Jaydon Randall….At the Vista City Council meeting on August 9th I spoke in front of the Council asking them to consider waiving the Vista Art Foundations street closure fees for the 2016 Alley Art Festival. This is the 3rd year of the festival. 2014 was our first year and we had received a small grant from Bill Horns office which we used to pay for the festival as the festival was small in size. 2015 we partnered with Labrador Enterprises and they funded much of the festival.
This year we applied for another grant, but only received $5,000, which was only about 19 percent of what we applied for. This year the festival has grown to be about 3 times the size of the first festival. I requested a waiver of our street closure fees due to our increase in size, but lack of help with our funding.
I felt that this request was not unreasonable because in the two previous years of the festival we, the VAF, have left behind 3 murals and 2 sculptures at an approximate value of $60,000.
This year another mural will be painted and 2 new sculptures will be going in. Unfortunately there are no funds to pay for the sculptures, so as the artists, we will be maintaining ownership. So far the city has received $60,000 in art and all we were requesting was $1,700 in fee waivers.
I was very disappointed when at the meeting on August 23rd our request was declined by 4 out of five City Council members, Councilman Campbell was in favor. Their reasoning on declining our request was that they felt it would create a slippery slope, where if they waived the fees for one event they would have to waive the fees for all events.
During the meeting both Mayor Ritter and Councilman Franklin said they would help us and both have since made donations to the VAF.
After the meeting there were several requests posted on social media by people who heard our plea, including a post by Councilman Franklin. Due to the exposure of our need for assistance several donations have come in which we are very grateful for.
I feel that the City Council should revisit their policy on fees charged to events and take in consideration what they, the City, are getting out of the event. The Alley Art Festival is the only event that leaves behind a tangible, physical change to the downtown which increases the value and helps the City of Vista to achieve its Downtown Vista Specific Plan goal of a Historic Downtown Arts and Cultural District.
To Donate, go to http://www.Vistaart.org
Fees? The City of Vista should be subsidizing events like this. They bring in business through foot traffic, and contribute to a positive image that the community badly needs.