City of Upper Arlington, Ohio

Cultural Arts Commission

Our Mission
The mission of the Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Commission (Commission) is to advise and support the Parks and Recreation Department which includes the Cultural Arts Division staff (Staff) in its mission to provide, encourage, and support a diverse, lively, accessible arts environment that advances the cultural assets and enriches the life of the community.

Our Purpose
The purpose of the Commission is to act in an advisory capacity to the Parks and Recreation Department, City Manager and City Council as guided by the purpose, duties, and objectives specified in section 152.03 of the Administrative Code.  The Commission does not have legal authority to act on matters not authorized by Chapter 152 or City Council. Our community has benefited from the support of its community volunteers. Cultural Arts Commissioners help us to: respond to the community through our cultural endeavors, plan our summer concerts and gallery exhibits, person tables at events to share our literature, raise much-needed funding, advocate for the arts and keep in touch with the community. On March 13, 1972, the City Council of Upper Arlington established the Cultural Arts Commission-a group of volunteers armed with the mission of fostering and encouraging the "development of the arts in this community and the preservation of the community's cultural heritage." The Commission began its grassroots effort to enhance the community it served; more than forty years later the Commission has become an integral part of the community.

Our Cultural Arts Commissioners are an eclectic mix of people that serves on the Commission for a three-year term acting as a seven-member-advisory group to the City of Upper Arlington's Cultural Arts Division. The Cultural Arts Division is one of five divisions in the Parks and Recreation Department. The function of the Commission is to: set broad objectives; determine the scope and selection of programs; develop long-range plans; and provide strong programmatic or financial support either directly or through soliciting support from others. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. and are open to the public.

Cultural Arts Commission
Karin Richard, Chair
Kate Morris, Chair-Elect
Melissa Baldwin, Immediate Past Chair
Cricket Kirk
Andy Laux
Duncan Snyder
Hal Stevens

Become a Commissioner
Whenever a Cultural Arts Commission position became available we follow a fair and thorough process to fill the position. Filling the position begins by first approaching the "tickler" list that includes those who previously were unable to serve, but wanted to be contacted again should a spot become available. We also place ads in local papers and social media platforms, encouraging our Commissioners to advertise the position as well with their neighbors and friends in the community. As a result, we receive applications from community members interested in serving. By examining our Commissioner matrix, we continue to utilize a variety of talented individuals offering a balance of interests and expertise. When we lose a Cultural Arts Commissioner who brings specific skills to the group dynamic we focus our energy on replacing that skill set in order to remain balanced and diverse.

Through reviewing the applications, discussions with the candidates and the candidates attending a Cultural Arts Commission meeting; we are able to submit a thoughtful summary for appointment for open Cultural Arts Commission positions to City Council.

Cultural Arts Commissioners serve three-year terms and each year we monitor their progress. Commissioners set goals as a group introducing projects of interest to themselves and the community at large. The Chair of the CAC, in conjunction with Staff, tracks attendance at events and the progress of each Commissioner towards achieving goals. It is our hope that the experience is beneficial to both the CAC and the Commissioner. When the relationship is no longer mutually beneficial a thoughtful decision is made to address the relationship in new terms. Because we have been open in our communication during the Commissioner's term, this decision, although sometimes difficult, is openly discussed. It is then that we contact the City Clerk in order to publicly recognize the contribution made by the Commissioner at a City Council meeting. When the relationship continues to be mutually beneficial we encourage to serve an additional term.

Be a part of the art and become a Cultural Arts Commissioner. The Commission is looking for diverse, dedicated, self-motivators who are familiar with architecture, design, development, dance, theatre, or other cultural endeavors.
For more information, please contact Lynette Santoro-Au at or 614-583-5312.