Culver City Arts Foundation welcomes former Mayor Jim B. Clarke

By Kamala Kirk

Culver City Arts Foundation recently named former Culver City Mayor Jim B. Clarke as board chair.

Clarke played an integral role in the inception of the foundation when it spun off from the city of Culver City in 2018 and was established as an independent nonprofit organization. He has served as vice chair since 2018 and solidified a commitment to prioritize funding Culver City Cultural Affairs programming and projects.

Through Clarke’s dedicated fundraising, Culver Arts has supported the Artist Laureate program with almost $18,000. Alexey Steele is Culver City’s first official artist laureate.

Culver Arts also provided $40,000 in funds for the city’s performing arts grant, which helped transition local performances to the virtual space during COVID-19.

In addition to supporting the various projects, Clarke helped Culver Arts establish the Arts Resiliency Fund to aid local artists through this critical year of lockdowns and even longer recovery from the pandemic.

Clarke takes over for former board chair Kathy Sue Holtorf, who will remain an active board member.
Sehnita Joshua Mattison, who has worked as a TV producer for Telepictures and “Judge Judy” moves up to the vice chair position after serving as the treasurer and secretary.

Eric Sims, associate general manager at the Kirk Douglas Theater, also remains on the executive committee returning to his role as secretary after serving as treasurer for the last year.

Dr. Tony Sano with the Culver City High School Music and AVPA Program will join the executive committee as treasurer.

“Culver Arts is providing grants to artists to pay for utilities and other basic expenses so artists can maintain focus on their creative work,” Clarke said.

“Artists are not only essential for our creative economy to thrive, they help Culver City remain resilient when so many factors are trying to pull us apart. The arts have the power to unite our community.”

A second round of funds to deliver another $10,000 to local artists is already in the works. The foundation’s goal is to raise $100,000 and distribute grants on a rolling basis to artists and arts organizations.

Since its launch in 2018, Culver Arts has supported the city’s arts scene, providing major funding to programs such as the Culver City Performing Arts Grants and the artist laureate program.

For the past year, Culver Arts has been partnering with the Helms Bakery District on #ProjectingPossibilities, a year-long project with the Helms Bakery District that highlights a local artist each week.

The board is filling two previously open positions and expanding its advisory committee.

For anyone interested in joining the board or advisory board, send an email to Clarke at jimbclarke@gmail.com.

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