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20/21 Regional Cultural Plan

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Why 20/21? | Why Regional? | Why a "Cultural" Plan? | What Values...? | What is the Overall Guiding Vision for this Plan? | What Stategies Support this Vision? | Arts and Cultural Education | Artistic and Organizational Development | Community and Neighborhood Arts | Leadership and Funding |

Why 20/21?

The title of this plan is 20/21. In 1988, the City of San Jose undertook a major planning process called Arts 20/20. The resulting report established an agenda for the future of the arts in the City and resulted in the building of new cultural facilities, expanded arts activity, and a higher level of financial commitment to the arts by City government.

This plan builds on Arts 20/20 and takes up where that initiative left off. It is intended to expand Arts 20/20's scope and geography, extend its success, develop a sense of continuity and expansion, and strengthen the tradition of planning for the arts and culture which has had such a positive impact on the community.

Because the current plan will span the transition from the twentieth to the twentyfirst century, it is called 20/21. Its aim is to propel the community into the new millennium with a fresh and ambitious point of view about the role of arts and culture in the life of the region.


Why Regional?

Since the Arts 20/20 process, there has been a growing recognition that the opportunities and the challenges that faced arts and culture in 1988 need to be addressed regionally. Regional planning efforts relating to the arts go back to 1982 when the state of California funded a process that created the Arts Council of Santa Clara County. But more recently throughout Santa Clara County, there has been a steady growth of organizations and activities that, if better recognized and brought together under a guiding vision, could wield a more coherent and accessible set of cultural opportunities for a wider range of citizens.

There is also a recognition of the advantages of linking the interests and aspirations of Santa Clara County's various communities. Whether the issue is audience growth, financial resource development, marketing, facilities, the competition from other Bay Area attractions, or the need for a strong image and identity, regional cooperation and planning is clearly the best approach. It is in this spirit that the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs and the Arts Council of Santa Clara County have come together in this joint planning process.

Finally, in carrying out this plan, the concept of "region" has come to expand. What began as a City/County plan has expanded to encompass the broader area called "Silicon Valley." Indeed, that is one of the most important underpinnings of the strategies that have been developed.


Why A "Cultural" Plan?

Arts 20/20 was, as its name indicates, an "arts" plan. But even in 1988, as planners considered the arts in San Jose, they recognized that the life of the City was made immensely richer by many kinds of activities and organizations that go beyond the narrower traditional definition of the arts. Some of these activities honored the cultures of other places and peoples, often through community wide festivals or celebrations. Some addressed community problems through recreational and educational activities that utilized the arts in supporting roles. Some celebrated local history and traditions. Arts 20/20 made a number of recommendations that demonstrated a movement toward this broader alliance of arts and culture.

As the subsequent planning process 20/21 got under way, what had been implicit in Arts 20/20 was made explicit. The planning partners decided that the plan in no way should be limited to the "fine arts" or to a very few types of institutions. Rather, it should consider culture broadly, whether it occurs in a neighborhood festival, a public park, a classroom, or in corporate headquarters.


What Values have Guided the Planning Process?

Several underlying values have guided the planning process. They include the following:

  • Recognizing diversity: The residents of San Jose/Santa Clara County take great pride in their ethnic and cultural diversity and see it as a strength. Building quality of life in communities: The role of arts and culture is first and foremost to improve the quality of the lives of people who live and work in San Jose/Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley and to build their sense of community.

  • Encouraging participation: The future success of local arts and cultural activities and institutions depends on the active involvement of everyone in helping to shape them.

  • Fostering innovation: The development of arts and culture in San Jose/Santa Clara County must be unique and appropriate to the area, proceeding with the same sense of innovation that characterizes businesses and community development in Silicon Valley.

  • Building on success: New initiatives should acknowledge and build on the extraordinary success that has been achieved already by arts and cultural organizations and programs and artists in the region.

  • Linking the arts and technology: The arts and technology should be allied, not antagonistic.

  • Public/private partnership: Effective cultural development depends on the active and cooperative involvement and financial resources of government and the private sector.

These crosscutting values should inform any and all initiatives that develop.


What is the Overall Guiding Vision for this Plan?

This plan is guided by an ambitious and expansive vision for the role that arts and culture could play in the community.

Our vision is that in the year 2500, historians will look back and say: "This was a community that helped shape what was best about the new millennium. They forged a second renaissance scientific discovery and innovation and exploration, economic dynamism and vitality, and they invented new, forms of public participation and cultural pluralism. It was a time when the arts and culture and community celebration became central to the definition of a civil society and a quality of life open to all. As the new millennium approached, this was a community that decided that the name 'Silicon Valley' should be as identified with innovation and achievement in arts and culture as it was with economic and technological accomplishments. "


What Strategies Support this Vision?

To ensure that the vision can be realized, the plan breaks it down into specific areas, each with a vision statement and a set of strategies. These arc summarized below:



The Vision: An innovatively designed, coordinated network of arts and cultural learning opportunities regionwide that draws on the rich diversity of the area and serves people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.

Recommended Strategies:
- Instituting "High Five," an incentive program to get the public school system Countywide to increase the percent of per pupil expenditure on arts education from 2% to 5%.
- Establishing a Professional Development School for Arts and Cultural Education serving teachers, administrators, artists, arts organizations, and parent volunteers.
- Creating the first "Culture Corps" in the nation to provide internships and youth service opportunities in arts and culture.
- Establishing an incentive program for artists and arts organizations to provide cultural education within a network of neighborhood and community cultural centers.
- Creating a "Cultural Passport" program as an employee benefit for families.
- Establishing a "Youth Cultural Council" run by and for young people ages 12 to 20 utilizing existing institutions to develop relevant programs.



The Vision: A strong, well supported, diverse community of artists and cultural organizations, recognized for their unique and innovative work, and supplied with an adequate number of good quality facilities.

Recommended Strategies:
- Providing technical and funding assistance for organizational and program development.
- Developing a technical assistance and grants program for individual artists focused on business and career development.
- Building one or two mid sized theaters of 7501,500 seats.
- Creating one or more Civic Galleries to benefit local artists.
- Undertaking a new stabilization1capacity building initiative to provide adequate capitalization of local cultural organizations.
- Implementing a coordinated marketing program linked to other non arts entities promoting the area.
- Establishing an International Silicon Valley Festival of Culture and Innovation to showcase what is special about the area.

Encouraging more opportunities to link the arts and technology.



The Vision: Neighborhoods and communities well supplied with facilities where people participate enthusiastically in widely available arts and cultural activities.

Recommended Strategies:
- Investing in the development and maintenance Of neighborhood/community cultural centers in the City and County serving artists, cultural organizations, audiences, and community members.
- Building the capacity of "anchor" organizations that support arts and culture in neighborhoods/communities.
- Changing the percentforart ordinance in San Jose to get more public art into the neighborhoods.
- Instituting a County wide neighborhood and community-oriented touring/artist in residence program.
- Sponsoring an "Arts Open House" and several "PayIf You-Want" days County wide.
- Establishing partnerships between cultural organizations and neighborhood institutions to reach special populations (seniors, the disabled, the incarcerated, drug and alcohol dependent individuals, and you that risk).



The Vision: A regional leadership group working with a linked net work of agencies to provide the necessary identity, resources, public policy, research, and advocacy/visibility for arts and culture to translate this plan into reality.

Recommended Strategies:
- Developing a Silicon Valley identity and geography for arts and culture during the course of the plan's implementation.
- Assembling a private sector leadership group to help with the implementation of the plan.
- Creating a ten year private sector fund raising plan.
- Formulating a plan for increasing public sector support, including the exploration of dedicated taxes for arts and culture.
- Considering new public policies with respect to percentforart and the operation and maintenance of cultural facilities.
- Establishing an ongoing system of research and benchmarking to monitor progress on the implementation of the plan.


To view the entire summary report, you may download the following Word 6.0 (Mac and PC compatible) documents:


For more information about the 20/21 Plan, call Lynn Rogers (408) 277-3289.


Last Modified: 11.05.07