Artist Henry Moore once said, “To be an artist is to believe in life.” In many ways, The Riverside Arts Council leans into that belief with its valiant efforts to keep the arts alive in Riverside County.
Established in 1977 as a main source for arts-related services, information, education and outreach, The Riverside Arts Council supports and sustains the arts on several fronts, which made this year’s Riverside Art & Music Festival on Oct. 7 all the more alluring. It’s the region’s largest fundraiser in support of the arts, after all, and in its idyllic locale—downtown Riverside historic White Park—it has become one of the area’s more popular annual events.
The council has teamed with Riverside Downtown Partnership to created a memorable event this year, which will illuminate the vibrant arts community in the Inland region.
“Post pandemic, we’re aiming to make this year’s event bigger and better. I think what’s going to really stand out is the art installations,’ says Rachael Dzikonski, Executive Director of The Riverside Arts Council. “We’ll have a much more visual interactive art experience all around this year.”
Expect many forms of art through music, dance, installation, visual arts, and more. Two stages will host vibrant performances from local bands and other talents. Beaux Gris Gris & the Apocalypse, an internationally known, local based blues rock americana soul band, is the headliner.
Other standouts included stellar installations from Division 9 Gallery, Tio’s Taco’s, Alderette Designs (in partnership with Beautify Riverside) and much more. Dzikonski notes that all the interactive artworks will be open for community engagement. Take note of the mural wall, which was hosted by the Eastside Arthouse. An “augmented” reality scavenger hunt by artist Nathaniel Osollo sounds fetching.
The festival is just one of many fascinating offerings of The Riverside Arts Council. The organization has long encouraged the advancement, participation, and integration of visual, literary, and performing arts in the community and its programs are vast, ranging from networking and regional arts to cultural infrastructure development and neighborhood revitalization. Outreach is key, too, as are numerous collaborative projects that keep various changes in the community in mind.
Recently The Riverside Arts Council received a grant from Inland Empire Community Foundation. Dzikonski is quick to note the importance of funding for the organization, overall, and encourages people, various businesses, and groups to reach out to her directly regarding sponsorships.
“What I love most about the organization is helping the community and also making art accessible for the community, and offering artists opportunities they need to succeed as an artist,” Dzikonski says. “And really, trying to restructure the way that people think about the arts as it pertains to society.”
Looking ahead, she points out several key initiatives, including expanding two programs from being just Riverside city-centric to county wide: an art workshop offered to youth in foster care, and a professional development workshop for artists.
“For the youth in foster care program, we started sending teachers out to one of the welcome centers for those in foster care as part of an artists’ therapy program,” she said. “We’re also trying to expand it from not just youth in a facility, but to those who have been placed in homes, so that they will all have the opportunity to attend a free workshop.”
Dzikonski came on board the organization in 2019 and was a program director until last year when she moved into the executive director position. When asked what she felt most people may not realize about The Riverside Arts Council, she was candid.
“People may not be fully aware of what the Riverside Arts Council does, in general, and a lot of the work we do is behind the scenes,” she shares. “We’re doing more on the marketing side for different organizations now, as well as our own different programs. At our core, we are an organization that is here to uplift the arts within the whole county of Riverside. Whether it’s through programming, technical assistance, or assistance with funding.”
For more information on The Riverside Arts Council, visit riversideartscouncil.com. Learn more about Inland Empire Community Foundation at iegives.org.
This story originally appeared in the Press Enterprise November 2023.
Learn more about the good work we’re doing at IECF through the power of philanthropy. Subscribe to our free monthly eNewsletter, Philanthropy Matters.