Arts | Arts Connection: The Arts Council of San Bernardino County

By: Jamie Durante

The impact arts can make on a community is as powerful as it is diverse. Not only do arts have the ability to stimulate creativity and expression; arts also have the capability of improving our community at-large economically. With the intention of educating and empowering those in San Bernardino County on the various benefits of the arts, The 2015 Arts Connection Annual Conference, “Arts Creating Community” is coming to Rancho Cucamonga this weekend.

We had the privilege of learning more about Arts Connection: The Arts Council of San Bernardino County from the Council’s Interim Executive Director, Danielle Giudici Wallis. Learn more about the organization and their annual conference that is happening this Saturday, September 26th at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center from 9a.m. to 5p.m.


Q. Can you tell us more about Arts Connection: The Arts Council of San Bernardino County?  

Danielle Giudici Wallis: Arts Connection's main focus is to support arts organizations, artists and arts administrators—which in turn bring arts programming to the communities within San Bernardino County.  We are currently working to increase cross sector partnerships between the arts, private industry and governments to broaden the scope of what arts engagement can address. Our upcoming conference is really about exploring ways the arts can function to address community needs. Our hope is to stimulate both the creative and economic vitality of our County.


Q. What is your role within Arts Connection?

I began in January as the Program Coordinator.  I worked to develop two new programs for the Council, which were successfully funded by the California Arts Council. One of the programs is designed for our increasing Veteran population and the other is a planning grant to bring professional working artists into targeted underserved schools.

In September I was appointed Interim Executive Director, which allows me to be involved in the larger picture of overall strategic planning and moving the organization towards the goals we have set.


Q. What type of resources and experiences will first-time attendees find at The 2015 Arts Connection Annual Conference, “Arts Creating Community?”

It's going to be a crash course in creative placemaking—addressing how we can leverage the arts to better our communities.  We will be hearing from a variety of folksincluding policy experts like Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, from the National Council on the Arts, to grass roots artists like Michael Segura who will represent San Bernardino Generation Now, working directly with community engagement.  There are two panels—one that looks at the larger picture of laying the groundwork for partnerships that enable these types of large scale projects, and a second which focuses on successful examples of artists' endeavors into this realm from a variety of disciplines.  


Q. Who will be presenting at The 2015 Arts Connection Annual Conference? What are some of the most anticipated discussions and workshops that attendees should look forward to?

I've heard from many communities that they are looking into developing a public art program. For those municipalities we have Lesley Elwood of Elwood and Associates. She will be leading a breakout session on this topic titled, "Technology to Temporary, Pursuits in Public Art."

There has also been an interest in cultural planning, and increasing efforts to bring the arts and culture back into the general plan at both the municipal and county level. Urban planner James Rojas, from Place it! will be leading an interactive breakout session titled, "Art making as City Making" that will take a hands on approach to cultural planning.

Creative placemaking is also on the radar for many of our communities. This conference will give participants the tools to develop and move forward with their ideas. It also provides a venue to network and build the collaborations necessary to do so. We are expecting quite a diverse audience—with artists, arts administrators, planners and many local government representatives in attendance. There will really be something for everyone, and we encourage participants from beyond the arts to join us!  


Q. How will our communities benefit from the discussions and education happening at this event?

Helping our communities is our ultimate goal!  We hope to inspire projects, and the opportunity for discussion that will lead to collaboration along with the necessary tools facilitate projects that will stimulate both the creative and economic environment within San Bernardino County.


To find out more about Arts Connection: The Arts Council of San Bernardino County, please visit their website or call (909) 537-5809.