Yelm City Council is looking at approving an ordinance to form an arts commission.

It would be coordinated and managed by volunteers, said City Administrator Michael Grayum. “(It) would create a focal point and mechanism to promote some of our city’s unique community assets.”

The idea stems from community interest.

Grayum said a couple of residents came to the city and expressed interest.

A draft ordinance was presented to council Tuesday night for a first reading.

The primary duty of the commission would be to identify and actively encourage the development and sustainability of the arts in the city by serving as the city’s primary resource in matters of public art and culture.

The commission would be composed of at least five members and no more than 12. Terms would range from one to three years to stagger member expiration.

The proposed ordinance suggests the city seek representation from all forms of art, from painting and sculpture to music and literature.

It also recommends having a representative from the chamber, Nisqually Tribe, as well as a student member.

Forming and operating the commission would have no impact on the city’s part in terms of budget, said Councilmember Cody Colt. It’s entirely run by volunteers.

Attendance was scarce at the meeting, with just three council members present and Tracey Wood serving as mayor pro tem, but they all agreed the commission was something the city should move forward with.

Councilmember Joe Depinto said he’s seen similar commissions work well in other cities and that having it allows the city to go and leverage for funds at a state and federal level for arts projects.

“It’s a slam dunk vote,” he said. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be passing this and supporting it.”

With that direction, city staff will move forward with refining the proposal and will present a second draft for council review at a future meeting.

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