The mail-in questionnaire, sent to 14,000 Brentwood homes last summer, was designed to elicit input about the events, services and classes residents would like to see. The survey also afforded the growing arts commission the opportunity to see how they are faring with the community overall.
"What we really wanted to know was what people wanted from us (the commission)," said Arts Manager Rebekah Burr-Siegel. "Are we meeting their needs? Do they know what we offer? Do they know we even exist?"
The survey revealed that 80 percent of residents are familiar with the popular Brentwood Art, Wine & Jazz Festival, but name recognition was not quite as high - 5 percent among survey participants - for public poetry readings.
"We really learned a lot from those who returned the survey," said Burr-Siegel. "We're growing like crazy and we really want to be able to give people what they want."
Outdoor band concerts, theater and musical events as well as outdoor concerts, all ranked high among residents. Those surveyed also expressed interest in public classes such as photography, dance and painting.
Established in 2001, the Brentwood Arts Commission is comprised of 15 members whose job is to bring beauty, grace and artistic integrity to the city. Already the proud sponsors of events such as the city's annual Sing-Along Messiah and the Brentwood community band, Burr-Siegel believes the arts have something to offer everyone.
"I've been here three years and it's all been wonderful," she said. "Having the opportunity to make a difference in a city that is on the crest of becoming this wonderful entity is great. Brentwood wants to be the best of the best, but you can't really do that without incorporating and addressing all the different cultural, visual and performing arts."
And to that end, the commission has been working to boost its name recognition through advertising and community outreach. Programs like the gallery at the technology center downtown offer artists the opportunity to exhibit their work.
Thanks to the support of the city, and specifically the parks and recreation department, Burr-Siegel said the commission's future is bright.
"The city has been very, very supportive of us and so has the new City Council," she said. "I think that as our community continues to grow and change, so will our goals. The arts are so important to every community. Creativity is such a valuable resource; it creates a whole person. Art really makes a difference."
For further information on the Brentwood Arts Commission or upcoming events, call 516-5376.