Mon., July 8: Arts and Culture Commission Calls for Community Action to Boost Benicia’s Creative Future

Artist Josie Grant’s ‘Jungle’ piano features a rainforest lush with plants and vibrantly populated by colorful animals. This and other pieces of public art were sponsored by Benicia’s Arts and Culture Commission, which faces a reduction in financial support from the City. | Photo by Will Stockton.

Message from Benicia’s Arts and Culture Commission Chair Neema Hekmat, posted on NextDoor July 5, 2024:

As Chair of the Benicia Arts and Culture Commission, I invite residents to get involved and help us find a more efficient and effective structure to support Arts and Culture in Benicia.

As you may know, the City is facing major budget challenges and there are calls to develop a more efficient structure for the City’s boards and commissions (the Arts and Culture commission being one of them). However what is also true is that Arts and Culture is not only vital and integral to Benicia’s identity (and why people love Benicia), it has also proven to generate significant ROI for the City.

As we reported in the 2024 Annual Report to City Council last month, there was over 730% ROI for Benicia businesses generated from grants provided to arts and culture. Meaning for every $1 invested, over $7 came back to the City in DIRECT revenue (indirect revenue streams are incremental).

Thus, Arts and Culture is not just something that makes us feel good, it provides tangible benefits for our community that are must haves for our future.

To say it simply, a thriving Arts and Culture means a thriving Benicia.

There are two ways that you can get involved:

  1. Attend a special commission meeting this Monday July 8th, 2024, at 5:30pm, where we will be ideating concepts for a new structure. More information can be found here:
  2. If you cannot attend this meeting but want to express your idea/opinion/thoughts, please submit a public comment in writing by emailing it to Helaine Bowles at

If you want your comment to be considered during the session, please submit your comment by noon PST on July 8.