Frisco Town Council adopts 5-year Arts and Culture Plan as officials look to support local creativity

Proposed Arts and Culture Council will explore feasibility of future events, programs and installations.

Summit County artist Andy Moran uses a roller to paint a mural on Main Street in Frisco on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Moran and Erica Rae Dove were selected by MakeFrisco to create a mural that represents hope and community.
Photo by Jason Connolly / Jason Connolly Photography

What started as a community-driven effort to bring more public art to Frisco has snowballed into a long-term plan to support local creative endeavors well into the future.

The Frisco Town Council adopted a five-year Arts and Culture Plan at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 10, while also taking steps to move forward with an Arts and Culture Council that will help guide programming and public projects.

“On so many levels it’s good for the community,” Council member Elizabeth Skrzypczak-Adrian said in an interview. “It could be a mental health aspect. It could be a way to celebrate people in the community or the community itself.”

On Tuesday, the council got a first reading of an ordinance to establish a seven-member Arts and Culture Council that will be tasked with making recommendations about programming and events, exploring feasibility of projects and working to implement the town’s goals.

The five-year plan was created by consulting firm 23.4 Degrees in collaboration with the town. It drew on surveys of community members and Frisco’s history to brainstorm and envision how the town could best plot a path forward to support local arts and culture.

The 79-page document lays out goals like maintaining Frisco’s natural beauty and a walkable Main Street, increasing the town’s emphasis on music by providing spaces for musicians to create and perform, and getting young people involved.

It discusses ideas such as creating spaces for outdoor movies, involving locals and visitors in participatory art projects like street murals, and supporting events such as pop-up poets and musicians. Along a five-year timeline, the plan outlines how to build momentum, prioritize and expand the town’s creative offerings over time.

“I hope the plan serves as our compass,” said Melissa Sherburne. A former council member, Sherburne noted that Frisco had an Arts and Culture Council in the 1990s that eventually lost steam and disbanded.

Around 2020, Sherburne spearheaded the formation of Make Frisco, a group of artists including painters, a photographer, a milliner, a coffee roaster, a landscape architect, musicians, a guitar maker and a carpenter, all town residents.

Make Frisco’s first major project was the Frozen Frisco ice installations held in tandem with the Eat, Ski and Be Merry event in February 2020. With support from MakeFrisco, the Town Council that year dedicated $25,000 to fund public art, which helped fund a mural project on Main Street. This year the Town Council has budgeted $75,000 for arts and culture.

In November 2021, the Town Council began considering ways to bring the arts and culture into sharper focus, eventually leading to the idea for a five-year plan and to reestablish the Arts and Culture Council.

The Arts and Culture Council will consist of seven town residents or community members who own a business in Frisco, according to the proposed ordinance. Town Council members on Tuesday expressed interest in providing the opportunity to have one of their members be a liaison to the Arts and Culture Council, but making it optional rather than required.

In an interview, Town Council member Andy Held, who is also a carpenter and an artisan, said that one of the goals of the Arts and Culture Council will be to explore gaps in the kind of programming offered in Summit County. Frisco wants to be able to offer something different from what other groups in nearby towns already have, Held said.

“We want to be able to help foster art in all of its forms,” he said. “We want to be facilitators and make this place the paradise we all moved here for.”

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