March 19, 2019
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Come catch Cotati’s vision-2010

By: Irene Hilsendager
August 10, 2018

On Friday, Dec. 11, the Cotati Chamber of Commerce announced a new program-the Cotati Arts Project. The project described at their breakfast meeting is designed to benefit Cotati businesses, local non-profits working with children and increasing revenue towards the City of Cotati, which is currently undergoing a budgetary crisis.

The Cotati Arts Project is not one program but a series of programs designed to bring all forms of art-painting, sculpture, theatre, music, literary, dance and performance art. The art exhibits and performances will hopefully attract tourists to Cotati while providing entertainment and a lighthearted spirit of fun for Cotati residents. The project is designed to be totally voluntary and will not cost the City of Cotati any funds or resources. Any services provided by city planning will be compensated.

The new Board of Directors of the Cotati Arts Project was introduced at the breakfast meeting. They are Mike Pastryk, Aja Guanola-Norris, Jami Brady, Vicki Dougan, Marie McNaughton, Mark Landman, Cecelia Belle, Nanette Francoise and Andre Morrow. These volunteers will work to bring as much art to Cotati during 2010 as possible. If the project is successful it will be extended into the future.

The first project is called “The Piano Project.” The Cotati Chamber of commerce has secured the donation of six old upright pianos. These pianos have been assigned to six local non-profits and will be turned into works of art by local artists working in concert with the children that these non-profits serve. The non-profits, who were also in attendance at the chamber breakfast, are; Thomas Page School PTA & YMCA programs, CAYD, Cotati Kids Day, Rohnert Park Cotati Boys & Girls Club, Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati and the Education foundation.

Once completed, the pianos will be displayed in front of local businesses all over Cotati beginning May 19, pending approval of the city council and the city planning departments. People will be able to walk up and play the pianos just for fun. Professional street performances will also be scheduled. This will attract attention to local businesses increasing their revenue and thereby city revenue. The pianos will be featured at the 30th anniversary of the Cotati Jazz Festival June 19 and will be auctioned off to the public at a new event named “The Piano Drop Picnic” June 20 Father’s Day. This is a picnic designed to bring the entire community together to eat, listen to music and witness a performing art piece meant to lift the spirit. 

Other scheduled projects include the Sculpture Project, The Cotati Community Theatre featuring the plays of local writers and a variety of other performing arts and the Art Docents Program-the volunteer arm of the project.

There is already a list of art shows planned to be placed in local businesses interested in attracting new customers. These efforts will be free to Cotati businesses. The Cotati chamber of Commerce will be providing programs to further describe the project to interested businesses.

The theme of the Cotati Arts Project is “Come Catch Our Vision.” The Cotati Chamber of Commerce is seeking a variety of volunteers for these projects. 

Volunteers needed include artists, cooks, actors, stage hands, engineers, art instructors, general labor, parking attendants, musicians, camera operators and the community at large to attend and support these efforts.

The chamber also announced a new policy regarding business open houses. A renewed energy will be put into these events in an attempt to make them fun for the entire community to attend. The first one held was “Pinellas Garage.” The chamber asked The Rotten tomatoes, a local band to volunteer for the event the open house turned into quite a party. Suzanne Whipple, Executive Director of the Cotati chamber stated, “There will come a time that people will be afraid to miss one of our events, because each will be so imaginative and fun.

The chamber believes that if they can gain buy-in from residents and business owners, people will experience a renewed pride in their city. As they see their city positively portrayed in the news, businesses will want to fill the open spaces. Once the locations are filled, tax dollar will begin to increase to the city and things will hopefully get a little better. It may give us the added time necessary for the economy to make a turn. New jobs will be created here, cutting down on commutes and providing new opportunities for residents.”