BRENTWOOD -- Jack Gaughan's vision of Brentwood includes more art galleries, a community theater playhouse and more open microphone literary nights.
The artist and actor in him crave such venues. The businessman knows how to go after them.
When the Brentwood sculptor and painter isn't crafting a piece of art, he's making a presentation to a local business group or organizing a community event. In between you might find him mounting a show at his new Gallery on Second or producing a play via his Brentwood Theater Co.
This weekend he'll be working at his booth and as an organizer at the Brentwood Art Society Art Wine and Jazz Festival. Gaughan's multitude of projects doesn't tax him.
"I live in both sides of my brain at the same time," the 77-year-old arts activist explained.
It's a skill set that recently garnered him the title Artist of the Year from the Brentwood Art Society, which will honor him at the arts festival this weekend.
The multi-tasking Gaughan could be working on any number of arts projects while at his desk in the corner of The Gallery on Second. You can bet he's got the community in mind, no matter what they are.
"Working with him is nothing short of fabulous," according to Donna Spencer, chair of the Brentwood Arts Commission where Gaughan is a past president and current member. "We are lucky to have him."
Spencer recalled a gallery showing Gaughan arranged for seniors at Westmont Senior Living
"He's fun and smart and talented and cares more than just about anyone that we have wonderful art and culture in our area," Spencer added.
Gaughan's local resume includes the Brentwood Arts Commission, Brentwood Art Society, The Vagabond Players, Broadway Under the Stars, Brentwood's Police Activities League, the Rotary, and the Discover Art League.
"I consider myself an arts activist," he said.
Mid-August found him at his new gallery securing music rights for next season's Broadway Under the Stars plays ("The Music Man" and "Fiddler on the Roof"), preparing for the upcoming Art, Wine and Jazz Festival, hanging a few of his paintings, and dealing with car repairs. It was a typical day for a man who has been involved in the arts since art classes and a variety show in high school.
Gaughan once acted in commercials and did public service announcements. He had aspirations in the arts, but in the 1950s and 1960s "we were told 'you gotta get a real job.'"
His career was in sales and marketing, but he has been involved with the arts in one way or another most of his life. The father of three and grandfather of six retired 12 years ago and moved to Brentwood in 2002.
Broadway Under the Stars, founded with Steve Kinsella, is an example of how Gaughan brings his business acumen to the arts. Most of the theater company's patrons are retirees seeking nostalgic musicals, so that's what they get. At the same time, Gaughan and Kinsella are working to build new customers with youth theater groups and family discounts. Gaughan said two of his proudest accomplishments are his involvement in scholarships for local high school students and a local arts docents program.
These days, much of his energy goes into securing pieces for the next showing at The Gallery on Second. It's a professional gallery, with displays changing every couple of months and all pieces for sale. There are hundreds of accomplished artists in the East County area, Gaughan said. There haven't, however, been many places for them to display their art. Gaughan opened his gallery at the urging of local art aficionados and artists.
Gaughan isn't shy to promote the gallery, the artists or any of the groups that have come to count on him as a highly visible marketer and advocate for the arts in East County. It's a role he accepts willingly.
"I like to be on the creative side more," he said, " but I realize the necessity of the business side."