City Club Talks Arts and Culture: April 8 Meeting Recap

City Club met on Monday to talk about Arts and Culture opportunities in Corvallis. Brenda VanDevelder, chair of the Arts and Culture Commission, Joel Hirsch, city councilman and liaison to the Arts and Culture Commission, and David Huff, executive director of Corvallis Arts Center, spoke to a full crowd at the Renaissance Building downtown.

VanDevelder spoke first about the work the Arts and Culture Commission has done. “We’re on firm footing, our work is to raise the priority of the arts in our community,” she said. “This is a really important time to be creative and supportive.”

She said that the biggest challenges were funding and attracting audiences.

During the discussion after the talks, meeting attendee, Sandy Ridlington, asked whether it was possible to have a “dangerous abundance” of arts groups in Corvallis. These groups must compete for a limited amount of funding and audience members.

“No,” said Hirsch. “There are a lot of people that aren’t there and part of that is outreach and getting people interested.” He suggested getting more people to participate in producing events in order to raise attendance.

Huff said that one challenge to increasing attendance is that the people working in the arts don’t feel confident in their marketing or audience development abilities.

“We have these artists that recognize we need to do more outreach but what we’re really good at is arts education,” he said. With limited time and funding available, artists prefer to focus on what they’re really good at instead of spending time on marketing.

by Lana Jones