K.J.: A love letter

Joey Garcia

Dearest K.J.:

You have professed your affection for the Arts and promised your support. Such seduction! It hit like a rush of dopamine. The Arts began imagining a future with you, the creation of an enduring legacy. But then, you didn’t show up, or not often, anyway. The Arts are heartbroken. After all, a real relationship is honest. It requires vision, trust, communication and commitment. We’re willing to try again, if you’re willing to change. This is our bittersweet valentine to you:

Let’s have a world-class awakening:

This is awkward, but someone has to say it: A World-Class City is not determined by the presence of professional sports teams, although plenty of world-class cities are home to pro sports. No, K.J., World-Class Cities are defined by their public art, art museums, architecture, thriving literary scene and hordes of cultural creatives (Think: San Francisco, Milan, New York, Paris, Barcelona, London.) Adding athletic teams or arenas to the city grid may feel like the perfect fit of a glass slipper, but it’s closer to sliding into fur moccasins. Comfortable, yes, but not a world-class attraction.

Invite heretics, creatives and leaders to the table: Our economic, environmental and social commissions feature successful local businesspeople and presidents of educational institutions. Great! But if you’re serious about taking our relationship to the next level, add accomplished professional artists, theater directors, authors, poets, choreographers and tech upstarts to the mix. There’s no Sacramento 3.0 without a serious challenge to the status quo. That’s right, we can’t have what you call a “hub of innovation” without innovators. So we need heretics, leaders and creatives as participants on committees and commissions. Innovation happens by including the kind of people who don’t just show up for the paycheck, but who live by vision, passion and curiosity every day.

A one-museum town? Where is the love?: The Crocker Art Museum is a gem. Everything about its expansion has benefited Sacramento, and its residents. But in every World-Class City, a string of major art and cultural museums sparkle. Let’s craft a vision and get the financing now to ensure Sacramento shines on that map.

Boost arts education in schools: We realize it’s easy for you to point out that curriculum content and school funding is outside of your mayoral responsibilities. But that would deny all of your political connections, right? So work the room. We need to grow the next generation of artists, arts appreciators, innovators and entrepreneurs. Arts education is essential to a World-Class City.

If you lived here, you’d be home by now: Unreasonable rents are forcing talented artists, writers and entrepreneurs to relocate from major cities to new markets. Let’s entice them to Sacramento. Create and fund artist-in-residence programs on local farms and ranches, in homeless shelters, at City Hall and the courthouse. Embed artists, poets and playwrights with the Kings, the River Cats and the Sacramento Republic. Heck, let’s get everybody in bed together and see what happens.

Schedule date nights with us:We miss you. We see you on television at King’s games, but you rarely show up at Arts events unless it’s a gala and a camera is trained on you. Back in the day, Anne Rudin and Heather Fargo would say they supported the Arts and then prove it by showing up. Can you add the Arts to your dance card? Please?

Oh, K.J., our love has been unrequited for far too long. Don’t be coy. Tell us, will you be our valentine?

Meditation of the week
“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud,” wrote Emile Zola. What inspires you to make life your art?

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