City Arts Recovery Design (CARD) Spring 2023 Update

by Arts Commissioner Lyons

- A giant mosaic on the side of the Front Street parking structure
- A series of improvisational jazz jams at various city locations
- A collection of films documenting artist-facilitated conversations between housed and unhoused city residents
- A dance performance celebrating the cultural legacy of the African diaspora

What do all of these events have in common? They are among the 12 initiatives funded by the Santa Cruz City Arts Commission’s CARD program during the past year.

Two years ago, the City Arts Commission launched the City Arts Recovery Design (CARD) Pilot Grant Program in order to harness and fund ideas from our creative community The city-based art projects addressed the themes of Economic Recovery, Restorative Justice, and Public Health and Safety. (For more background on this project, see the 2022 Journal Post). Since the spring of 2021, there have been calls for letters of intent, community review panels, project, applications, committee reviews, conversations with artists, and even more committee reviews…all of which have resulted in 12 fully-funded endeavors.

Three of the 12 have already been completed. The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival conducted a series of concerts in local parks last spring which were free and open to the public. The Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center presented its Diaspora Dance Performance last fall. And “Together We Rise: Artists & Responders of the CZU Fire,” an exhibit of works made by CZU Fire victims, was displayed in at the recently renovated Felix Kulpa gallery downtown at the time of the first anniversary of the fire.

In case you missed these, you’ll be relieved to hear that 6 of our currently in-progress initiatives have events coming up in the next couple of months.

Here’s just a partial list of them:

Refocusing Ecology Workshop Series, led by Martabel Wasserman:

  • April 1—Seeding Migration, a workshop focusing on cyclical regeneration in which participants will create seeing vessels in the shape of endangered or threatened wildlife
  • April 7—History’s Imprint on the Landscape and Ourselves, an in-person foraging walking landscape tour and discussion, eco-hammer printmaking, and writing workshop focusing on invasive plants.
  • April 29—Neary Lagoon Through a Different Lens, a walking workshop investigating microplastics in our city’s wetlands.

Dancing Waters Mural Project, led by Maha Taitano and Kathleen Crocetti:

  • April, May, and June—Maha and Kathleen will lead any and all interested members of the public in making parts of a water-themed mosaic mural for the side of the Front Street Garage. There will be 3-4 sessions per week of open collective tile-cutting time to prepare for installation in early July. See the website below for forthcoming details.

What’s Home? Creative Listening Across Differences, led by Andrew Purchin:

  • April 15 – Short video clips of 10 artist-facilitated conversations between housed and unhoused Santa Cruz residents will be screened and used as starting points for discussions about our city’s housing challenges at The 418 Project, 7pm.
  • April 16 – An exhibit of work inspired by these conversations opens at the Radius Gallery

Santa Cruz Jams, led by Jazz Society of Santa Cruz County

  • April 9 and 23—Hosted jam sessions with a professional house band open to jazz musicians of all levels. Non-players who come to listen are welcome. Pono Grill, 3-6pm.

Historias de Cultura: Oaxaca en Santa Cruz, led by Senderos

  • April 8—Film screening at The 418 Project, 6-8pm.

Landing, led by Laurie Palmer

  • April 18—"Little Jiggling Particles,” a performative event focusing on the theme of energy. The work consists of a collection of inflated weather balloons and a brass band, all freely moving, untethered and un-choreographed, within the space. Indexical, 7pm.

And, there are still 8 more projects in the works! Of these 8, we’re working on the artist’s agreements for 3 of them and hashing out logistics, permits, and budgets for the remaining 5, in hopes of having them funded in the near future.

We’re thrilled to be seeing two years of hard work coming to fruition out on the streets, where they are most welcome.

Four Pillars of Economic Development in the City of Santa Cruz