Mayor Pulido’s “Arts and Culture” Blogroll

With Election Day tomorrow, I decided to visit Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido’s newer blog site one last time. (His old one is scant on information) The top post there reminds readers that Tuesday is election day and encourages participation. Nothing wrong with that. When I scrolled down on the site and saw the blogroll, something else caught my attention. The Mayor’s more up-to-date website has an “Arts and Culture” section on the right with links to different institutions around the city. Breath of Fire Latina Theater and El Centro Cultural de Mexico find themselves among those listed on the blogroll. Really?

So what’s the big deal? In all the years that Mayor Pulido has been in power, neither of those two homegrown, grassroots cultural institutions has seen support from him. Not even a dime! I should know. Since its inception, I have been a board member of the Breath of Fire Latina Theater Company in downtown Santa Ana. Over the years, rent to maintain the small, but dignified space where BOF stages its plays has solely come from annual fundraisers, generous community benefactors, and revenue from shows. Blogroll or not, there has never been a helping hand lent to the non-profit by the Mayor. Without such support, the Latina centered theater company has managed anyway to win an OC Human Relations Commission award, be honored as the best new theater company by the OC Weekly, and just recently attracted the world premiere of acclaimed Chicana playwright Cherrie Moraga’s “Digging Up the Dirt.” It’s an exceptional arts institution that has produced plays aimed at numerous social issues including the Mexican history of Orange County, the plight of undocumented students, and LGBT laughs with Monica Palacios.

I can attest to the fact that Councilwoman Michele Martinez paid us a visit at our first annual “Noche de Milagros” fundraiser three years ago and Mayoral candidate Alfredo Amezcua has also come through to a few of our events. I can’t say the same for Mayor Pulido, unfortunately. As for El Centro Cultural de Mexico, the story is very much the same. It is another exceptional, grassroots institution in the city. It’s list of accomplishments include linking Mexico’s Son Jarocho tradition intimately with Santa Ana through bringing the best groups direct from Veracruz and birthing a homegrown one of its own: Son del Centro. It also offers residents educational, musical, and artistic classes for free. As people will get a chance to experience in just a few days, El Centro’s best cultural achievement is the annual “Noche de Altares” Day of the Dead celebration. City hall gets in on the action, but the whole permit process overall has been difficult in the past prompting organizers to seek out a new location this year.

Despite the blogroll links, El Centro, Breath of Fire and the Mayor have not ‘all been in this together’ as the impression has been given. Whoever wins tomorrow hopefully will turn attention to cultural community institutions in the form of a helping hand. I write this blog simply to state the experience of two non-profits thus far vis a vis the Mayor’s office and to leave the door open for future unconditional support from whoever ends up occupying the seat.

A web link is nice. Moral and fiscal support is better. We know other ‘art’ institutions have enjoyed as much.

This blog solely represents the opinion of Gabriel San Roman and not explicitly that of Breath of Fire or El Centro Cultural de Mexico.

About Gabriel San Roman