Karen Constine: Creating a Cultural Plan


From its early beginnings in 2008/2009 even on the heels of the recession, the City of Burbank’s Park, Recreation and Community Services Department staff assembled deeply committed stakeholders to create its Burbank Cultural Arts Plan. Together, they worked solidly during a six-month process to establish a cohesive set of goals to focus, develop and amplify the diverse and vibrant arts community that enriches the lives of Burbank’s residents.

This process was supported by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, which received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the LA County Quality and Productivity Commission’s Productivity Investment Fund, to implement an initiative to support five municipalities in creating municipal cultural plans. 

Burbank Cultural Planning CommissionWhy cultural plan? Cultural plans are a valuable tool for building community consensus and catalyzing the role of the arts. They often result in teambuilding processes that spark new leadership and resources needed to achieve audience expansion, embark on improved art initiatives and increase funding from public and private sources.

Steadfast in their determination and fueled by mapping their rich cultural asset inventory, the Burbank Cultural Arts Committee rolled up its sleeves and focused on four key goals including formalizing cultural leadership; stimulating support, awareness and arts participation; extending art education access to every generation; and maximizing the use of existing facilities for all forms of the arts.

Through this journey, subcommittees were formed, additional stakeholders were identified along the way and new partnership emerged.  The Committee also organized a town hall style meeting where more than 100 residents and businesses offered feedback on the plan’s objectives.

At the conclusion of this process, the cultural plan (click to view) was adopted by both the Committee and the City of Burbank in summer 2009.  

But wait… this impressive stakeholder group continued to work together after the plan’s adoption to ensure its implementation. The collaborative that has been described as ‘amazing’ by more than one committee member has an impressive list of additional achievements just a year after the plan was approved. A website subcommittee working with Woodbury University created a Burbank Cultural Arts logo, a tag line (“Burbank Arts- Embracing the Arts”), and a Burbank Arts website is underway.  A private contributor donated $10,000 to this initiative.
Burbank Arts Commission
In fall 2010, the Burbank City Council allocated $50,000 and created a 9 member Cultural Affairs Commission (pictured at right), which includes six members from the original planning committee. The Cultural Arts Advisory Committee is encouraged to continue and stay actively involved as all Burbank stakeholders are important for support and input into the Commission’s ongoing work and future activities.

There are many highlights to the plan process – including the formation of a Cultural Arts Commission that will work to ensure the arts are accessible to all and provide a vision to identify Burbank as a regional arts destination.

Equally, a highlight that I vastly value here is the power of collaboration. With each planning meeting, more stakeholders came to the table; the area’s university took on tasks and involved its undergraduates and the community and business leaders spoke on behalf of the arts.

Together, this initiative changed minds from the arts are “nice to have” to “have to have” and much more is ahead.

To learn more visit the Burbank Arts Website (underway), follow on Facebook and attend future meetings.

Karen Constine
Karen Constine (pictured, right) is a public affairs + arts/cultural management consultant; a Senior Partner with Allison Sampson Management Consultants (ASMC); and Consulting COO for ForYourArt. ASMC served as facilitators for the Burbank Cultural Arts Plan and Beverly Hills Art Plan. Both cities were a part of Los Angeles County Art Commission’s Municipal Cultural Planning Initiative. Karen served as co-facilitator for both of these plans.  To contact Karen, email karenconstine-at-yahoo.com.

Los Angeles County Arts Commission Municipal Cultural Planning Initiative: http://www.lacountyarts.org/mcpi.html
City of Burbank, Cultural Arts: http://www.burbankarts.com
Burbank Cultural Arts Plan: http://www.ci.burbank.ca.us/index.aspx?page=255 

Photo of Cultural Affairs Commission: Back row, left to right: Barbara J. Beckley, Cynthia Pease, Jan Osborn.  Front row, left to right: Edward Arno, Alice Asmar, Robert Shahnazarian (Chair), Linda Willner (Vice Chair), Peggy Flynn 

School Arts and Local Performing Arts Organizations

As a lover of the performing and visual arts and a believer in preserving them, I participate in several arts-related committees in my community.  Among those are parent-driven committees, dedicated to keeping the arts in their children's schools. Yet members of these same organizations don't seem to maximize their childrens' exposure to the arts by attending local professional arts performances, as a family, OUTSIDE of the schools.  Local ballet companies, orchestras and theatre group performances are perfect resouces for parents to attend WITH their children to demonstrate their beliefs in these art forms and support them - not simply leaving it to the resources of local schools.


Thank you,

Jonas's Nan