Agendas and Minutes

Public Arts Committee (View All)

Public Art Commission Regular Meeting

Friday, September 16, 2016


Friday, September 16, 2016
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

1. Call to Order

Chair Sandy Friend called the meeting to order at 8:02 a.m.  
Commission members Margaret Garrington, Dana Bussell, Richard Newman, and Laurel Merchant were present. Committee member Robert Block-Brown was absent. Council Liaison Greg Lemhouse arrived late.
2. Approval of Minutes
Friend/Richards m/s to approve the minutes of August 19, 2016 as presented. Voice Vote: All Ayes. Motion Passes.

3. Citizen Issues

Denise Baxter and Dee Perez of the Ashland Art Center explained that for the last five years the Art Center has held the Art Inspires Ashland event. This year it is hoping to do something different and focus on how art effects a community. They have hired a contractor to work with the community in discussions around what changes the community wants in Ashland. The event is in two parts: the first is an evening event (November 11th) at SOU, the second is a place-making event on November 12th (at the Art Center). Information about both is available on the Ashland Art Center website. Ms. Baxter and Ms. Perez hope that these events will be a good way for the community to resolve some of the recent conflicts in town. They hope that the PAC will be willing to attend both events and be willing to support the event publicly. The Nov. 12 event will cost $160 to attend and they were wondering if members of the PAC would be willing to attend even at that cost. They are seeking sponsors for the events (not as a fundraiser but just to break even).
Councilor Lemhouse arrived 8:05 a.m.
Ms. Perez and Ms. Baxter stated that they need at least 25 people attending the Nov. 12th event. They are focusing less on inviting artists and more on inviting community leaders, as they understand the cost may be prohibitive to most artists.
Group thanked Ms. Perez and Ms. Baxter for attending and stated that they will look at the website provided and discuss if the group has any interest in attending or assisting.
4. Council Liaison Update
Councilor Lemhouse stated that at the next study session the Police Chief will give a presentation on staffing levels. This ties in with discussions he’s part of regarding the possibility of moving our Fire Department into a fire district, thus freeing up some city funding for un-funded projects, and staffing. He gave some background on why a fire district is being considered.
Lemhouse stated that in October there will be a discussion of on-going downtown beautification projects, in particular the corner of Lithia Way and Pioneer Street. Council had asked for a new design on this corner and staff is returning with that design.
Group discussed last night’s open house regarding city hall remodel/rebuild. Garrington thanked Lemhouse for Council continuing to move forward with beautification projects, despite previous controversies.
Lastly, Lemhouse stated that the Planning Commission is working on an ordinance allowing cottage housing – this is not tiny homes but rather small houses, oriented around a central shared open-space. It’s just another option for increasing housing, possibly helping with our lack of affordable housing units.
5. Update on Changes to Municipal Code
Friend reviewed the proposed changes shown in the packet. Other commissions have not yet reviewed the proposed language changes, though Historic Commission did raise concerns when the update was initially proposed. All of those concerns have been addressed in the proposed language. Group reviewed the proposed changes. They agreed that having the Community Development Director review comments for relevancy is important. Group raised concerns that the language wasn’t entirely clear as to if all commissions get the same 30-day review period as the Historic Commission. They want all commissions to be involved in the process as early as is both possible and appropriate. Group agreed that so long as PAC staff continue to notify other commission staff of projects and events, the group is comfortable with the timeline as proposed.
6. Final Review of Mural Guidelines
Garrington stated the guidelines look good but there is a typo in the application, under Lead Artist it should read, “Artist phone and email:”, not “Artist name and email:” as we already have their name listed.
Garrington/Newman m/s to approve the mural guideline packet for Council consideration as amended. Discussion: Merchant raised concerns regarding the bullet on page 1 which reads, “To discourage visual clutter, the number of mural per block will be limited.” Limted by what? The number? The location? The surrounding buildings? Group discussed whether it was too undefined – they don’t like the idea that staff may discourage or ask someone to reconsider when there isn’t a clearer definition. Group agreed that if the statement was changed to read, “The number of murals per block may be limited.” that this would make it clear that the PAC may deny a request for a variety of reasons but also doesn’t limit options for mural possibilities. Voice Vote: All Ayes. Motion Passes.
Councilor Lemhouse departed meeting 9:10 a.m.
7. Review of Process to Evaluate Theatre Corridor Project Submittals
Group reviewed the proposed timeline. They agreed to move the December Commission meeting up by one week to be able to do the final artist selection by the December 15th deadline. They agreed to remove the October 31st date from the schedule, as Garrington will not be able to attend.
Group discussed score sheet. They would like to add into the Body of Work criteria the statement, “Experience in lighting projects of this scale or statement that artist will be working with a lighting design firm.”
Group discussed whether there should be a score based on artist’s esthetic. Particularly in regard to the esthetic being suitable for the site and in being a unique voice. There was concern that some artists may meet all the requirements of the RFP but not be a good fit for the community or the site. Another concern is an artist who meets the requirements but whose work is just a re-do of previous work. To avoid this, group agreed to add a column on the scoresheet, “Original voice - sensitive to the site requirements.”
Group agreed that the overall process looks good, though they did express concerns that it could be challenging if there are a large number of submittals.
8. Calendar Review
Group reviewed the calendar and tentatively agreed to move the potluck from November 15 to November 14. They confirmed that the December meeting will be held on the 9th.
Group discussed the challenge of supporting the Art Center proposal, both because the cost is too high for most to attend and because it was such a late request. They discussed whether another city department or budget allocation may be a better resource for the Art Center. The also discussed whether a group outside of the City of Ashland, particularly one who specializes in conflict resolution, may be a better suggestion. They did agree to look at the website information provided by the Art Center representatives.

9. Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 9:46 a.m.
Respectfully submitted,                                 
Diana Shiplet, Executive Assistant 

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