Malibu Arts Commission looks into this year’s commission assignments

During the Malibu Arts Commission meeting on April 26, Community Service Deputy Director Kristin Riesgo presented the commission assignments they will work on for the fiscal year, which goes from July 1 to June 30, 2023. The department also addressed the challenges in staff shortages to be able to complete tasks. 

In the previous Malibu Arts Commission meeting on March 22, vice president of the Malibu Film Society Board John Johannessen said the Malibu Film Society has been hosting events at Pacific Palisades and Agoura Hills, but not in Malibu and is hoping to look for a location to host their events. 

“I think the Malibu Film Society is critical to the culture of this city,” Commissioner Peter Jones said. 

Other commissioners agreed with Jones and included Malibu Film Society in their completed assignments for the next fiscal year. 

The completed assignments include:

  • Facilitate regular art exhibitions and related events at city facilities and businesses. 
  • Provide feedback regarding advertising, marketing, and website content for cultural arts programs and events, including the Malibu Arts Commission website. 
  • Work with staff to produce cultural arts programs and events including Arts in Education outreach in Malibu schools. 
  • Provide opportunities for and coordinate meetings with Malibu business owners and artists to promote, recognize, invest in, and exhibit local artists. 
  • Provide feedback regarding updates for arts events, programs, and projects. 
  • Review and provide feedback regarding a new commission logo and branding. 
  • Submit a mid-year written report to the City Council on commission activities. 
  • Explore the idea of having a performing arts center. 

Commissioners discussed general and specific ideas to implement in each assignment and included the wording for cultural arts programs, screenings and events. 

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The commission is interested in developing new relationships with other art commission cities that will help broaden their horizon.

The Malibu Arts Center and the Solstice Canyon Creek Beautification Project item was moved to be discussed in the next Malibu Arts Commission meeting. 

Community Service Director Jesse Bobbett provided staff updates and the City Council’s decision to return to virtual meetings after the first in-person meeting on May 9, however the Malibu Arts Commission will continue to meet virtually.

“We’ll do our best to try to keep these moving virtually and we’ll be back in person soon in the future,” Bobbett said.

Bobbett said the City Council reviewed the first draft in the proposed budget during the special City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 27, and addressed the budget for the proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The council is also addressing the commission’s demands in wanting to create various projects on vacant lots in the city. 

“It’s a conversation that should really be had as a whole and what we want to do in one vacant property,” Bobbett said. “There’s no harm in the way we’re doing it now, but we do need to have some kind of public process overview.” 

Bobbett also addressed the ongoing issue the city has been struggling with is the shortage of staff and said the department has been struggling with being able to accommodate the commission’s requests in projects.

“You’re probably aware of our part-time staff issues and what we’re dealing with here,” Bobbett said. “We’re running at about 30 percent of our typical part-time staff who are really critical for doing things like the art exhibition, so it has limited our bandwidth significantly. It’s something that’s going to add even more to our plate.” 

Bobbett said as the programs increase, they’re at capacity to do what they can do, emphasizing the impact it has created in the departments as a whole.

“We essentially just absorbed the workload and most of it [has] fallen on Kristin [Riesgo],” Bobbett said. “Our initial hope is that we hire two new recreation coordinators that will help us alleviate some of the pressure.” 

Bobbett gave an emotional speech on the amount of work Riesgo has had with organizing these programs and community events.

“We need her as a functioning manager for our department, not just the direct handler of all things,” Bobbett said. 

He ended with recommending to the commission to consider hiring a specific full-time staff member with arts experience to help with handling commissions requests.

The Malibu Arts Commission meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. The next meeting will be held May 24.

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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