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Montebello Accepting Applications for Cultural Arts Committee

Residents interested in contributing to Montebello’s art and cultural activities can apply for one of 10 or more spots on a new committee that will oversee the city’s plans for building and operating a cultural arts center at Taylor Ranch Park.

The city council has approved an application process for the new Taylor Ranch Cultural Arts Committee, which will include two appointees from each council member, expected to be made sometime next month. The ad-hoc committee will provide recommendations and input on the facility that has been in the works since 2008, but stalled due to a lack of funding caused by the dissolution of the city’s redevelopment agency, according to Senior Project Manager Norma Salinas.

A temporary Blue Ribbon panel created in 2009 to help the city come up with the general concept and design for the center at Taylor Ranch Park on Montebello Boulevard was disbanded after completing their assignment. Members of the new committee are expected to pick up where the old committee left off, and be responsible for developing a plan to move forward, including identifying potential funding sources.

During last week’s council meeting, Mayor Christina Cortez said the council’s decision last month to postpone making appointments is keeping the project from moving forward.

It’s time to “move quickly,” she said.

Salinas told the council the application process was developed in response to inquiries from residents asking how they can be appointed to the committee, which will help oversee the center’s design, cost and functions.

Montebello approved the 11,000 square-foot fully furnished arts facility project, with an estimated cost of $4.6 million, in 2009. According to city records, the blue ribbon committee recommended a “Tuscan Mediterranean” design for the facility, which is to be used for art, music and dance classes, art exhibits, and rented out for special events, banquets, and to community organizations. The facility would include an art gallery among its many features.

Salinas told EGP the city is waiting to secure funds for phase two of the project. She hopes the new commission will address the funding issue as well as recommending ways to promote the arts in the city. They need to explore ways to subsidize the center and create ideas for training volunteers to offset staffing costs, she said.

The cultural arts committee will be temporary; disbanding one year after the art center is built. According to Salinas, however, it could take months or years before construction starts.

“Once built, [however], it’s going to be a champion in the San Gabriel Valley,” said Salinas. “It’s going to be a place for all the arts.”

The deadline to apply for a seat on the commission is Wednesday, Oct. 16. Applicants will be given an opportunity to speak on their behalf during the Oct. 23 council meeting, before council members make their appointments.

Salinas assured council members that they have the option to appoint more than 10 residents to the committee, should they decide to. There is no age limit, but the committee is geared towards adults, says Salinas.

Interested residents can download an application from the city’s website, or pick one up from the city clerk’s office or the Department of Parks and Recreation.

For more information, contact the Montebello City Clerk’s office at (323) 887-1437.