With an eye on tourism and development, Georgetown endorses arts and culture commission | New

GEORGETOWN — Georgetown City Council gave final approval to a city ordinance establishing an arts and culture commission on Nov. 17, with appointments of members tentatively slated for late winter or spring.

The commission will assume 17 responsibilities under the council-approved ordinance, including creating public arts policy for the city, researching and creating cultural events, and working with the SC Arts Commission to “enhance the city’s efforts to become an artistic tourist destination”. .”

City administrator Sandra Yúdice said she had been considering the idea of ​​such a commission since before the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She spent two decades working for Greenville County and told the Georgetown Times that she was impressed with the proliferation of public art in Greenville, particularly in the West Greenville neighborhood.

Yúdice then worked as an assistant administrator for Richland County before moving to Georgetown in 2019, where she said she was struck by the lack of arts-related events and festivals.

“We have a few galleries here… concerts, I know the Winyah auditorium board has concerts, but to attract people I think we need more arts and culture events” , Yúdice said. “So that’s where the idea of ​​creating a commission came from.”

At the November 17 council meeting, Councilor Hobson Henry Milton said it was imperative that the commission be made up of town residents, while Mayor Carol Jayroe expressed concern about the effect of the commission on the planning department, which she described as “very short”. -with staff.

“If we have to move more slowly on this…then I would just like to give thanks to the staff that we have, that we don’t tax our staff with another commission before we can deal with the ones that we have,” Gyroe said.

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All commission members will be volunteers, but two of the five seats are already filled by ordinance: one by the city’s Main Street program coordinator, Al Joseph, and another by chairman Richard Heusel of the board of directors. Winya Auditorium.

The ordinance further requires that one member be a “working professional artist” and another be an art teacher in the Georgetown County School District.

As approved Nov. 17, the ordinance requires members to be “residents of the city or owners of a business within the city limits of Georgetown,” or in the event members cannot be found in the city, at least residents of Georgetown County.

“I hope we get what we need because the city really needs this push,” Yúdice said. “Perhaps the commission will eventually recommend the creation of an arts district. If you go to West Greenville…the renaissance of this district is due to the arts.”

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Researching the feasibility of an arts district in Georgetown is among the commission’s responsibilities in the ordinance passed Nov. 17.

City spokeswoman Cindy Thompson, who was previously director of Keep Georgetown Beautiful, said she was confident the commission would be well received in the community.

“There’s been discussions over the years about wanting to do something like this, and so several organizations, I think, have wanted to step in and do something like this,” Thompson said.

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James C. Tibbs