City Arts Recovery Design (CARD) Spring Update

by Arts Commissioner Lyons

If the phrase “CARD program” hasn’t entered your lexicon yet, you might as well adopt it now, since you’re about to hear about it all over town.

CARD, which stands for City Arts Recovery and Design, is a pilot grant program that was launched by the Santa Cruz City Arts Commission in collaboration with Arts Council Santa Cruz back in the spring of 2021. Modeled after a similar program implemented by the City of Santa Monica, the CARD Program’s main objective is to identify and support art initiatives that contribute to the city’s economic recovery efforts. The COVID pandemic, the CZU fires, and an increased recognition of the effects of institutionalized racism have all combined to take their toll on our community. Resources from the City’s Percent for Arts and General Funds were allocated to encourage artists of all kinds to tackle our current challenges through their creative work while also beautifying our community and highlighting its resilient character.

In response to its initial call for project proposals, the Arts Commission received 60 LOI’s (letters of intent). A _28-member panel reviewed these applications and recommended twenty of them for further development. Each of these twenty artists received a $1500 stipend to develop full applications and resubmit their projects for funding consideration.

Earlier this year, an ad-hoc committee made up of three Arts Commissioners and several City Staff began evaluating these detailed proposals, based not just on feasibility and artist qualifications, but also on how well the projects addressed the three established CARD themes: Economic Recovery, Restorative Justice, and Public Health and Safety.

The reason you’ll soon be hearing the phrase “CARD Program” around town is because the funding process has begun! At their March meeting, the City Arts Commission recommended nine projects for funding. One more was added at the April meeting.

The successful grant applicants so far include:

  • Catch of the Bays: Celebrating the Italian Fishing Community in Santa Cruz (Marla Novo)
  • Dancing Waters (Community Arts & Empowerment/Kathleen Crocetti)
  • Diaspora Performance Showcase (Tannery World Dance Center/Micha Scott)
  • Historias de Cultura: Oaxaca en Santa Cruz (Senderos/Fe Silva-Robles)
  • Refocusing Ecology (Martabel Wasserman)
  • Santa Cruz Jams (Jazz Society of Santa Cruz County/Kathy Blackburn)
  • Santa Cruz Baroque Society Festival (Santa Cruz Baroque Society/Linda Burman-Hall
  • Together We Rise: Artists and Responders of the CZU Fire (Mary Tartaro)
  • What’s Home? Creative Listening Across Differences (Andrew Purchin)
  • Landing (A. Laurie Palmer)

And it’s not over yet! The remaining ten projects are still very much under consideration. Most of them are fairly complex, and their execution involves either significant infrastructure improvements (such as repairs to a staircase or wall) or coordination by multiple stakeholders. City staff are working closely with these artists to plan their projects’ remaining logistic and budgetary details. As these hurdles are overcome, the Commission will evaluate these applications for funding.

In addition to being incredibly impressed and inspired by the breadth and depth of applications received through this program, the Arts Commission has been excited to be able to do some “matchmaking” between artists and city needs as well as between artists and private donors looking to support new initiatives. Maintaining a “docket” of projects and artists on hand has made it easier to coordinate efforts.

Stay tuned here and on CityArts’ Facebook and Instagram feeds for details on each of these projects as they roll out!

Questions? Email [email protected]

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