arts organizations;
- programs that focus on a senior audience;
- increased investment in public art; and
- alternative funding sources for the arts.
As such the Commission proposes the following goals based on its
possible roles as advocate (one that defends or maintains a case or
proposal), broker (one who acts as an intermediary), sponsor (one who
provides funding in support of), and provider (to supply or make
available certain special activities) for the arts in Redwood City.
The following are examples of the different roles the Commission
- Promote the establishment of a comprehensive cultural center
in the downtown
- Strengthen the cultural arts experience in the schools
- Support major downtown annual festival of the arts
- Public Art Ordinance requiring Public Art in
certain developments and new
- Retain and strengthen concerts in the downtown
- Strengthen ties with Farmers Market for promotion of events
- Major school festival of the arts
- Partnership with private businesses to support the arts
- Opera Performances
- Downtown Lunchtime Entertainment
- Foreign or Classic Film Festival
- Art experience in the schools
- Establish criteria for annual funding cycle
- Fund Established for the Purchase of Public Art
- Allocate budget for small and large grants as requested
- Create at least one activity designed as a fundraising event
- Summer Downtown Concert Series and Concerts in the Park
- Elementary School Art Contest
- Downtown Holiday Event
- Sunday Concerts
A more detailed list of the organizations, facilities, programs, and
special events that are currently a part of the City’s culture
is included as Appendix 1 of this plan.