The Fremont Podcast

Episode 110: Discover Fremont Creates with Julie Gilson and Susan Longini

March 15, 2024 Ricky B Season 3 Episode 110
Episode 110: Discover Fremont Creates with Julie Gilson and Susan Longini
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 110: Discover Fremont Creates with Julie Gilson and Susan Longini
Mar 15, 2024 Season 3 Episode 110
Ricky B

Discover the story and heart of Fremont Creates with Julie Gibson and Susan Longini. They illuminate the city's journey toward establishing a robust cultural identity, underscored by the inherent challenges of building a performing arts center and cultivating a vibrant arts community. Our conversation navigates Fremont's historical context, the economic implications of arts funding, and the pivotal role local leadership plays in nurturing the arts within education, painting a compelling portrait of a city on the cusp of a cultural renaissance during Arts, Culture, and Creativity Month and beyond.

Feel the pulse of Fremont's diverse artistic heartbeat through the insights shared by our guests. We celebrate the city's unique place in the Bay Area's cultural landscape, with an emphasis on arts that echo the voices of its Middle Eastern and Asian communities. The excitement crescendos with the anticipation of the Downtown Event Center's event on April 27th while showcasing Fremont Creates' tireless support for local arts events and cultural organizations. The Fremont Cultural Arts Council's contribution, alongside the city's proactive grants and professional arts management, are lauded as instrumental in elevating the scene to new heights.

Hear the stories about glassmaking and its communal impact, and  programs like Box Art and the Athena project. Fremont Creates serves to facilitate collaboration and community involvement, essential in weaving the arts into Fremont's daily narrative. Julie and Susan from Fremont Creates share their vision for the future - murals, a performing arts space, and an indelible integration of arts in the local businesses - ensuring that the vibrancy of Fremont's cultural fabric continues to enrich and engage its residents and visitors alike.

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the story and heart of Fremont Creates with Julie Gibson and Susan Longini. They illuminate the city's journey toward establishing a robust cultural identity, underscored by the inherent challenges of building a performing arts center and cultivating a vibrant arts community. Our conversation navigates Fremont's historical context, the economic implications of arts funding, and the pivotal role local leadership plays in nurturing the arts within education, painting a compelling portrait of a city on the cusp of a cultural renaissance during Arts, Culture, and Creativity Month and beyond.

Feel the pulse of Fremont's diverse artistic heartbeat through the insights shared by our guests. We celebrate the city's unique place in the Bay Area's cultural landscape, with an emphasis on arts that echo the voices of its Middle Eastern and Asian communities. The excitement crescendos with the anticipation of the Downtown Event Center's event on April 27th while showcasing Fremont Creates' tireless support for local arts events and cultural organizations. The Fremont Cultural Arts Council's contribution, alongside the city's proactive grants and professional arts management, are lauded as instrumental in elevating the scene to new heights.

Hear the stories about glassmaking and its communal impact, and  programs like Box Art and the Athena project. Fremont Creates serves to facilitate collaboration and community involvement, essential in weaving the arts into Fremont's daily narrative. Julie and Susan from Fremont Creates share their vision for the future - murals, a performing arts space, and an indelible integration of arts in the local businesses - ensuring that the vibrancy of Fremont's cultural fabric continues to enrich and engage its residents and visitors alike.

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Speaker 1:

The thought and I was told when I first came here was well, why would we need that? You can go to somewhere else San Francisco, san Jose, whatever to see things, to go to do things, and without the realization that you're losing economically, you're losing money when somebody is leaving the city to do these things. I think Fremont, until very recently, thought of itself as a sleepy bedroom community, and there's a realization, now that is beginning to happen, that we are a city, we are the fourth largest city and we're in the top 100 cities in the nation. It might be an idea that whose time has come, but it's actually, I think, an idea that the city founders didn't really think about.

Speaker 2:

I'd beg to differ a bit that I think the city founders.

Speaker 3:

Coming to you straight from Fremont, california. This is the Fremont podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the city of Fremont, one conversation at a time.

Speaker 4:

This is Mission Gold Jazz, a band that I found out and about playing with people. They were enjoying themselves and pretty much everyone was dancing. You are listening to episode 110 of the Fremont podcast. Now, here's your host.

Speaker 5:

Wickey B. All right, well, I am sitting at Petracelli Homes with Julie and Susan. They are representatives of Fremont Creates, which is an organization, or is it an official nonprofit?

Speaker 2:

It is not an official nonprofit. We were calling it a brand, an umbrella under which to celebrate Arts, culture and Creativity Month every April.

Speaker 5:

That's great. We highlighted different artists and organizations last year during the month of April. You announced April as being what it is the Arts, culture and Creativity Month. That was led by the state, as well as Alameda County, and then Fremont got on board recently as well. Fremont Creates is more of, like you said, a brand that champions that. I guess, is that how you- Exactly. Okay, whose idea was this? Where did this come from?

Speaker 2:

It was fairly organic. A collection of arts leaders were meeting informally with the stated goal of how to do more advocacy and more advocacy for the arts with the actual civic leaders of Fremont to spur some more investment in the arts. There are a lot of needs. We don't have a performing arts center in Fremont. We are very beige in terms of our exteriors compared to other cities that have a very robust public art program.

Speaker 1:

We do not have an arts commission to guide us. We don't have a 10-year plan, which many other surrounding communities do have that allows arts to be implemented and become part of the community in an organized way. Over a decade.

Speaker 5:

So we might be getting into territory we don't want to go into, but I'm still going to ask the question because I think it's important why, why don't we have these things? I've interviewed a number of people who work in the arts. Specifically episode 100, I interviewed the ceramics teacher at Washington High School. Jake has been there for 11 or 12 years.

Speaker 5:

We were talking about how that program is underfunded. They get $200 a year for his class. The way that he supplements the lack of funds is by creating things himself and selling it at the different events that happen throughout the year and trying to raise money for the program. He testifies to the fact that what his program at Washington High School has done for his students is significant in the lives and in the experience of these teenagers. I don't think you have to look far to figure out that the arts are absolutely essential to a community to make them what they are. So why do you think it is that we have not prioritized these things? Why is it that you have to champion a brand like Fremont creates in order to start the conversation?

Speaker 1:

I think Fremont, until very recently, thought of itself as a sleepy bedroom community. The thought and I was told when I first came here was well, why would we need that? You can go to somewhere else San Francisco, san Jose, whatever to see things, to go to do things. Not the realization that you are losing economically. You are losing money when somebody is leaving the city to do these things. So I think it is just the way. All of a sudden, we have our six-story apartment buildings and condos that are being built. We used to have a three-story limit. There is a realization now that is beginning to happen that we are a city. We are the fourth largest city and we are in the top 100 cities in the nation. It might be an idea whose time has come, but it is actually, I think, an idea that the city founders didn't really think about.

Speaker 2:

I beg to differ a bit that I think the city founders because they were some of the founders of Fremont Cultural Arts Council and some of them championed a performing arts center but I think that in terms of priorities when there were offerings in other municipalities that were so different that they could go to San Francisco traffic was less.

Speaker 2:

We didn't have BART but traffic was less, maybe it was easier. So I think that idea sort of fell by the wayside. Now many of those are city founders were very strong supporters. The new main library it is not so new anymore but was significantly funded by one of the I will call them the fathers of the city and I think they were very community minded people if we think about the Washington hospital system and even Fremont Bank way back when. But I think that vision got lost as the next generation of city leaders and staff were thinking about us being a bedroom only community, totally suburbia, and not thinking about where do you take your families, how do you incorporate just arts in the fabric and just have that as being part of your overall community vibrancy?

Speaker 5:

Yeah, yeah, I was going to say I think that it's interesting, as I'm listening to you because I wasn't here for that. I moved to Fremont about 10 years ago and so the community is newer to me than a lot of people that I've interviewed and talked with, but I do think it's interesting. I mean, I don't want to say that Fremont became a city by accident, but it sometimes feels like it's. You have five individual, small neighborhood communities that are all close by, they kind of have their own personality. And then you know there's this idea let's put them together into one big pot and let's just kind of like see what we can do to blur the lines.

Speaker 5:

And so there's a lot of like almost ideas coming about by survival or like what do we do with this space? How do we draw people to this particular area? And all of a sudden it becomes, you know, it becomes more of a residential area than anything and a convenience for people that are trying to commute to other parts of the bay. But then it's like well, we haven't thought about art, so we haven't thought about, like actually this being a necessary part of our community, and it becomes like an afterthought, you know, for most people, for some people, because even like when I interviewed Margaret Thornberry last year for this you know actually I don't even know what to say this she pulled out some blueprints that she had of a performing arts center that was designed.

Speaker 5:

I mean it was like a lot of work, represented tens of thousands of dollars. I would imagine by architecture drawings that it was like it was there. It was on the table at one point in time.

Speaker 1:

That was Bora Architects from Portland and I was part of that committee too Okay, okay. And there was an economic downturn and what it seemed was that it was an excuse to pull this and never revisit it.

Speaker 5:

It was, they just never touched it again. Never touched it again.

Speaker 2:

So well anyway.

Speaker 2:

So those were a lot of the reasons in this conversation about advocacy for the need to elevate and incorporate and focus and just bring more art opportunities into our fabric and encourage our elected officials and our staff officials to really embrace this and make it part of city planning, with a small P, not a capital P, which was sort of the genesis of celebrating what was proclaimed by the state as a month to celebrate the arts. So it became an idea of using that as a vehicle to do this advocacy, along with what needs to be happening as supporting the artists and spotlighting them and showing what how great enjoyment of those arts can be, to our community and involving our community and raising the visibility of the need for this with our community.

Speaker 2:

So they can help advocate as well.

Speaker 5:

We'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

Speaker 4:

Danter Bookshop is located in downtown Fremont on Capitol Avenue. On their bestseller list the Hundred Years War on Palestine, a history of settler colonization and resistance. Never Whistle at Night, an indigenous dark fiction anthology. Yellow Face, also fiction, a Reese's Book Club pick. There are many, many more, all available at Banter Bookshop. Those are the ones that caught my attention.

Speaker 5:

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Speaker 1:

And we have a lot of very, very good artists, both visual, performing music, and to bring awareness that we have this treasured resource here.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, that's right. Yeah, you know, I think that what's interesting and I think we all would recognize this I don't think it's something that I've noticed that nobody else has but I think that what's interesting about Fremont that I think we're losing out on is so we have the arts and we do have some incredible artists here. I've been over, I interviewed the Olive Hyde Guild and talked about the gallery over there and the way that they everything that they're doing, which is very, very cool. I've interviewed other people who are artists in the community or have art studios in the community that are, you know, that are doing things here. So we have artists, we have. But I think what's interesting is is that Fremont, I think, uniquely in some ways, is a very cultural presence that's different than a lot of other communities in our area. In other words, it's about arts and culture and our culture in our community is very diverse, Diverse, Very diverse.

Speaker 2:

But what better opportunity to celebrate the arts? That's exactly right, that's exactly.

Speaker 5:

Why not be the place? That champions the art that's coming from the culture that's coming from the Middle East or from that's historically, that's exactly right Longer or has a richer history than many. Yeah, and I'm imagining that if you were to go into some of these places like the you know these Hindu temple, or actually I have been in the Thai temple down- here, in Niles and you go to the Sikh temple or you go to many other places.

Speaker 5:

you have things there that represent those cultures, that are art that you I mean you'd have to travel across the Pacific Ocean to be able to experience that in other places. But we've got people who we have practitioners.

Speaker 2:

We have that right here in our community.

Speaker 5:

And I do think that there's something that we could be a very unique place for people to come to us in the Bay Area, that, because we're not trying to necessarily duplicate what you could get, say, in, you know, mountain View or in San Francisco or whatever we actually have our own unique, original arts and culture here in Fremont that you can't get anywhere else in the Bay Area.

Speaker 1:

That's a very good point, absolutely, and I think for our grand finale at the Downtown Event Center on April 27th, we will be having some of these diverse cultural arts showcased.

Speaker 5:

That's great. Yeah, that's great. Well, tell me a little bit about what are the activities of Fremont Creates. I know it's not an organization, it's more of a brand, but you're talking about this grand finale that's happening at the end of April, so let's talk, maybe start there. We start with what that is going to be, but what are some of the other things that you guys are doing as initiatives in the community?

Speaker 2:

Well, we have an online calendar. That's as many arts events that happen that we can find out. We are placing on our calendar and through our social media and other media outlets, such as this we are trying to drive community attention to those other events. So we are going to, through Fremont Creates, promote other arts and culture organizations, events that are happening during April. We've encouraged and done outreach to encourage arts and culture keepers to have events. If they could move something from March or May into April they get this added additional opportunity for promotion.

Speaker 5:

That's great.

Speaker 2:

That's great, and so that was, and that's really started with this initiative last year. Okay. So that was sort of a triad. I guess number one Exposure brand exposure for the initiative under Fremont Creates so that was a big part of it is having something that was branded, that people knew what that meant, and so we're working on that even more this year, that's great. And then finally having a grand finale event for the month at the Downtown Events Center from 11 to 3 on Saturday, april 27th.

Speaker 5:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

With a diverse range, a diverse variety of artists and culture keepers in all sorts of genres, and we've gotten a lot of applications for that. We are getting those organized and trying to work on scheduling. We're planning to have food trucks, we're going to have a maker space for families or anybody who wants to do hands on art.

Speaker 1:

And even the maker space will actually have diverse cultural projects.

Speaker 5:

Okay, Okay, yeah, so tell me a little bit more about that, because I didn't when we were just talking about it. You just talked about the Youth Symphony Orchestra that was going to be there, but this sounds really cool. This sounds like really gathering together so many different people in Fremont who are doing things whether it's crafts or visual art or performing arts in one space.

Speaker 1:

Spoken word. Spoken word. Yeah, some of the high school students are really excited about doing some of the spoken word Wow.

Speaker 2:

So we don't have. We haven't at this point formally accepted. We're still doing the evaluations of what's been submitted because we want to have a good mix, we want to make sure we have enough. We don't want to say to somebody yes, we really want you to perform, and then we find out we don't have enough time and room because the Downtown Event Center is not a performing art center.

Speaker 2:

Right, it has limitations, so we're trying to work around those. Now we do have to acknowledge that the City of Fremont has provided some support for the arts in a fairly generous grant that's allowing us to use the Downtown Event Center and to hire a professional entertainment management company, and without that, which is one of the reasons we were not able to bring this to fruition. Last year we had plans to do something similar, but it was a kickoff event, so by doing it at the end of the month, we bought herself a little more planning time and runway. But we realized our learning curve last year was that when we are all in Fremont Crates, we're all volunteers. Yeah, very much like you. If you paid us for our time, we'd probably be doing pretty well. But we wanted to do this, but we don't have the skill set to do this.

Speaker 2:

And there are things we can do and we're the community members. So through the City of Fremont's sponsorship we are going to be able to bring in that professional that's great. And who can work with the performers in a professional setting.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and has professional equipment. Yeah, yeah, that's great yeah.

Speaker 5:

Having the right people doing the right things is really helpful. Yeah, I was going to ask you. So this is not an official organization and so I don't know necessarily how you get any kind of funding for this unless you do have an organization for that.

Speaker 1:

Well, the Fremont Cultural Arts Council is. Where is the umbrella organization?

Speaker 5:

Okay, so you're kind of acting as like an arm or a storefront for them in some ways.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and in the industry it's called fiscal sponsorship. Okay, and that's very typical in the nonprofit world.

Speaker 5:

That makes sense.

Speaker 2:

Where you have an organization that does not yet have its IRS nonprofit status but has an initiative and can possibly get a grant for it, and grantors will often fund the initiative through a fiscal sponsor. That makes sense yeah.

Speaker 4:

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Speaker 5:

So my question is then how did you guys get into this? You said it was a. The beginning of this was kind of like a organic effort or organic conversation that started happening. But Susan, why? Why did what brought you into this? Like, why are you here representing Fremont creates?

Speaker 1:

Because I really believe that we need an umbrella in the city of Fremont in order to organize groups and to promote them, to promote the arts culture in in the city. And maybe this isn't the best, this is my way of doing it. I'm just showing the the city of the official city government that there is a lot of arts and culture here and that if they are organized and come together, the city will enjoy this. It enhances life in the city and so maybe it's hopefully looking that the city will see this and say yeah okay, we should do this annually and we should have an organization that can organize.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we should have staff assigned to it.

Speaker 1:

And we should have our own.

Speaker 5:

I think some of the, I think some of the things that are important for people to see, like there's a lot of ideas out there that are probably good ideas and they just never come, you know, to fruition. They just never happen. But I think that you need to pay attention to the things that are that are organically developing and you need to look and say why are people just doing this as a volunteer? Like, why is this? Why are people giving of their time and, honestly, money whether or not it's actual dollars or whether it's the value of time and attention and resources that are that are provided to it? Like, why are people doing this without anything going into their own pocket? You know, and I think that when you start seeing enough of that in the community, I think it starts. It ought to turn heads. It ought to motivate people to do something official about it, you know.

Speaker 2:

If you're a housing developer and we need more housing and you have a choice of making investment in a community where there is a vibrant space for the homeowners or or householders to enjoy their community, versus one where that isn't present, where would you invest your money? So I think it's it's self-serving to our community, for its economic fatality and future, for all the things that we need to do.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, that's great. I think the city's calling, I think they heard us talking.

Speaker 1:

They heard me, we'll do it. We'll do it.

Speaker 5:

We'll give that a second. Yeah, so, susan, are you an artist?

Speaker 1:

Yes, I am.

Speaker 5:

You an artist. What do you do? What do you enjoy doing?

Speaker 1:

Okay, my medium is glass, and so my first public installation is in the animal shelter here.

Speaker 5:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

So there are-.

Speaker 5:

That's interesting.

Speaker 1:

Eight very large etched panels around the office hub, and that's where I learned about the response of people to have art in a public place. They felt better about that place and about the function of the place and honestly, that was somewhat of a surprise to me.

Speaker 5:

Tell me a little bit more about that. What do you mean? That having art in that space made it a more inviting place for people there?

Speaker 1:

I think it was a combination of enhanced aesthetics it's not just bare bones and that whoever designed the space and had art in it cares. And that sense of caring and wanting people to feel better about that space made actual interactions better.

Speaker 5:

Wow, that's really cool.

Speaker 2:

And I thought that that was very, very important, yeah, and didn't you say that you thought there was a real uptick in there was, I was told In adoptions.

Speaker 1:

I was told that there was an uptick in animal adoptions. I mean a significant one.

Speaker 5:

That's awesome, yeah, when you start thinking of it's kind of like what I told you guys just before we got started I'm more interested in stories than I am data. If you walk into a doctor's office or a veterinarian or an animal shelter and you just start seeing numbers and you start seeing it's very sterile, you're not inspired to bring that animal home with you. You're just kind of like it just feels almost necessary. It sucks the joy out of it in some ways.

Speaker 1:

I've also done a number of hospital installations, art installations, and with the same results.

Speaker 5:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

And it's not just me, any artist who has worked that's an installation in a-.

Speaker 2:

A care facility In a care facility.

Speaker 1:

You know that they find that whoever is interacting not just patients or clients, but the staff is happier.

Speaker 5:

That's awesome. That's awesome So-. So I'm curious and I know this is an audio medium here but what do you mean by glass? Like, when you say you do glass art, what does it look like, or what do you-.

Speaker 1:

I do a lot of wall work, so I work it's called Pate de Verre, okay, and not the animal shelter, but everything, since it's granules and powders that are mixed together and formed by hand to whatever shape, and then I fire them, and then I assemble elements together, refire them at least one more time, maybe two more times, to create whatever I'm creating. Wow, and they're large scale.

Speaker 5:

Is it kind of like stained glass or glass, or is it different than that?

Speaker 1:

It's very different, okay.

Speaker 5:

Well, we'll have to put a link in the show notes as to some of your stuff that we can see pictures of.

Speaker 1:

So being an artist and seeing that that makes a difference. When people see art and they're not going to see art, they're going to do something else that's good. And art is part of an unexpected part of their experience. It's a real net positive.

Speaker 5:

I love that.

Speaker 1:

And that's one reason why I'm passionate about the Box Art program for the City of Fremont.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, so tell me about that. So the box, the term of the electrical boxes and stuff around the city.

Speaker 1:

Traffic utility box. You have a hand in that. I'm the program manager.

Speaker 5:

Okay, okay. So I guess you do have a hand in that, so tell me about that.

Speaker 1:

Well, we have almost 200 boxes and we've done it will. By the end of this fiscal year we'll have done about 170. And that's probably about as many as we can do, because we keep changing. The boxes get upgraded or some of them are not in appropriate place.

Speaker 5:

Were you kind of an originator behind that idea as well?

Speaker 1:

Pushed for about five years before it happened, and very patient.

Speaker 5:

And persistent. And not to take away from whatever Susan's done but it wasn't invented here in Fremont. Okay, yeah, right.

Speaker 1:

And again our neighbors have been doing it, but it was a good idea. You know, yes, and actually somebody. The reason why Fremont did it is somebody from Fremont had been to San Jose and saw them and came to the art review board meeting and said we have all of this in San Jose, why don't we have it in Fremont?

Speaker 5:

Like yeah, and I'll pretend that I don't know that, because the other day I was driving through San Jose and I started seeing the boxes there and I was like, oh my goodness, they're doing it here too.

Speaker 2:

And these other cities I think some of them were initiated because of the graffiti and tagging issue and when you think about the cost of repainting over tagging and this is another shared passion of Susan's in mind is making Fremont less beige on its surfaces. I mean, we are a non-beige community, right, so let's make our buildings colorful, that's right, the graffiti.

Speaker 1:

I work with graffiti abatement a lot.

Speaker 5:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

The city of Fremont.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I have been told that the graffiti on painted boxes is down about between 90 and 95 percent, so it's not a zero, but that's a huge economic change because they're not running after taggers all the time. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

I work with an organization that we just bought a big storage container and we had a drop tier and I actually said I said I think we need to hire an artist to come out here and completely paint this, because I know it's going to happen at some point in time and then we're going to have to clean it up anyway, and so I think we're probably still looking into doing that. But you guys are proving my point on that.

Speaker 2:

Well, let us know, because we have artists who would do it? And maybe even a community project because we've got some very interested and motivated high school students. A person has worked with a group who put together and managed and created us. Is it a tile mural or is it a painted mural? Over at Washington hospital that that was a painted mural.

Speaker 5:

The Athena project. Yeah, I've interviewed them and actually the podcast actually supported them. I gave them money to help make that project happen at the Washington hospital yeah. Thank you. Yeah, they had a deal hardware with through the podcast and they came in and they were asking about getting donations and a deal hardware was very generous in helping them out, but they still had to pay some. So I gave them the money to buy all the supplies that they needed in order to be able to make that happen.

Speaker 1:

Okay, thank you. Yes, they told me that they had that and I had the contacts at Washington hospital so I was able to connect them. There we go.

Speaker 2:

Well, this is what we found works really well organically. This was another goal of Fremont creates and this year we actually wrote specific goals for Fremont creates and one of them is the networking and collaboration and increasing collaboration, and one of our successes this year is that Fremont artists got together visual artists and are doing an open studios event the third and fourth weekends, second and fourth in April, and where is that going to take place?

Speaker 1:

It's at various artists studios.

Speaker 5:

Okay, oh I got you, I got you Okay, so there will be a map, okay.

Speaker 1:

And again go to Fremontcreatescom and, yeah, you can start seeing all of that, yeah.

Speaker 5:

I liked that a lot. So if you kind of sleep through April, you're going to miss out on a lot of things.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, we're asking people go to one event.

Speaker 5:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Something that maybe you've never seen before.

Speaker 5:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Take that little nibble. I think what we've also realized is our lives, everyone's lives, are busy and you probably know this being in the communications slash, entertainment People want sound bites, they want nibbles. They don't want a two hour symphony.

Speaker 2:

And so, knowing that and trying to create small nibbles for people to see and that's also one of the advantages of art in public places, as Susan said, if you see it when you're not really expecting it, it gives you a much different response. Oh yeah, it's like a little extra, it's like having a piece of chocolate you didn't expect, that's right, that's exactly right.

Speaker 5:

Are you an artist?

Speaker 2:

I am not. I am a finance professional and I came into the arts in Fremont, is that I, when I moved here, which was a geographic decision, because Fremont was convenient for my husband and I to commute to our jobs?

Speaker 5:

and affordable.

Speaker 2:

And we realized that we were going outside of Fremont for our arts entertainment and I answered a I don't know of an email from somebody I knew in the community about let's get together and see if we can restore the theater, the 1930s theater on Fremont Boulevard, and I thought, hey, great, I'm happy to help, maybe I'll lick envelopes and maybe in six months to a year we'll have an art theater like Cine Arts in San Jose and I can walk to it. Well, there are a lot of reasons that didn't happen. Unfortunately it was. It was. It got very close. But that brought me into being part of the Fremont Cultural Arts Council and I've served on that board for 25 years and now in the president and have gotten to know a lot of great people through that.

Speaker 2:

But my background really is I'm a patron and. I enjoy it.

Speaker 1:

But that does bring me to Fremont. Creates it. We are two out of four people in a steering committee a steering committee, and Julie has the financial background.

Speaker 5:

I have the art background.

Speaker 1:

We have a web diva, so she's that, and Phyllis is.

Speaker 2:

Well, she has a background as a professional trainer. She's an excellent writer. She's a good organizer. She keeps us all on track. We know when the creative ideas start going out and she'll say, Okay, okay, we need to come back down and what's meeting our goal and how do we get there. And let's focus on this.

Speaker 1:

So it's been a really good team. We do we each have our different strengths and it seems to be working. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Well, let me ask you this then. I know that, like when ideas start and you know you're sitting in a room and having a conversation, I know that, like your imagination takes you in places that you're like this could happen someday. What are some of the things that you guys imagine that could happen down the road? Say, five, 10, 15 years from now? That if this were to continue to go the direction that you hope that it would, or that you've imagined to go, where would you love it? Where would you love to see it go?

Speaker 2:

We would love to see the city invest in actual staff and creating a 10 year plan for incorporating the arts and Fremont. I'd love to see large scale murals on our buildings, especially as we start building higher rise buildings. I'd like to see our business people embrace art in their facades. We'd love to have some sort of performing arts space, and economic studies seem to favor things in the three to 450 seat range. You mentioned that you'd interviewed the director of Bayfield Harmonic and it's unfortunate that they don't perform in.

Speaker 2:

Fremont, and that was a function of not having a space. They are, thank goodness, now selling out at a much larger venue, which shows you that the demand is here. That's right.

Speaker 5:

That's right. I think having the space, having a place and an opportunity for people to come and enjoy this sort of thing is just. I think it's vital to a community and I think it's something that we need to take seriously. I don't know how you go about doing something like that and making it all happen, but I do think that you guys are taking the right steps to move things in the right direction. I think this is fantastic. I hope that as you continue to pursue this, that more people will get on board. I hope that this April coming up, that people will do exactly what you said do one thing that maybe you wouldn't do otherwise, and get involved in that.

Speaker 5:

Susan, do you have any thoughts on this and things that you would love to see happen moving forward?

Speaker 1:

I think Julie well, we've discussed it so many times and I think Julie has pretty much said that to have large scale public art, which murals. I like the idea of enhancing infrastructure, existing infrastructure. Art is put into that actually when new construction is happening, so that I would love to see Performing Arts Center finally get built and to have arts be part of one's everyday existence. I spent two years in New Mexico and art was just what people experienced every day, and it didn't have to be high and it was just something creative.

Speaker 1:

Something creative and it had a very different feel in the community and it brought people together.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's right. It brings people out of their homes. It brings them and during the pandemic so many people got out and did more walking and while we couldn't interact in the same way we are fortunate enough to be able to do now, having the art just again brings people into a conversation. They feel comfortable in the space. It creates the community. It can also, as Susan explained, it can really provide some emotional well-being. I'll even call solace in downtown Oakland when they were having such, you know, riots.

Speaker 2:

Yeah right and the storefronts were damaged. When they boarded up those storefronts, a group of artists came in and painted.

Speaker 5:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

And so at least what people were seeing were not just boarded up storefronts, they were seeing canvases Wow. So I think that it's very emotionally powerful. In fact, when the state of California designated April as Arts, Culture and Creativity, the next year they added a codicell, or whatever you call it. They amended it to recognize artists as second responders Wow which really speaks to what art can bring in terms of our emotional well-being Wow.

Speaker 5:

That's really cool. That's really cool If we had a performing arts center. Let's just say something popped up within the next three months what existing performing art artists would you line up to have there? Would it be local artists that would be performing, or do you think having bringing in outside artists where our locals could enjoy those artists? What would you imagine? Who would you imagine being able to take advantage of a space like that?

Speaker 1:

All of the above, I was gonna just say yes, but you gave it more words. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I think there's a need for both. Okay, you know all the performers that were artists that we're gonna have at our finale event, or people who would love and be able to probably sell out commercially if they were commercial artists, because some are just non-profit more student organizations, but anyone that wants to make enough money to cover their costs and maybe make enough money to pay their staff, I think would sell out a space and then bringing in that's usually not enough programming for the whole year.

Speaker 4:

Your coin is well taken.

Speaker 2:

And so bringing in outside artists, professionals, gives the community something and an exposure to something else and again brings in that economic vibrancy.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, that's great. That's great. Thank you guys for being here.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for having us.

Speaker 5:

Thanks for joining me on the podcast. I'm excited. Last year we tried to focus our attention on the arts and the culture within our community during the month of April, and I would just love to be able to see this kind of push that even further down the hill and in the right direction. So I loved having you guys on here and we'll hopefully be able to be a help to you all as you continue to pursue these endeavors along the way.

Speaker 2:

Great.

Speaker 5:

Appreciate it If people wanted to know about you. It might be kind of obvious, but if people wanted to know more about you, where do they find information? You're talking about a website. I'm assuming it's fremontcreatescom.

Speaker 1:

And we also are on Instagram and.

Speaker 5:

Facebook. Okay, very good. Well, when this comes out, we'll be sure to tag you in our, in our post, and be able to promote as much as you can, and I think it's a great idea to be able to just have a list of all the things that are going to be happening in April, so that we can have a lot of opportunities. No one should have an excuse to not show up to you with these events.

Speaker 2:

That's right. That's right. There's four weekends in April and some of the exhibits go on throughout, for several weeks.

Speaker 1:

Right, and during the week a lot of exhibit spaces are open too, so you can go anytime.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, that's good. That's good. Well, we'll have the link in the show notes and people can connect there as well. So that's great. Thank you, ladies, for being on the podcast.

Speaker 1:

It's been a joy. Thank you so much. You're welcome.

Speaker 5:

I really appreciate it we actually have our own unique original arts and culture here in Fremont that you can't get anywhere else in the Bay Area. It's a very good point.

Speaker 1:

Showing the official city government that there is a lot of arts and culture here and that if they are organized and come together, the city will enjoy this. It enhances life in the city.

Speaker 5:

I think that you need to pay attention to the things that are organically developing and you need to look and say why are people giving of their time and honestly money without anything going into their own pocket? And I think that when you start seeing enough of that in the community, I think it starts ought to turn heads. It ought to motivate people to do something official about it. This is a Muggins Media podcast.

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Celebrating Arts and Culture in Fremont
Art in Public Places Program Discussion
Building a Vibrant Arts Community
Fremont Creates Arts and Culture