CSAC speaks up for National Arts & Humanities Month with TuolCo’s Board of Supervisors

October 7, 2010
By BZ Smith

On Tuesday, October 5th, CSAC’s Vice President B.Z. Smith gave a 5-minute speech for Tuolumne County’s Board of ┬áSupervisors’ Meeting to address the significance of the arts and humanities, our cultural roots, in California’s Sierra Foothills. ┬áHere is the text of that speech…“On behalf of Central Sierra Arts Council and the many arts and cultural organizations of Tuolumne County, I invite you to join us as we celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month.

From coast to coast communities are marking the important role of arts and cultural experiences that deepen our American roots and help us remember our heritage as we plan for our future. Our strength as a community has always come from an ability to see ourselves in each other. It is artists, musicians, performers, historians, and writers who help enable us to find that common humanity.

Tuolumne County’s human history begins with the long reach of the Tuolumne Band of Me Wuk, the Spanish ranchers who discovered our rich grasslands, rivers and streams. The Miners of Sonora, Mexico, who found gold even before Marshall and Sutter. The footprints of immigrants, from all over the world, who traveled to our hills for the California Gold Rush. Let’s celebrate ranching, logging and farming families who built roads, railroads, towns, who founded our schools and libraries. Let’s not forget the many people who toiled these hills during America’s Great Depression. Let’s remember the cultural Revolution that began when Columbia College opened 42 years ago, bringing a new wave of artists, writers, actors, musicians and yes, hippies. And now today we have the promise of a Next generation of artists, musicians. actors, historians–The keepers of our culture, the very ones who bring us their spark of creative impulse.

Today our county sits on a sleeping giant: Our creative arts economy, a rich untapped resource. Over 500 visual artists, performers, writers and historians live and work in Tuolumne County. They are primed to welcome visitors, to collaborate, to enhance the lives of each and every resident of our beautiful mountain home. But this sleeping giant needs the encouragement and support of the broader community.

So, today I ask each member of the honorable BOS, each County employee, all of us gathered in this assembly and every one of Cable 8′s viewers to wake up! Embrace this amazing creative community, and get out to enjoy National Arts & Humanities Month. This month attend one of our stellar plays presented by Duende Drama, Sierra Repertory Theatre or Stage 3. This month make time to attend the Sonora Bach Festival, Twain Harte’s Oktoberfest , Groveland’s ITSA Film Festival or Sonora’s Hallowe’en Fantasy Festival. This month visit one of our many county museums, and spend a day visiting our state historic parks–Columbia and Railtown 1897. Check out what is happening at Columbia College. Read a book by a local author. While you’re at it, dig deep into the traditions and history of the MeWuk People. Go to the Rancheria and visit their new tribal library with its exceptional California Indian collection. Go to the Tuolumne County Library and check out the amazing new mural, “Pastures & Pines” created by Tracy Knopf, Tuolumne County’s largest public art project to date. AND on The Second Saturday Evening in October get OUT to visit one of downtown Sonora’s six art galleries.

“We are blessed to live in a community rich with arts and cultural opportunities, but all of these efforts need support. This year Central Sierra Arts Council marks its 40th Anniversary, and October also begins our annual membership drive. We invite this entire audience to be a member of CSAC. Today we are working diligently to help coordinate, cooperate and collaborate with these many arts and cultural organizations so that our creative arts economy can grow with cohesive planning. Thank you for your time and your attention this morning. I hope that these words bring greater awareness to the amazing arts and cultural resources of Tuolumne County.”

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