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Style Magazine

City Assets

May 31, 2008 05:00PM ● By Super Admin

Imagine living in a world where paying bills is the equivalent of paying yourself. For local residents, this dream scenario is a tried-and-true reality, one that fulfills our duties as responsible, abiding citizens, while simultaneously necessitating a collective need to improve the community we call home. As Folsom residents, this opportunity has taken shape as Take Part in the Arts, a bill-paying initiative that began more than a decade ago.

Established in 1997 by The Folsom Arts and Cultural Commission (FACC), a group of culturally concerned citizens whose vision has always been to create a vital arts endowment to support and sustain community artistry for local residents and members of the business community, Take Part in the Arts is, according to the City of Folsom Web site, a “community-wide effort to raise funds for art and cultural services.” The campaign has grown exponentially since its inception, thanks in large part to the ceaseless and creative lobbying of the FACC.

In addition to helping fund such popular local events as the City’s free summer Concert in the Park series, as well as new shows for the Gallery at 48 Natoma, including an upcoming visiting exhibit from the Smithsonian, it also supports arts education and outreach programs essential to establishing a community’s cultural center. Funds raised from Take Part in the Arts, for example, help to offset six to seven weeks of operating costs associated with hosting a visiting exhibit. But how does it work, exactly? Would you believe through something as simple as paying your utility bill?

Citizens make donations by writing in the intended amounts in a blank box provided on their monthly utility bills, which are then funneled appropriately and immediately to Take Part in the Arts projects. “Donations can be in pennies or dollars,” says Sandy Hilton, community and cultural services manager with the City of Folsom, and liaison with the FACC. She adds that even the smallest donations help to ensure the long-term presence of quality arts programs. And if you think that a $1 donation cannot possibly make a difference, think again; the longevity of the program suggests its success.

“The more money we receive, the more programs we can provide the public,” Hilton says. “Any amount is accepted and appreciated; every donation is counted and has a direct and immediate impact,” explains Hilton. But how is that impact measured? For starters, if every household and business in the City of Folsom donated just $1 through their utility bill each month (less than a cup of coffee) the City’s Arts Endowment would see an estimated growth in funds of approximately $20,000 per month to benefit new programs, support established ones, and sustain cultural progress for generations. Case in point: a new public art fund and sculpture garden at the Gallery at 48 Natoma, among other events and projects ideas that have yet to manifest.

For more information on Take Part in the Arts, or to find out how to attend a monthly FACC meeting, please visit the City of Folsom online at •