Why Yuba-Sutter Needs a Master Cultural Plan

Cultural Master Plan

By David Read, Executive Director – Yuba Sutter Arts

Cultural planning is a place-based process that generates a vision and action plan for strengthening and growing arts and cultural assets. The planning process provides an opportunity for our region to expand and enhance artistic and cultural opportunities for the broader community and visitors.  The process also serves to strengthen, leverage, and integrate artistic, cultural and historic resources and to advance broader objectives in the areas of economic prosperity, social equity, and cultural vitality.  Throughout this article, the term “culture” and “cultural” include arts, culture, history, heritage and humanities.

But why does Yuba-Sutter need a Cultural Plan? The arts and culture have not done a good job of articulating their value to the local economy.  A Cultural Plan can help open the door to much larger community-wide grant and other funding opportunities.  It helps address topics including: social cohesion; community engagement; arts and culture programming; services for the creative community; cultural and heritage site economic development; and funding for arts and culture, including public art.

Yuba Sutter Arts, in collaboration with the California Arts Council, has begun the Cultural Planning process by hosting monthly meetings which began in June.  Participation by a broad cross section of community leaders and the general public has been excellent.  All are encouraged to attend and participate in the process.

The development of a comprehensive Cultural Plan for Yuba-Sutter will help define a broad set of goals and strategies that align with other defined community needs and opportunities in other topic areas (e.g., economic development, cultural tourism) and provide a framework for more specific cultural planning work that will occur in the future.

We are starting the process with a comprehensive, community-wide Needs Assessment Survey.  It will help us determine interests and participation in what is available locally and to what extent our residents visit other cities for art and culture experiences.

We want to celebrate our heritage and the people, places, traditions and events that contribute to the quality of life in Yuba-Sutter. We want to invite others to visit and explore all that we enjoy in our community. We are home to more than 50 arts, culture and history organizations that produce hundreds of events a year including annual festivals, street fairs, art walks, parades and exhibitions.

Our history goes back thousands of years when the Maidu and other tribes lived in the region as part of a perfectly balanced ecosystem thriving on the Sacramento, Yuba and Feather river watersheds.   In addition to its history, arts and culture, Yuba-Sutter is creating strong farm to fork traditions including its expanding wineries and tasting rooms in the foothills and with the magnificent Sutter Buttes as a backdrop.

Will this just be another “plan” sitting on a shelf in someone’s office collecting dust?  Absolutely not!  It will become part of the conversation whenever economic development, cultural tourism and related topics are front and center showing a unified voice and vision for Yuba-Sutter.  The Cultural Plan will require periodic review and updates like any other planning document.  So many encouraging signs for our local economy are already underway with the Yuba Water Agency’s grants to local agencies and the construction of the Hard Rock Fire Mountain Casino in Yuba County and the Sutter Pointe development in Sutter County along with other new businesses and many small victories in other sectors.

It is hoped that a draft plan will be ready for review and discussion by early next year.  Once completed, the document will be presented to both Boards of Supervisors and all four City Council’s for approval by resolution. For more information on the planning process and future meeting dates, please send an email to David Read at david@yubasutterarts.org.