As Santa Rosa evolves from a suburban town into an urban city, and as population growth attracts more development, it’s important that we maintain and continue to support the cultural vibrancy of our amazing community. At Santa Rosa Urban Arts Partnership (SRUAP), we believe the way to balance growth and retain neighborhood character is through engaging arts programming; programming that encourages collective efficacy, fosters civic participation, and facilitates intercultural understanding by providing a common vocabulary for community building in our increasingly diverse society.
The objective is twofold: The first goal is to make Juilliard Park (“JP”) a place that brings the community together, encourages engagement, and improves access for a broader, more diverse representation of the community. A public/private partnership under NPO management could greatly contribute to the diversity and quality of recreational, educational,and preservation activities in Juilliard Park. As an organization dedicated to the advocacy of Juilliard Park, the non-profit would have a greater capacity to facilitate relationships with the community, incorporate feedback from neighbors into planning and programming, and collaborate with community activists to accomplish goals. With this community-based approach, SRUAP will develop a long-term strategy for more structural and programming improvements in JP to make it a more sociable, comfortable urban space.
The second goal is to create a stable, sustainable funding structure that can both relieve the City of financial pressure and allow for more robust management. SRUAP will be responsible for fundraising additional capital and managing the operating budget. Its status as a non-profit would make JP eligible for additional sources of funding, such as State, Federal, and private grants, and will be more attractive for private donors.
As a historical gem at the edge of downtown Santa Rosa, JP has the potential to become an exciting central gathering point for community activity. Originally designed in the 1930s by Howard Gilkey, JP is one of Santa Rosa’s oldest parks. Its long and wonderful history has unfortunately been colored by crime and vagrancy in recent decades. While many improvements have been made in the last few years, we believe with more resources the park could better serve a wider segment of the community.
In order to complete the revitalization begun by the creation of the Arts District in 2006, however, it is necessary to re-integrate this liminal space back into the cultural fabric of the neighborhood. To that end, we propose entering into a management agreement with the City wherein SRUAP takes on the management of and programming for Church of One Tree and oversees the funding and development of a new food-serving kiosk.
SRUAP can also be another resource for Santa Rosa’s Public Art Program (As defined by the Santa Rosa Public Art Master Plan, 2015) to rely on when it needs to partner for specialized expertise in project management and/or curatorial capabilities.
To realize this vision for Juilliard Park, we propose the following changes and initiatives to better maximize JP’s potential and generally improve our community’s safety, health, and education.
To create a destination area in the park where members of the community can meet, spend time together, and enjoy a snack in the outdoors, we will undertake the investment and construction of a kiosk near the children’s play area. This concessions kiosk would serve fresh food and beverages, such as sandwiches, pastries, ice cream, cold drinks, coffee, with flexible outdoor seating.
The kiosk will serve as an additional source of revenue for the NPO, helping to fund park maintenance and operations. It will also provide an attractive activity for parents while children take advantage of adjacent playground. Food service in public spaces encourages engagement and will bring more people into the park.
Church of One Tree provides us the opportunity to create a daily programming schedule to encourage frequent traffic through the park. To support this expanded programming,we intend to remodel the two storage sheds at the church as outdoor beverage and food serving stations to provide SRUAP a further revenue source. Church programming could range from classes to public discussions to music and theater. We would also provide venue rentals to the public for celebrations: weddings, birthdays, corporate events, and of course, serve as an operational center for large outdoor festivals and events in the park throughout the summer months.
Community programming would be run by SRUAP in collaboration with neighborhood organizations focused on the arts, preservation, and education. Possible programming could include: collaborating with Luther Burbank School on expanding their garden curriculum, cultivating a relationship between the school and Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, children’s summer art camps, volunteer planting and upkeep, as well as educational materials and programming based on Howard Gilkey’s original horticultural vision.