Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino
Kingman, Arizona and Barstow, California are smaller communities of less than 30,000 and sit at the crossroads between Las Vegas, NV and Phoenix. In Kingman, the cultural center is the Mojave County Economic Development which concentrates its effort on the cultural history of the area that includes Native American history, ranchers, the building of the Hoover Dam and of course, Route 66. The area is often referred to as Arizona’s West Coast because of its proximity to the Colorado river. A limited budget allows only for marketing of events on the city website (gokingman.com)
Barstow, while a vibrant and thriving community of 22,000, has no arts council. It is the home of the Barstow Community College Performing Arts Center which provides entertainment, but the school has a limited budget for performance. Local pubs and restaurants provide the bulk of the live music scene. The city has no budget for arts.
San Bernadino is the end of the road in the song Route 66. It is home to 209,000 people and is a beehive of business activity. Responsibility for arts and entertainment falls to The Arts Council of San Bernadino County, known locally as the Arts Connection, a non-profit serving the entire county and surrounding areas. The focus of the arts council is to serving artists, arts organizations and administrators, art patrons, community residents and businesses, working in collaboration with city, state and county partners.
The city of San Bernadino has no arts budget, and so the Arts Connection was created to share knowledge and resources, supporting initiatives that engage, encourage and advocate community building through the arts, and offering funding solutions for progressive projects, art groups and artists.
The Arts Connection offers workshops on everything from political cartooning to creative writing. It is a member driven organization that lists artists in all mediums as a resource for other arts and education concerns. The goal is to provide support, promotion, education, and advocacy for the arts.
The Arts Connection is instrumental in raising money for upkeep and performances at the California Theater in San Bernadino which presents a number of theatrical performances per year.