At its first meeting of the new year, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors renewed the Arts Consortium’s designation as the county’s official arts council through 2018. The organization originally received this designation in October 2010, and it has been renewed as needed ever since.
The Arts Consortium was created as a result of the August 2008 report presented to the city of Visalia by AMS Planning & Research, which recommended having someone coordinate the arts in the city. The city hired Caroline Koontz to head the effort and the result became the Arts Consortium, which is currently led by Ampelio Mejia Perez, project director, and Joan Constable, operations director.
The Arts Consortium works to connect artists with organizations and the community. It showcases artists at events such as the South Valley Artists’ Studio Tour, First Friday Art Crawl, Visalia Opera Company, Tulare County Theatre Boosters, The Urbanists Collective and the Spanspek Music Festival.
The largest event organized by the Arts Consortium is Visalia Taste the Arts, an annual arts street fair in downtown Visalia with booths showcasing local artists, musicians, culinary artists and authors.
The Arts Consortium continues to look for ways to expand the arts in Tulare County.
“We’ve been working with different start-ups,” said Perez, who talked about Veritas Arts Studio in Lindsay, which is looking to provide art education for the community and for at-risk youth, and ILOVEARTBRO, a weekly art market and concert at the Cellar Door in Visalia that presents art for sale to the public with no fees to artists.
“They have a guaranteed crowd of 200 to 300 people,” he said.
“In Porterville, Academia Juvenil de Arte y Cultura also works with at-risk groups and they plan annual Cinco de Mayo and Christmas parades,” said Perez. “Three Rivers has a first Saturday of the month art tour. We provide printing services and manage their finances. We provide them with a nonprofit umbrella.”
The Arts Consortium also works with The No Stigma Speakers Bureau of Tulare County.
“We give them space to plan and practice their presentations,” said Perez. “They also use our computers and video equipment.”
The Arts Consortium is not active everywhere it wants to be, however. The organization is looking for local contacts to help establish programs in Dinuba, Earlimart and Woodlake.
For more information about arts programs and events in Tulare County, including how to get involved, contact the Arts Consortium at [email protected] or (559) 802-3266, or visit artsconsortium.org.