Yes, that is the sound of harp music coming from the city’s parks department.
Mansfield’s new cultural arts coordinator doesn’t just appreciate the arts, she creates it.
Rosalie “Rosie” Gilbert, 30, has played the harp since she was a child, and brought one with her when she started work in December as the city’s first cultural arts coordinator. Gilbert will be the city’s liason to the seven-member Commission for the Arts, which the council created last spring.
Now that Gilbert is in place, the commission is starting to get busy, with a strategic planning session scheduled for next week. A city music/film/art fest along with a gala is already being configured for next fall.
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“My vision is rather than create a new arts group, the commission should be used as a microphone for all the arts, to promote them,” Gilbert said. “Mansfield has a lot of good beginnings. We really need an arts commission to provide support for the artists.”
Gilbert sees the commission working with the wind symphony, theater and school district, she said, and reaching out to individual arts and organizations. Some examples would be working with the Mansfield school district to promote its art show in May and celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Farr Best Theater.
Gilbert also wants to work at getting the city recognized as a cultural district and promoting cultural tourism, she said.
“We will have a website for the Commission for the Arts directing people not only to events, but individuals,” she said. “We really need to find Mansfield’s niche. We have to find out what makes Mansfield unique.”
Gilbert is also unique. The Washington D.C. native earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance, and met and married her husband, Oscar Soler, in college. After college, the couple moved to Wisconsin, where Soler, a violinist, taught at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Gilbert worked with the university’s Suzuki Center to build a harp program, working with children and adults, and did communications for the center. She also played the harp and did outreach with the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra.
After Soler accepted a job with the HEB school district to teach elementary orchestra, Gilbert found the cultural arts position in Mansfield.
“It sounded really exciting,” Gilbert said. “The city was supporting cultural arts and building the community. It seemed like a really good fit.”
Theresa Cohagen, the city’s tourism manager, agrees.
“She gets it, she knows what we need,” Cohagen said. “We’re able to achieve things that we have thought and talked about. We haven’t been able to do any of the cultural tourism that we wanted to. I’m spread so thin with sports.
“We’re looking at getting a cultural designation with the state of Texas, which allows you to get federal grants,” she said.
Gilbert will also be a resource for local artists, Cohagen said.
“There’s a lot of culture in this town, but not anybody to advocate for them,” she said. “There’s one person that all these people can go to.”
While music is Gilbert’s first love, she says she enjoys all forms of art.
“I’m really excited about being here at the beginning,” Gilbert said. “I’m excited about the arts and about coming into a new challenge and creating it as I go. As a musician, being creative is exciting and fun. What could seem like an administrative job is really creative and exciting. I’ll get to create an arts life for the whole city.”
Cultural Arts Coordinator