BILL & JULIE ZIMMERMAN
Arts Ambassador of the Month - September 2020
Written By Jim T. Gammill
Arts Council Menifee
Arts Council Menifee always strives to recognize individuals whose efforts promote the arts throughout the community. This month's award will be presented to a special couple that has done so much to help establish the non-profit organization.
Most Menifee residents know Bill Zimmerman as the city’s mayor, and many would recognize his wife, Julie, as a constant contributor to local events. However, long before Bill's role as Mayor, he and Julie were instrumental in building Arts Council Menifee, hosting events, and creating opportunities for local artists to display their talents.
"I remember sitting next to Dawn Smith at a 2010 City Council meeting where she shared her idea with me to start an arts movement in our new city. Hard to believe that was ten years ago," Bill said with a smile.
A few months later, the first kick-off meeting took place at the Sun City library. Many goals and ideas were presented by those in attendance; Bill offered to design a logo for the new organization and chose to include the look and colors of a peacock based on Dawn Smith’s recommendation.
Arts Council Menifee still proudly uses this original design as its logo to this day.
Julie Zimmerman joined Arts Council Menifee in 2011 and served as the Board Secretary. The focus at that point was to create an art program for Menifee's youth, but Julie also helped plan and promote art galleries, the annual "Menifee's Got Talent" shows, as well as the popular "Arts Showcase" event at the Countryside Marketplace.
"It was a joy to see the children's faces as they tried using real paint and brushes for the first time," Julie said, referring to the free Summer Youth Art camp held in Quail Valley and Romoland neighborhoods each year.
Julie also spent many hours preparing the grants that paid for the professional instructors. "We made a lot of new friends, all of them sharing a passion to serve others and promote art and culture," Julie said.
In 2016 ACM's board elected Bill to serve as its President.
Bill succeeded in building a great rapport with the County Supervisor, the City Manager, in addition to college and school district Superintendents. These relationships proved extremely helpful in securing venues for many events. Around this time, Bill spoke before the Valley Health Board and received a $25K grant that was used for free dance and visual art instruction classes.
Bill also presented an idea to the City's Parks Commission to install rentable kiosks at Central Park for local artists to use (which have been recently completed). Currently, he is helping coordinate an idea proposed by his colleague, Mayor pro tem Matthew Liesemeyer, to have artists paint patriotic and agrarian themed images onto utility boxes to dress them up.
It is for these reasons and countless others that Arts Council Menifee is pleased to name Bill and Julie Zimmerman as Arts Council Menifee’s Ambassadors for the Arts for the month of September.
Mr. and Mrs. Zimmerman had the following to say upon receipt of this recognition:
"I am fortunate to be serving as Mayor. I will continue to be an advocate for the arts in Menifee" said Bill. The city has incorporated a component for new development approvals to include public art in the design. We are even seeing new retail projects that include courtyard spaces to accommodate local artists and performers.”
"The arts are a valuable part of a community's social infrastructure," said Julie, "and we are fortunate to have an arts council, its talented artists, and those who volunteer to make it so successful."