Westminster arts plan looks to amplify urban culture

City implements community feedback as it drafts 2019 plan

Casey Van Divier
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 1/2/19

A new plan that considers how Westminster will improve public access to art is less a plan of action than a general road map. “There’s not going to be a specific timeline of ‘OK, in 2019, …

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Westminster arts plan looks to amplify urban culture

City implements community feedback as it drafts 2019 plan

Posted

A new plan that considers how Westminster will improve public access to art is less a plan of action than a general road map.

“There’s not going to be a specific timeline of ‘OK, in 2019, we’re going to do this and we’re going to need x amount of dollars,’” said Ryan Hegreness, operations manager for Westminster’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Libraries. “It’s more of a guiding document for where we head strategically as a city.”

The City of Westminster has developed its first Arts and Culture Master Plan, aiming to have a final draft completed by January 2019.

The plan is a strategic effort to align the cultural visions and efforts of groups all over the community, Hegreness said.

City staff members have been discussing the plan since 2017 and began gathering community input in 2018, holding three meetings with stakeholders and three meetings open to anyone in the community. The city also posted an online survey for community members, which closed Dec. 5.

In total, the city heard from more than 20 employees, 20 outside organizations and 120 community members.

“Anyone in the community had the ability to provide their input on the future of arts and culture in Westminster,” Hegreness said. “What do they like, what do they want to see - we got all of those ideas collected.”

Currently, the plan does not entail any major policy changes or construction projects, he said. Rather, the plan outlines both short-term and long-term ways in which the city can support the arts community.

Hegreness added that if the city ever decides that the plan calls for a specific project or policy to be implemented, staff members will seek city council’s approval for both the timeline and budget of these ventures.

The final draft of the Arts and Culture Master Plan will be received by the City Council in January 2019. Hegreness hopes the plan will help the city achieve its overarching aspirations for life in Westminster.

“Our city’s vision is becoming the next urban center on Colorado’s Front Range,” he said. “We believe that an integral part of that is arts and culture - the opportunity for people to be exposed to artwork and diverse cultural experiences.”

Ginger White Brunetti, the interim executive director for Denver Arts & Venues, agreed with Hegreness. Throughout her career, she has identified four major elements that make or break a city’s cultural scene: initial community interest in the arts, an infrastructure that can support the arts, funding for the arts and a strong cultural plan.

For Denver, that plan is Imagine 2020, which launched in March 2014. Westminster’s plan draws several parallels with Imagine 2020, as both documents aim to set long-term guidelines for how arts and culture should function within the city.

However, Imagine 2020 also outlines specific action items under each of its seven “vision elements,” which include heightened accessibility of the arts and the integration of the arts into everyday life.

Denver works toward its cultural goals through a variety of vehicles, including two major aspects of the plan: the Imagine 2020 grants provided to cultural groups and a speaker series, which White Brunetti said informs community members of “tools to help them implement parts of the plan.”

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