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City combines Arts, Parks commissions
centennial park

The City of Turlock will now be able to “feed two birds with one scone” after combining the Arts Commission with the Parks, Recreation and Community Commission — a decision that city officials say will not take away from the art community, but rather benefit the City as a whole.

With the reopening of the Carnegie Arts Center in downtown Turlock, much of the work that had been previously done by the City’s Art Commission — such as the Spring Juried Art Show — has now been taken on by volunteers and staff members of the Carnegie, significantly changing the role of the Turlock Arts Commission.

Although the Arts Commission was at one point highly active in developing and promoting arts within the Turlock community, their level of activity has since declined, resulting in an inconsistent level of commissioner participation that has adversely impacted the commission’s vitality. Being down to only three active members, the previously 7-member commission has been unable to hold official meetings each month due to not achieving the needed quorum.

Given the situation, city staff began seeking ideas on how to change the role of the Arts Commission in a way that would still remain valuable to the Turlock community. By placing the three remaining commissioners alongside the 6-member Parks and Recreation Commission, staff believe the two groups can work together to expand both of their roles in the community while taking on larger projects.

“With nine members, the combined commission can take on a more diverse and robust array of projects in a creative and functional approach,” said Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder. “Some might think that cutting the Arts commission is somehow taking away from the arts community in Turlock, but we see it as an opportunity to achieve more, and in a more efficient manner. So really, it’s a win for the City and arts community together.”

By combining all of the current commissioners into a single body, the City is working to update the bylaws for the new commission, giving them a richer variety of issues and projects to explore. Additionally, the decision to combine the two will result in a more streamlined process, as previous projects had required input from both commissions before moving forward to the City Council, sometimes slowing down the process by several weeks.

“None of the current commissioners have any objection to this proposal and are open to combining the commissions as long as we ensure the arts component is maintained an the parks and recreation components are not adversely impacted,” said Van Guilder. “Given the stronger role played by the Carnegie Arts Center, this change will allow the City to participate in promoting arts in the community in a much more manageable and consistent manner.”

An update with the meeting times and dates of the newly combined commission will be posted when made available by the City of Turlock.