MARCH, 2009

We, the Mayors of the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond have come together to state our strong commitment to strengthening the regional economy through creating the East Bay Cultural Corridor (EBCC). The intention of the EBCC is to heighten awareness of our cultural landscape, deepen the impact of the arts on their cities, and further the sustainability of artists and arts organizations through arts marketing, economic development and cultural tourism.

The arts drive economies. As Americans for the Arts note in their report "Arts and Economic Prosperity III," investment in the arts translates to economic impact on restaurants, retail stores, hotels and other businesses frequented by arts patrons. The average amount spent on such businesses by local arts audiences is $27 above the price of admission to the art event; cultural tourists from outside the area spend an average of $19 to $40. Creating sustainable arts communities is good business.

The East Bay is a region of widely diverse cultural backgrounds. Its arts and culture reflect its demographics, boasting individual artists, arts groups and organizations working in a range of disciplines from a variety of cultural perspectives. From individual artists working and teaching in communities to nationally recognized theatres and museums, the East Bay provides arts experiences that make the area a regional cultural treasure. Its arts presence has contributed to urban development, has a positive impact on local businesses, and has the potential for creating more viable and sustainable communities. In discussions with artists, increased and targeted marketing was identified as the factor most critical to higher patronage, which in turn enhances artists' sustainability.

The arts culture in each partner city has different components, different strengths, and different ways in which it interacts with the larger community. This collaboration between these cities was created in recognition of this, and the knowledge that working together creates opportunity for a cultural presence with wider impact than each city could have individually. The East Bay Community Foundation and The San Francisco Foundation, both 501c(3)c not-for-profit corporations, are partnering in the initial phase of this collaboration by raising funds through writing grants.

We see this partnership as the beginning of a wider regional collaboration between government, arts and culture, and business in the years to come.

It is the intention that the East Bay Cultural Corridor will result in marketing and outreach that will benefit the region and its individual cities in the following ways.

1) Create a Relationship Between the Diverse Arts Communities of Each City
While artists may form communities within their disciplines or immediate neighborhood, there is often less opportunity for artists to share ideas, best artistic and business practices or co-create outside their own communities. The East Bay Cultural Corridor, through joint marketing and the potential for joint artistic products, will create a new level of communication across city borders by promoting the proximity and cultural connections between East Bay cities.

2) Leverage New Audiences and Resources for the Arts
The need for additional marketing support is a common theme among artists of every discipline. Developing new audiences and resources is paramount, no matter the size of an arts organization or business. Sustainability is not achievable without new sources of patrons and income. Connecting the arts to a larger regional presence enhances the face of individual artists, groups and businesses, and provides an appealing context for spreading the marketing message to a larger and broader audience.

3) Increase the Visibility, Accessibility and Sustainability of Arts Communities
New audiences and resources are attracted by higher visibility and ease of accessing cultural offerings. Higher visibility also highlights neighborhoods and surrounding businesses, Once audiences are comfortable with locating and attending an arts event, they are more likely to return. That higher rate of return increases public traffic to these communities, their artists and business owners.

4) Leverage New Resources for Each Partner City
East Bay cities are seeking ways to enhance resources. A thriving artist environment is an indicator of good quality of life for residents, and is an attractor for new funding and development. This enhances cities individually and adds to a positive sense of the living environment as a whole, which attracts resources in the form of visitors, new residents and new monies.

5) Benefit Local Businesses Through Partnerships with the Arts, Regionally and Locally
In addition to development opportunities, partnerships between business and the arts can be a huge advantage to both enterprises. Collaborations between service industries such as restaurants and hotels can be more attractive through partnering with a local arts organization that is part of a regional presence.

PRINCIPLES OF PARTNERSHIP The collaborators for the East Bay Cultural Corridor agree to the following principles of partnership:

  • Each city:
    • has identified a specific participant or participants;
    • meets the responsibilities laid out in the mutually agreed upon workplan; and
    • is equally visible and has equal accessibility to the benefits of the work produced.
  • Facilitators have been working with the partners to solidify development of the workplan and the way cities will work together. Funds have already been provided for this aspect of the project by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation.
  • There is equal representation of each partner in all aspects of this project. That also means that work is apportioned and executed equally, and agreed upon by the partners.
  • The work plan includes:
    • project description and joint and individual city benefits/responsibilities;
    • delegation and implementation responsibilities for all four cities, based on individual capacity/available resources;
    • project time frame and completion date;
    • joint grantwriting structure;
    • meeting schedule with required attendance;
    • fundraising recommendations.


City of Berkeley
Barbara Hillman, President Berkeley Convention & Visitors Bureau and Film Office
Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator, City of Berkeley Office of Economic Development

City of Emeryville
Lisa Sullivan, Emeryville Economic Dev. & Housing Dept.
Sharon Wilchar, Project Coordinator, Emeryville Celebration of the Arts

City of Oakland
Samee Roberts, City of Oakland, Manager, Cultural Arts & Marketing
Steven Huss, City of Oakland, Cultural Arts Program Coordinator
Lori Zook, Oakland Cultural Arts Commission

City of Richmond
Michele Seville, Arts & Culture Manager
Michelle Itagaki, Richmond Convention & Visitors Bureau

East Bay Community Foundation
Diane Sanchez, Director of Grantmaking and Donor Services

The San Francisco Foundation
John Killacky, Program Officer, Arts and Culture

To ensure that our commitment to this Statement of Principles has lasting value, all signatories agree to form and participate in an East Bay Cultural Corridor Partnership that will meet periodically to strategize and coordinate our various implementation efforts.

Tom Bates, Mayor, City of Berkeley

Richard Kassis, Mayor, City of Emeryville

Ron Dellums, Mayor, City of Oakland

Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor, City of Richmond

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