Public Art Commission
December 11, 2015
Commissioners: Garrington, Merchant, Bussell, Newman, Friend, Lemhouse (council liaison) Seltzer (staff),
Brandon Goldman, Stef Seffinger, Pam Marsh, Barry and Katherine Thalden, Bruce Roberts, Eric Warren
Minutes of the November meeting were approved.
Presentation/Proposal for a mural on Calle Guanajuato
Barry and Katherine Thalden proposed a mural on the wall of Sesame Kitchen facing the Calle. Bruce Roberts, the building owner, supports the proposal. The Thalden’s will direct the project and finance all associated costs. They showed a preliminary concept titled “Windows on Guanajuato” showing paintings of buildings in Guanajuato “framed” by columns. Once an artist is found, the artist would come to Ashland as an “artist in residency”. Ashland artist Denise Baxter will be engaged as the technical advisor on the project, oversee the SOU student helpers and ensure the approved artist’s design on paper is executed accurately on the wall. The Thalden’s will travel to Guanajuato in January and hope to will contact potential artists. The hope is the mural is painted in early summer.
Garrington noted that both the Historic Commission and Parks Commission will need to be included in the process and asked that the concept be open to other Guanajuato scenes. Merchant asked if that design is the final design. Thalden clarified the concept is separate panels and colonnades but the artist will present their own design and select the scenes. Garrington suggested taking additional photos of the surrounding area, including the Calle, Lithia Park, the wall as seen from top of Alice Peal walkway, the wall as seen from top of the Calle Guanajuto stairs, Ashland Creek etc. so the artist knows and understands the context of the environment. PAC agreed the selection of the artist is crucial. The selected artist must be qualified and have mural experience and the artist should be the one to determine which GTO scenes should be painted.
Lemhouse asks if a reciprocal project with an artist going to Guanajuato be considered. He also suggests the Thalden’s speak with the Amigo Club. Seltzer will provide the Thalden’s with the Amigo Club contact information.
Garrington provided the Thalden’s with a sample “Call for Artist” they can use when they begin their outreach to potential artists. It was clarified that the PAC cannot approve the project until it reviews the artist designs and palette. Bussell noted that the paint palette for murals should be somewhat muted.
Watershed Art Group
Pam Marsh and Steff Seffinger informed the PAC that the Watershed Art Group has received another grant to commission a second piece of art along the Bandersnatch trail. They would like to have a liaison from the PAC work with them on the next steps and throughout the process. Bussell volunteered to be the liaison. Garrington provided them with the sample “Call for Artists” and noted that Risa Buck may be a source for recycled materials. Bussell noted that there are numerous pictures of “land art” on Pinterest which may give the WAG some ideas. Lemhouse asked about a “master plan” showing potential locations of other areas for art in the watershed, suggesting this may be beneficial to the PAC. Marsh clarified that ultimately they would like to map the area. Seffinger noted that new trails are being created that have locations that may be appropriate for art. The challenge is finding locations that are accessible so the art can be transported to the site for installation.
Eric Warren presented several concepts based on input from the PAC at the last meeting using a mock up photograph of each location.
- Floating letters. The PAC felt this design looked especially good with the RR trestle as the background but did not work as well with the other two locations.
- Letters A and D slightly off the side of the base. The PAC agreed this design could work at the Briscoe School location.
- Letter on the base. The PAC agreed this design would be best for the Highway 66 location.
All three signs have the same letter font made from the same material and all have the same base of rusted steel. Warren was asked to remove the rounded top of the base. There was much discussion about the shape of the base and ultimately the group agreed a curved upper front with a flat lower front was preferable.
Garrington asked Lemhouse how the council wants this to come forward for a decision. Lemhouse suggested inviting the public to comment on the design at an upcoming First Friday. Friend will contact the Ashland Art Center about available space at the February First Friday. Seltzer will include information in the January City Source.
Warren showed other letter options, colored letters and gold. PAC commented that the colored letters might “look too much like google” or odd conceptual meanings and the gold letters might look too pretentious. All agreed the silver with the horizontal grain will catch the light the best.
ODOT has informed the City that they are not in favor of a new sign on Highway 66 to replace the current temporary signs. ODOT suggests the new sign be located within the Ashland jurisdiction on Highway 66 (across from Napa Auto Parts and the cemetery). The PAC agreed that locating the sign that far from Exit 14 does not work since the beautification committee wanted the sign to “greet” folks entering Ashland from Exit 14. Staff will work with ODOT on this issue.
January 15, Warren will show the design for the revised base.
February 5, First Friday 5:00 at the Ashland Art Center
February 8, (reserved for a special meeting if need be to vote to move the recommendation to the City Council for approval)
February 16 Council meeting
February 19 Regular PAC meeting
Update from Chair
Garrington explained the presentation she will present to the Council on Gather.
Garrington told the group of her visit to SOU to see the sign machine purchased by the Thalden’s. The chair of the Historic Commission and representatives from Parks also attended the demonstration. She explained that it can’t do the QR codes. Those would have to be printed on something with an adhesive back and then attached to the signs.
The Mayor would like interested members of the Public Art Commission to attend a planning meeting (TBD) for the Mayor’s Art Exhibit.
The next meeting is Friday January 15, 2015.
Meeting adjourned at 11:00 a.m.