Forum half of attendees

The atmosphere couldn’t be more exciting, from passionate writers finally getting the chance to voice their once silent opinions on city ordinances, to concerned thespians wanting to help the local youth. The Murrieta Arts Council’s sophomore event, the Visioning Forum, was a phenomenal success. Held at the SRCAR building, with delicious refreshments sponsored by Garage Brewing Co, Craveyon CloudWines, and RJ’s Sizzlin Steer, local artists gathered to learn more about the Murrieta Art Council’s plans for the future. After their first official event, the Earth Day Art Walk in Old Town Murrieta, many curious citizens expressed interest in the MAC. The Community Visioning Forum both asked and answered many questions while giving local artists the chance to network and share ideas that they believe will help the MAC move forward.

Over 100 talented people filled the building and were separated into groups based on their category of art. The categories were music, visual art, literary art, performing art, crafts and others. They also had a special category for volunteers and art enthusiasts.  The forum opened with special guest Mayor Randon Lane speaking on the importance of art in the community, and thanking all those in attendance for their support for arts in the city of Murrieta. The introduction of each current arts council board member was presented by Jessica Large, President.  She explained the history of the arts council as an organization that came together organically, with Casey Jurado, Brandy Foote, Peter Thornwarth, Reggie Wadlington and initially Michael Valentine, who is now an advisor to the council.  From the start, the Murrieta Arts Council was created as a Community/Volunteer Organization.  For this type of entity to succeed, it requires a vast amount of volunteers to prosper, and as displayed on the arts council’s newly crafted banner: MAKE ART HAPPEN. Mrs. Large discussed how the arts council plans to do just  that by providing an organization chart displaying a “Core Council” as the hub of the council.  The Core Council, once established, will be made up of individuals representing each art form who will meet with others involved with that art category.  The Core Council will report to the Board of Directors about a variety of topics, and discuss how art can be better represented and displayed in Murrieta.  Soon after the opening speeches, the council asked a series of questions and gave the groups an allotted time limit to discuss and then present their answers to the room.

The questions covered what type of events people would like to see in the city, what resources MAC will need, and any other ideas that may help. During the presentation period, the artists expressed concerns in various areas, but a few ideas had the crowd excited and anxious to begin. One idea, for example, was to hold art festivals and to possibly organize an arts colony in the city. An art colony is a community where creative citizens live and interact with each other. It would be a great way to promote local artists so that Murrieta citizens no longer have to travel out of the city for quality art and culture. In addition to the art festivals and colonies being fun and exciting, they will also be very educational for the youth, which was a recurring concern during the forum.

Another concern that was expressed was the lack of advertisement for city art events. The possibility of a billboard piqued great interest amongst the crowd, as well as hanging events banners throughout the city. A few educators in the room talked about hosting programs for special needs and disadvantaged students with the goal of teaching them the importance of art and how to use it as an outlet. This particular idea excited even Murrieta City Councilman Harry Ramos, who said he would fully support any event for the youth.

With a great turnout and fantastic participation, the Murrieta Arts Council’s Visioning Forum started out as an informative meeting, and ended as a family get-together. The positive and creative energy in the room was wildly contagious and left artists excited for what is to come. Musicians, painters, poets, actors, and lovers of art all came together to share a joyful experience. From sharing refreshments, to exchanging creative ideas with each other, the Murrieta Arts Council continues to grow rapidly.