CC: John Karns, interim City Administrator David Lohman, City Attorney Ann Seltzer, Staff Liaison
From: Sandy Friend, Chair, Public Art Commission Margaret Garrington, Vice Chair, Public Art Commission
Re: Theater Corridor public art project
The Public Art Commission is looking forward to hosting two public presentations by Theater Corridor public art project artist, Gordon Huether. The first presentation will be an open community meeting scheduled for July 31 at 6:00 in the Council Chambers. Gordon will talk about the two concepts that he has developed to meet the Project Intent (included at the bottom of this memo) as defined in the Call for Artist/RFQ. The second presentation by Gordon will be to the City Council at your Business Meeting on August 1.
Last October at a Council meeting, we outlined the process for the development of the Theater Corridor project. The PAC was pleased that, at that meeting, the Council affirmed our plan to follow the public art process as stated in AMC 2.29, and to hold a series of public meetings at which we would select one artist based on the criteria stated in the RFQ. The successful artist would be charged with creating two concepts that meet the Project Intent.
That process has worked well, and the artist has fulfilled the RFQ requirement to update the PAC regarding his preliminary concept development. A Selection Panel is in place and will meet on August 4 to formulate a recommendation for a single design concept that the PAC will forward to the Council for review and your final decision at your September 5 Business Meeting. This delay between the artist presentation to you on August 1 and the recommendation for your review and decision on September 5 was scheduled to allow the Historic Commission and other city commissions who wish to provide input, time to meet, prepare and submit their comments to you.
All City Commissions have been invited, via email to the staff liaisons, to attend the July 31 presentation. In addition we hope to arrange for a videographer to film Gordon’s presentation and post the film on the city’s website.
We have written this memo so that you have a clear history and understanding about our public process and our public outreach efforts prior to the artist presentation to you on August 1.
A brief history of the PAC’s public process and public outreach for the Theater Corridor public art project.
In Spring 2016 when the PAC was developing the RFQ, PAC Chair Margaret Garrington made a presentation of our draft RFQ to the Historic Commission. We received input from the Commission which was incorporated into the RFQ.
The PAC issued the RFQ on August 1, 2016 and received 28 applications.
During the period from September 16, 2016 through December, 2016, the PAC held 7 public meetings at which we evaluated and created a shortlist of artist candidates, interviewed those short-listed candidates, and selected Gordon Huether to design the Theater Corridor. Each of the 7 public meetings, their agendas and minutes were posted on the City website calendar.
Questions to solicit public input to inform the artist about the project were included in the January City Source, Open City Hall, at the Library and in the letter to the editor noted above. 102 responses were received and provided to the artist.
Posters inviting the community to “Meet the Artist” at a presentation by Gordon Huether held on February 24 were displayed throughout the city including at the Library, at both ends of the Theater Corridor, at City Hall, at The Grove and at the Nature Center.
A special Public Art Commission meeting was scheduled and publicly noticed for April 19 at which the artist presented his two draft concepts to the Commission, a requirement in the RFQ as noted above.
During June and continuing into July, the PAC has been publicizing the community presentation scheduled for July 31 via the media, the City website, the City Source, in emails to City Commissions, display posters and more.
The PAC is proud of the process we conducted, the public outreach and equally important, our selection of artist Gordon Huether. We’re confident you’ll enjoy his presentation.
Thank you for taking to time to read this memo, and for all your efforts on behalf of Ashland.
*************************************************************************** Project Intent The vision for this project is to add an original permanent signature installation of contemporary art within the city’s downtown commercial district. The finished theater corridor project is meant to enhance the barren pedestrian corridor and transform it into a lighted artful walking experience encouraging exploration and use of the walkway both day and night. Therefore, creative use of light should be a strong component of the work combined with compelling daytime visual interest.
This project is located within the City of Ashland’s Nationally Registered Downtown Historic District and adjacent to an historic building. The artwork cannot be affixed to building walls or obstruct access to these walls. These adjacent buildings are approximately 10 to 20 feet tall. Clearance for proper building maintenance must be maintained. The theater corridor is a span 142 feet long and approximately 14 to 16 feet wide, with two stairways, and can be used in part or in total for the project. Refer to the attachments for photos and dimensions. The PAC is seeking an original artistic vision for this pedestrian corridor that:
Visually and spatially enhances the experience of pedestrians on the corridor and adjacent sidewalks.
Creates a sense of place and pride by establishing a distinctive landmark compatible with the downtown historic and commercial district.
Is an original site specific engaging art work activating use of the walkway at all times of day and night.
Is compatible with the location in terms of scale, material, form, content, and safety considerations.
Enhances the sense of place by being viewable in some way both day and night.
Reimagines this public space by visually connecting it to the theater campus and Main Street.
Is a durable exterior art work requiring minimum conservation and maintenance.