City moves forward with arts commission

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 5, 2018

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EASTPOINTE — An Arts and Cultural Diversity Commission is coming to Eastpointe after the Eastpointe City Council unanimously adopted the ordinance to form the nine-member commission May 15. 

The nine members will be appointed by Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley and the Eastpointe City Council. 

Eastpointe Building Official and Director of Community and Economic Development Mary Van Haaren originally presented the idea during the council’s March 27 meeting. 

Members of the commission should be residents of Eastpointe, and city employees also may be considered. 

The members will serve three-year terms. Three members will be appointed for three years, three members will be appointed for two years and three members will be appointed for one year.  

The commission will promote arts and cultural initiatives in public areas; develop and implement citywide programs and events; enlist active support of interested individuals, businesses, industry, schools and civic organizations; work with local, state and federal agencies to take advantage of available resources; and actively sponsor, plan and staff appropriate programs. 

In an email to the Eastsider May 30, Van Haaren stated that she was “excited” that the council adopted the ordinance. 

“The next step is to gather applications of those interested in serving on the board and submitting them to the mayor and council, who will appoint the nine-member commission,” she stated.  

Van Haaren stated that with the commission, the city can continue to move forward and add to its “Family Town.” 

“I sincerely believe that in bringing diverse art and culture to the city that the residents and businesses will find common ground and shared interests. I believe that art can bridge a gap that may exist in our culture and that in understanding the unique expressions of a culture’s art, we begin to understand the people and appreciate the diversity,” stated Van Haaren.  

Last fall, Eastpointe hosted an art exhibition for the reopening of the Patriot Building at Spindler Park. Van Haaren, who will be the employee liaison to the commission, will assist as needed. 

“I am in the process of notifying those artists that participated in last year’s art exhibition, as well as others in the community who have expressed an interest in this commission. Once the board is identified, we will gather together and start building the commission and identifying artistic and cultural opportunities,” stated Van Haaren. 

Pixley said that in order for the commission to be effective, it has to provide a variety of opportunities for the community. 

“This is a really good way for different types of art to come out and be seen in Eastpointe, whether that be an art fair, art exhibit or classes with different types of art. This group will be able to put things together and provide opportunities for all of the residents,” said Pixley. 

Applications will be accepted year-round, according to Van Haaren. The first set of applications will go to the council for consideration at the Eastpointe City Council meeting at 7 p.m. June 19. 

“If the nine positions are filled, we continue to accept applications and appoint people as openings occur,” stated Van Haaren. 

Commission applications can be found on the city’s website, www.cityofeastpointe.net, by clicking “Get information” in the left column under the “How Do I?” header. 

Call Staff Writer Bria Brown at (586) 498-1030.