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If a recent town hall meeting in Canby demonstrated anything, it’s that Canby has a passion for arts and culture.


And that’s a very good thing, according to Cheryl Snow, Clackamas County Arts Alliance executive director.

“What impressed me most about the conversations we had was how much passion people have for what is going on in Canby,” said Snow.

The meeting dealt with the “state of the arts” in Canby. About 25 people showed up to the banquet room above Cutsforth’s Thriftway to talk about arts and culture in the community.

“It was an excellent meeting, very well attended,” said Snow. “In fact, we were a little surprised at the attendance. It was a great turnout.”

The town hall was the fourth the CCAA has had in Clackamas County this year and Snow said Canby’s effort offered plenty of things to talk about.

“There was very lively discussion,” she said. “I was pleased to see some of the Canby leadership present. What really pleased me greatly was the amount of folks who turned out that are not directly connected to the arts community.”

Snow said the night’s conversation, which lasted roughly 90 minutes, ranged all over the arts and cultural landscapes. Canby residents, and those who live on the outskirts of town, have a definite interest in where the community is headed.

And what did attendees say the city needed?

- Murals.

- Fulfillment of “The Garden Spot” motto.

- Living floral planting to beautify spaces, such as business fronts and gazebos.

- A facility to house the Canby Arts Association.

- More focused attention from the county

- Work collaboratively to define what the community wants to accomplish.

“We had a fairly lively discussion that emerged around the issue of ‘Do we have a Canby unified vision for what the future of the city is as it regards culture and the arts?’ I suggested that that subject is rich and deep enough to have another discussion solely on that,” said Snow.

And having that second meeting on this particular topic is something Snow said she hopes will come to fruition in the near future.

For now, though, she said the meeting was successful and that it provided help to the CCAA, a nonprofit organization, as it shapes its programs and services moving forward.

Attendees noted some ways the arts alliance could help as well – publicity, grants, a directory of organizations and grants programs, central artist registry, resources for event speakers and meeting facilitation.

“We don’t march in and tell people what they should want, we listen and try to fill the gaps,” Snow said. “What I’ve learned is how extraordinarily unique and distinct each town is. We hope to learn how to tailor our services specifically for each community we see. Secondarily, what emerges from each meeting is a deeper sense of collaboration. People gather in the same room and sometimes they don’t know who each other are. Almost always, a terrific idea emerges from these meetings.

“It is important for me to be available and present in these communities. I find it very energizing and I’m eager to see what’s going to come out of Canby,” added Snow.

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