With assistance from West Valley Arts Council, Tolleson is launching the Tolleson Initiative of the Arts, the first step in a public art planning process to outline a vision and goals for public art in the city.
“The goal of the program is to identify key opportunities for projects and initiatives, including the new city of Tolleson Civic Center,” Tolleson Mayor Juan F. Rodriguez said.
“We’re asking the public to help us shape the future of public art in Tolleson, because we want our city to reflect their values, preferences, and sense of community pride.”
The initiative will begin by gathering input through a brief, online Tolleson Arts Survey.
Information about the survey and its goals can be found on Tolleson’s website, tolleson.az.gov/tia, and will be available through fliers and direct communication channels and platforms.
The Tolleson Arts Survey will be active through Feb. 10.
“Hearing from the community is critical on the board to ensure that we capture their visions for the arts,” Councilmember Jimmy Davis said.
“The West Valley is vibrant, diverse and creative, with an amazing depth of talent, and the Tolleson Initiative of the Arts is a hands-on way to engage the community in creating opportunities to provide input on what its arts future will look like,” West Valley Arts President and CEO Sandra Bassett said.
“We are thrilled to be part of the process.”
West Valley Arts has collaborated with several West Valley communities to identify and coordinate arts and cultural experiences, including an ongoing program under the theme “Imprint: The Cultural Sounds of America.”
“The arts touch so much of our lives in so many ways: aesthetically, educationally and as an economic driver, all of which benefit the entire community,” Bassett said. “This very exciting effort will pay incredible dividends as a community asset and its impact on the quality of life.”
Davis was tasked with helping create the initiative — and it was the perfect marriage. A longtime musician, he owns Jimmy Davis Music and performs at Our Lady Perpetual Help, both of which are in Tolleson.
“Arts are my life,” he said. “My life is very arts driven. I was a good person to push the arts forward.”
Davis sees the initiative as something that could help ease the minds of listeners or viewers.
“They’ve been my anchor my whole life,” he said. “I remember in the fourth grade my music teacher pulled me to the side and asked me to sing in the talent show.
“I didn’t know I could sing. No one in my family was musical. It’s just always been something that’s kept me going and kept me involved. With choir and theater, I’ve done it my whole life. It motivates me and keeps me excited.”
He’s hoping that he passes his excitement on to his students.
“That’s extra motivation for me — seeing them grow and thrive,” he said.
A vocalist who plays piano, Davis encouraged Tolleson residents to take the survey so the city can gauge the feelings of the community.
“Tolleson has a rich culture,” said Davis, who is on the West Valley Arts Council’s board of directors. “I would say Tolleson is an extended family. Our culture and history are very important to this community, and the art in the city reflects that.
“This arts survey is the first step. After that, the sky’s the limit. We’re hoping to start a First Friday, like in Downtown Phoenix, or a concert series. We want to bring arts and culture to our community.”