Happy 1st Birthday CruzCal!

November 4, 2015 the arts and culture calendar for Santa Cruz launched just about a year ago and we are excited to celebrate the success of this great resource for the community! CruzCal is the result of nearly two years of effort amongst Arts Council Santa Cruz County, City of Santa Cruz Arts Commission, and the City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Office. It serves as the Santa Cruz community’s convenient and open calendar resource for all arts and cultural events. Now event organizers can post their event information in one place while audiences, media, curated websites, and bloggers can easily import event information.

We chatted with, Beth Ragel, a member of our team who is the Arts Program Manager and oversees the collaborative effort to support CruzCal. Beth shared with us the success of CruzCal over the last year and some exciting new developments in the Santa Cruz public art world.

CruzCal launched just about a year ago, what has been the impact of the calendar so far?

We have worked through Arts Council Santa Cruz County to reach the local non-profits arts community, so they know to post events there as a collaborative effort. This benefits those who want to make sure they don’t schedule events in competition with other similar arts organizations. For example, theater groups didn’t want to schedule events at the same time as other theater groups.

Arts Council Santa Cruz County also pulls events from the site onto their calendar. We are currently working to get the word out to the broader community about the Calendar – that they can post arts and culture events there and can find out about arts and cultures events there.

What was the biggest driver to launch

My understanding is that the non-profit arts community wanted one place to post events in part so they would not compete directly with each other. For example, theater groups didn’t want to schedule events at the same time as other theater groups.

For those who might not be familiar with CruzCal, can you briefly explain how it works and why it’s a unique tool for everyone in Santa Cruz to take advantage of?

The calendar is free and open to the public! Anyone can post an arts or cultural event there. An account or login isn’t required. In order to edit an event a valid email address is required, but it literally takes seconds to post an event! We also pull events from onto the City Arts website – so there is great cross promotion. Check out the City Arts website at

The arts community in Santa Cruz is incredibly active and collaborative by nature, what goals do you as Arts Program Manager and your Arts Commissioners have for CruzCal and the greater arts and culture event scene in Santa Cruz?

The Arts Commission recently went through a visioning process. Beyond making Santa Cruz an arts destination through excellent and innovative public art, we are committed to creating more engagement and transparency. We want to ensure that our public art opportunities, processes, and policies are accessible and understandable and that new projects bring community members together in meaningful ways and foster a sense of belonging and connection.

You just recently completed a new website for the public art program,, with the help of Design by Cosmic. It is a beautifully designed site and an exciting tool to showcase the amazing public art in Santa Cruz! Can you tell us more about the website and the cool features you included to help tell the story of public art in Santa Cruz?

The site includes a virtual tour of the City’s public art, along with many other resources for artists and arts non-profits. A mobile app with a tour of the City’s public art is also coming soon. Again visit the site at

What other projects are you working on right now that you are really excited about?

I’m really excited about the Santa Cruz Recycled Art Program, also known as “SCRAP”. The SCRAP pilot program will offer selected artists to glean materials form the Resource Recovery Center. The program will support City’s goals of enhancing environmental sustainability and encourage the community to think about consumption practices. We are collaborating with Idea Fab Labs, a maker space at the Wrigley Building that offers a fantastic variety of tools in three zones: a wood shop zone, jewelry zone, and electrical zone. The artists will be able to use the tools and the work space to complete their recycled art pieces and an exhibition of the work produced will be held at the R. Blitzer Gallery in December, 2016.

We have some exciting mural projects on the horizon. We are currently working on plans for a new mural in the Beach Flats neighborhood – which will involve the neighborhood from conception to installation. We are also reaching out to businesses along the Riverwalk about placing murals on the walls facing the Riverwalk. So far the response has been very positive.

How about the the Arts Commission? What do your Commissioners see as the greatest accomplishment over the last year and what are they most excited about in the future?

Abra Allan, Arts Commission Chair commented, "I feel that the City Arts commission took significant steps this year to bring awareness to the work we do and the support, advocacy and resources available to local artists and arts presenters in the community through the city arts programs."

"We were given an opportunity in a couple of occasions to ask our community for their "two cents" (literally). By offering passersby coins at local events and asking them to drop pennies into jars to vote for where they'd like to see City Arts focus time and money, it allowed a forum for conversation; giving us an opportunity to educate people about city arts, the work that has been done and what is planned for the future. It was an eye opening experience for all involved."

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Rallying Businesses for Small Business Saturday on November 28th