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SJ Arts Council goes head to head with skeptic
By Teddy Deane
Special to the Journal
I recently had a conversation about the San Juan County Arts Council with a skeptic.
Skeptic: Isn’t the Arts Council really just about tourism?
SJCAC: It has a substantial economic element, of course, including tourism, but it is much more. It has a wonderful comprehensive plan, available to anyone on request (info@ sanjuanartscouncil.org). The outreach potential of this budding organization is quite staggering.
At the core of SJCAC is the belief that exposure to the arts promotes innovation, imagination, critical thinking and collaboration, the skills necessary to live productive and meaningful lives.
With this tenet, education, performances, workshops, readings, classes, events etc. become experiences that are necessary to nurture a well-grounded society as it meets the demands of a future full of both opportunities and challenges.
In providing for the needs of the human spirit, the arts can help stabilize our community.
For example, we could help create ways for aging and disabled residents with reduced mobility to access the arts. We could bridge a gap between multicultural groups with rich traditions and the general population. We could address the needs of generations “X” and “Y”’ who seek interactive experiences.
Skeptic: There are many organizations in the County that do these sort of things, even the schools. It sounds redundant.
SJCAC: We don’t believe it is. We see the organization as a county-wide umbrella, inclusive of all disciplines, and here are some of the ways in which we can support what is already in place:
• Provide more support to grant seekers
• Fund arts programs and develop projects that engage and reflect San Juan’s ethnic communities and culture.
• Help existing arts organizations to provide more available ways and places to broaden, deepen and increase participation in the arts
• Help existing arts organizations to offer innovative learning and participatory experiences to attract new audiences and develop new talents
• Engage younger, older and more diverse audiences by providing access to workshops and conferences
• Identify and engage artists who would like to be more engaged in helping others
By encompassing all the arts in the county the SJCAC will be able to help, wherever needed, to increase the availability and accessibility of art for everyone.
Skeptic: We’ll see.
SJCAC: Yes you will.
Teddy Deane, president of SJCAC Steering Committee