Appointments to the Commission on the Arts (terms to expire Nov. 1, 2013):
- Donald Miller
- Maureen Cashin Bolog
- Emily Delabrue
- Jayne Herring
- Francisco Loyola
- MaryPat Andrea
Appointments to the Commission on the Arts for (terms to expire November 1, 2012):
- Karen Sorensen
- Diane Levesque
- Robert Wells
- Becky Noble
- Virginia Hartley
- City Liaison – Peggy Gregorski – Kenosha Public Museum
By Betty Hernandez
The second reading of the ordinance proposed by Mayor Keith Bosman to create the City of Kenosha “Mayor’s Commission on the Arts took place on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, in the Council Chambers. Citizens in favor of such a commission were present and spoke before the council. Joe Blineshine of Kenosha spoke of the city’s need for such a commission.
Debra Karp from Arts Wisconsin in Madison said that Kenosha has experienced significant growth in the arts and the creation of a city commission will bring business and employment opportunities to Kenosha. Dean Yohnk, PhD, Professor and Interim Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, provided examples of ways in which a city commission for the arts in Kenosha will provide opportunities for grants and funding and combine educational and community endeavors in our communities.
Bonnie Mirkiewicz from Forever Grateful in Kenosha gave examples of ways in which other communities in Wisconsin have prospered through the establishment of city commissions for the arts. Angie Aker, a citizen of Kenosha, described how she had moved to New York City and enjoyed the cultural and artistic opportunities there. Upon coming back to Kenosha, she was surprised to find a thriving art community and encouraged the formation of a formal commission that would enable growth and development of what has already begun.
Melanie Hovey, Director of the Lemon Street Gallery in Kenosha stated that 10 years ago, the Lemon Street Gallery started with only 13 artists and today they have 70. She urged the council to approve the Mayor’s Commission because it would unify private and public endeavors for expansion in the community. Maureen Cashin Bolog from the Actor’s Craft in Kenosha described how movie and television producers are sending actors to her for training prior to hiring them. She said people will take Kenosha more seriously as an arts community if we have the support of a city commission.
Alderman from several districts in Kenosha County spoke in favor of the arts commission. Michael J. Orth from the 15th District stated that he was in favor of such a commission and that it should be representative of all of the artistic organizations in our communities. Rocco J. LaMacchia, Sr. from the 5th District agreed, adding that he was impressed with the people who had spoken and who said things he had not known prior to hearing them speak. Jan Michalski from the 3rd District voiced his agreement to the concern that such a commission not be limited to a few artistic organizations.
A motion was made that the name of the commission be changed to the City of Kenosha Commission on the Arts, which was, seconded and approved. Upon a call from the mayor for a vote, the ordinance passed unanimously.
Thank you to all those of you who supported this effort! You are very greatly appreciated!
The second reading of the ordinance proposed by Mayor Keith Bosman to create the City of Kenosha “Mayor’s Commission on the Arts.” will take place September 7 at 7pm at the Council Chambers, Room 200, of the Kenosha Municipal Building, 625 52nd Street.
Purpose: The purpose of this Commission is to support economic development of creative and expressive endeavors by developing collaborative relationships between artists, musicians, businesses, and government.
Below is a letter of support from Arts Wisconsin that states the importance of this ordinance. This meeting, as well as all the City Council Meetings, are open to the public, we urge you to attend.
Common Council of the City of Kenosha
Dear Members of Common Council:
Representing Arts Wisconsin, the independent organization which advocates for and assists artists, creative workers, arts education and creative economy throughout Wisconsin, we write in wholehearted support of the creation of a “Mayor’s Commission on the Arts” in Kenosha. In the past decade, we have witnessed significant increases in the number of arts organizations and artists in the community.
Along with the artists and other creative individuals of the community, these organizations, such as Lemon Street Gallery, the Kenosha Public Museums, and Southeast WI Performing Arts, have added vibrancy and cultural and educational opportunities as they have contributed to the local economy.
Kenosha is not unlike the rest of Wisconsin where many communities across the state are quietly remaking themselves with renovated arts facilities and revitalized cultural organizations that make them economic, educational and tourism draws. Kenosha is unlike many communities of its size in that it does not have an Arts Council to formally organize, advise, and support the work of its artists and arts organizations.
This is why we fully support the creation of the Mayor’s Commission on the Arts. This commission will help to connect Kenosha’s arts organizations, artists and arts educators with each other as well as to the Unified School District, Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, KABA and local colleges and universities. Through this network of relationships, the City of Kenosha will maximize the impact of its arts community.
We ask that you support the formation of the Mayor’s Commission on the Arts. As city leaders, you have the ability foster the development of a city where people choose to live and establish businesses because of its vibrant arts community and expansive educational opportunities. With its ideal location along the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor, Kenosha has great potential to attract corporate relocations.
However, corporations are not only interested in access to large cities, they want to move to places where they can attract creative, educated workers and where there is great quality of life. Clearly, this “quality of life” is enhanced by the presence of an energized and active arts community.
In fact, we have seen companies like Roundy’s and Rockwell International choosing Milwaukee to re-locate because of its arts scene. And small Amery, WI (population 3,000) is now the home of a Mayo Clinic affiliated medical center because of the presence of its nationally-acclaimed Northern Lakes Center for the Arts.
We hope you will call on Arts Wisconsin as a resource and network to expand opportunities in the arts, arts education and creative economy for all Kenosha residents. With your support of the Mayor’s Commission on the Arts, Kenosha will have a renewed mission to build its arts community and realize the many economic and educational benefits it will bring.
Debra Karp, President Anne Katz, Executive Director
Arts Wisconsin | recipient of the 2004 Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts | a Community Shares of Wisconsin agency
Box 1054 | Madison, WI 53701-1054 | 6o8 255 8316 | http://www.artswisconsin.org
He was still very interested in this original idea and the last month and a half has been spent creating said proposal, doing research on Arts Commissions in Wisconsin cities and other cities, and talking with people throughout Kenosha including the leaders of the institutions, Kenosha Area Business Alliance, Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, the musician’s organization that has recently been created, the artists’ community, and politicians.
The overwhelming reaction has been positive and the hope is that a commission backed by the city will not only help in supporting the arts but also in developing first downtownand then other parts of Kenosha into the best arts and entertainment districts they can be.
There is also hope that, with a clear agenda and mission statement already laid out, this commission will escape the fate of so many groups that have come before where unstructured conversation continues for months until members give up and leave.
Businesses, like Jockey and Snap-On, were contacted, all the major institutions, including KUSD, were contacted, and city businesses and arts organizations that are in existence were contacted. Again, the overwhelming response has been excitement and positivity.
However, now that the proposal is on Mayor Bosman’s desk, he wants to hear what YOU, the reader, have to say – both the good and the bad. The Mayor is welcoming email comments directly to him at email@example.com.
The proposal, which is available for everyone to read, is available HERE.