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Glendale officials picture a future in arts

Five-year plan sets goal of transforming the city into a recognized cultural destination.

February 15, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

Murals, performing arts programs and lighting upgrades to the Civic Auditorium to showcase art exhibits are among the top priorities for city commissioners who are trying to reshape Glendale as a public arts draw.

The Arts & Culture Commission met this week to start strategizing after the City Council on Tuesday unanimously supported a five-year plan to transform Glendale into a popular arts destination, not unlike Pasadena and Santa Monica.

“We’re on our way with this,” Mayor Frank Quintero said.

The commission has $1.4 million collected from fees paid by developers to spend on programming, but they plan to stretch the urban art fund out over the next 10 years.

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That means they’ll have to focus on a few projects and postpone others for future years. One of the first ways they plan to use the money is to set up a grant program so arts organizations can apply for funding for projects within the city.

Tens of thousands of grant dollars could fund performing arts, temporary art or murals. The urban art fund may also get another $1 million this year from newly approved developments, giving the commission more flexibility.

“I think it would be a great idea to bring in murals,” said Arts Commissioner Chairwoman Teri Deaver.

Adding murals along the city’s gateways, she added, would send a message to passersby that Glendale recognizes the importance of art.

Commissioner Razmik Grigorian agreed, noting that he would like to see mural projects in multiple neighborhoods, not just in the city’s developing downtown. Grigorian also pushed for lighting improvements at the Civic Auditorium.

Dick Heimbold, president for the Glendale Art Assn., said his group would like to put on an art show in Glendale, but they can’t find a space large enough with the right lighting to accommodate hundreds of pieces. The group held a 300-piece exhibition in Silver Lake last year, but would like to hold the next one in Glendale.

“I think Glendale is in the position to have really a successful festival,” Heimbold said.

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Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.

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