10 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY march 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com The Arts Council for Monterey County (Arts4MC) has been a hub for all things artsy since its inception in 1982. In 2016, the organization held a breakfast with artists and art supporters, whose number-one complaint was no affordable art studio space around. Arts4MC came up with an idea to find the space, hold the lease and then sublease it out to individual artists. Its first location was in the American Tin Cannery building, where ArtWorks @ Pacific Grove opened in March 2017. Soon, the space was filled by 17 artists; they stayed there for fourand-a-half years. The landlord, Cannery Row property holder Foursome Development Company, was generous with an affordable, month-to-month lease, according to Jacquie Atchison, executive director of Arts4MC. But with yet-unrealized plans for a hotel advancing at the time, Foursome Development asked the Arts Council to move out in October 2021. The council announced that the ideal new studio space would be a “large, open environment,” at least 3,000 square feet, ideally with foot traffic. In 2023, Arts4MC moved its administrative headquarters away from a large, open environment in Seaside (where it was renting from the Monterey County Weekly) to Monterey. The space they left behind became available to four artists, who spent a year working in studios there. However, Atchison says, “The lease expires at the end of May 2024 and we do not have the funding to continue.” The artists from Seaside were encouraged to move to Salinas, where Arts4MC opened ArtWorks @Salinas on Main Street in September 2023, with studio space for seven artists and retail space. They also have the opportunity to exhibit during Salinas’ First Fridays. But all four Seasiders say it won’t be a good option for them, because of the distance but also because of the nature of their work, such as throwing paint on walls. Several other artists are moving into the Salinas space, Atchison says, and Arts4MC hopes to find another spot in the future. “Depending on the next year’s funding, we would like to find another affordable location in an area with lots of foot traffic, especially a First Friday, so maybe Pacific Grove or Monterey,” she says. In the meantime, the four artists in Seaside—Carly Ganley, Shagufta Khan, Michelle Robertson and Andrew Jackson—are having a final pop-up show from 11am-4pm on Saturday, March 30 at their studios at 1123 Fremont Blvd., Suite C, in Seaside. On Tuesday, March 19, Salinas City Council voted unanimously to appoint René Mendez as the city manager, filling the city’s top staff position. “René stands out as a city manager with expertise in economic development, with experience in homelessness, with experience in natural disasters, and so it was only a natural fit that we consider him and hire him as our next city manager,” Mayor Kimbley Craig says. Mendez has served as Watsonville’s city manager for the past two years. Before that, he was Gonzales’ city manager from 2005 to 2022. In Salinas, he will fill a vacancy created in October when City Council fired Steve Carrigan. Mendez will come to a city that has vacancies in some important leadership roles, including finance director, airport director and police chief. The search for a new chief of police came to a halt after community members voiced concerns about what they viewed as a rushed process and rumors that Vallejo’s interim police chief, Jason Ta, had accepted the police chief position in Salinas. As of Feb. 21, there are 91.5 vacancies, the highest in recent years. In 2019, the City of Salinas had 67.5 vacancies, while in 2021 it had 83.5, according to data provided by HR Director Marina Horta-Gallegos. Since the pandemic, many businesses have struggled to attract employees and the public sector is no different. The Salinas Police Department has 27 open positions and last year, due to a staffing shortage, the department implemented a priority-based call system, meaning that not all calls trigger a police response. In March 2023, the council approved $400,000 for an incentive program for police officers. Under this program, Salinas PD has recruited four officers for lateral moves, and nine new recruits. To further their recruitment efforts, on March 19 the council approved a five-month campaign with iHeartMedia Entertainment Inc. Art Hub The Arts Council is vacating Seaside artist studios due to a funding crunch. By Agata Pop˛eda news IN THE ZONE Seaside City Council hears a proposed zoning amendment to increase planning permit efficiencies. Several text changes to the zoning ordinance are being considered; the public has an opportunity to comment. The public hearing takes place during a Seaside City Council meeting that begins at 5pm Thursday, March 21. Seaside City Hall, 440 Harcourt Ave., Seaside or via Zoom. 899-6700, ci.seaside.ca.us. ROCK THE BOAT The Hericane Rowing team is holding a fundraiser to compete in a rowing trip across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii this summer. The team is composed of four women who need support for their boat, entrance fees, equipment and food to cross 2,800 miles of ocean. Learn about their goal and enter to win prizes. 6-8pm Friday, March 22. Alma Del Mar, 269 Bonifacio Place, Monterey. Free. instagram.com/hericanerowing, bit. ly/4a2Bvdl. NO BUTTS Residents are invited to help beautify Laguna Grande Park in honor of Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action with Blue Zones Project Monterey County. Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and closed-toed shoes, bring a hat, sunscreen and a reusable water bottle. 10am-noon Saturday, March 23. Laguna Grande Park, 401 Virgin Ave., Monterey. Free. lidia.wilding@sharecare.com, montereycounty.bluezonesproject.com. POLICE FORCE The Monterey Police Department hosts a town hall meeting about their military equipment use policy, as required by Assembly Bill 481. MPD gives a presentation and opens the floor for attendees to ask questions and address comments or concerns. 6pm Monday, March 25. City Council Chambers, 580 Pacific St., Monterey, or virtually via Zoom. Free. 646-3965, bruno@monterey.org, monterey.org/ police. PEOPLE’S VOICE Residents from California’s 19th Congressional District are encouraged to voice their opinions about President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s office. A survey is available online to decide which issues that were discussed are most important. To take the survey, visit bit.ly/3x1GJrj. Free. 424-2229, panetta.house.gov. Top Job Salinas appoints a new city manager, and works to fill more vacant positions. By Celia Jiménez Painter Andrew Jackson and photographer Michelle Robertson have been tenants of the Arts Council’s Seaside studio space, but will move out before the lease ends on May 31. e-mail: toolbox@mcweekly.com TOOLBOX “We do not have the funding to continue.” Daniel Dreifuss