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Arts Council - Minutes     
Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Call To Order:

Beth Brennen called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm in the Luther Burbank Room, Community Center at Mercer View, 8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island, WA  98040.



Roll Call:

Present:  Beth Brennen, Ellen Hochberg, Judith Powers Leithe, Helen Martin, Sandra Schilling, Tudor Sherrard, and Jane Ditzler. Absent: Katalin Pearman, Cynthia Nuzzi and Marcia Thomas.


City Council Liaison present:  Bruce Bassett


Staff present: Amber Britton and Eileen Hemmis Trifts.



Terry Mooreman, Chamber of Commerce, appeared before to Council to speak about the adopt a planter program -  “Color Mercer Island Beautiful”.  There are currently 18 businesses committed to having a planter.  An additional 12 are interested.  This brings the total to 30 pots!  They are all enthusiastic about it.  Terry suggested we go ahead with these 30 pots, and if the program does well, we can do more next year.  Terry has identified a possible 78 locations for the planters.


Jane felt the idea of a map depicting the location of the planters would be a good thing.  She felt the idea of an award would be a good form of publicity as well. There has already been one article in the reporter and Terry thought it would be quite easy to get some additional press as they seem quite enthusiastic about the program.


There was some discussion as to what the pot size will be.  Kevin has not yet heard back from the supplier.  Amber will follow up with Londi Lindell, Deputy City Manager, with regard to the soil.  Jane said that she would like to have the planters and soil delivered by May 2.  Terry mentioned that anytime before the 1st or on the 2nd would be good her.  The 1st of May is not good as the Chamber has a luncheon scheduled on that day.


Amber will check with Londi to make sure that delivery of pots and soil to each individual location is included in the purchase order.  She will call Londi tomorrow to work out the details for the delivery of the pots and soil.  She’ll send out an email to everyone with the results.



The following corrections were made to the minutes of March 12, 2008:

1)       Strike the last paragraph under the General heading and replace it with the following:  Helen Martin suggested that everyone take a look at  She felt this might be a good resource for the amphitheatre. 

2)       Under the Chair’s Report, second paragraph, second line, correct spelling of Grouse to Grausz

Tudor Sherrard made a motion to accept the minutes as amended.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.


Chair’s Report:

Great News!  Beth Brennen, Chair, announced that Charlie Rathbun from 4Culture has informed us that the Arts Council will be receiving an $8,000 sustained support grant in response to a grant request written by Amber Britton.  Beth asked him about future grants. The next and last for this year is the Cultural Facilities Fixed Asset Grant. The deadline is June 2008.  Beth felt a grant of this nature might cover the stage in the amphitheatre.  Beth has been unable to locate the grant request guidelines on the internet. She will call Charlie for more information tomorrow.



Beth reported that she spoke to Eric Jensen, who recently applied for a grant from the Arts Council to assist them in setting up a fundraiser to send some high school bands to China.  She asked him if he would talk to Parker Bixby, the band director, about “buskers” for the Farmer’s Market.  She felt we could contact MMIP bands to see if any of those individuals would be interested as well.


Beth reported that the Arts Council contributed $200 to earth day to pay for a children’s art project.



Mostly Music in the Park: 

Tudor Sherrard reported that we have nine bands lined up for Mostly Music in the Park.  Amber said that contracts are ready.  She is waiting for a response from the sound company for additional information before sending them out.  Five hundred eighty sponsor packages were mailed out yesterday.  Amber also reported that new A-boards and a new sign for Mercerdale Park are in the works.  Beth commented that she is hopeful the sign will be large enough to fit all of the band names on it and sturdy enough to withstand the wind.


Literary & Shakespeare:

Judy Leithe reported that the literary program wraps up the Hitchcock series with “Spellbound”.  Shakespeare’s 444th birthday celebration is scheduled for April 19th – unfortunately, the same day as “Leap for Green”.


In follow-up to a presentation made to the Arts Council by Peter Donaldson in February, Judy reported that he wants to do three performances of Salmon People.  The cost is about $2,500 per performance.  He said if the first performance is not a success, he would not take a fee himself.  Judy felt there still might be some cost involved, so it may not make it completely fee neutral, but this would certainly minimize the risk.  There was some discussion as to when he would like to do his performances – in fall 2008 or 2009.  It was agreed that when his proposal was made it was for the 2009-10 budget year.  Amber said we could do it in 2008, but the money would have to come from another program. 


Tudor Sherrard made a motion to pursue this (project).  Judy seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously. 



Jane gave an update on the Alaskan Yukon Expo.  On April 1st the Seattle Times ran the first article on marking the centennial.  Our participation would be in the form of a Gallery Show in August and September of 2009.  At this time Jane is just looking to see what is available.  She visited the Mercer Island Historical Society to find out what they might have to contribute to the Expo.  They feel they might have some stuff, but it is disorganized and they would need some help to look at it to see what might be used.  Some items are in need of framing, and Jane thought we should have some lockable jewelry cabinets as the other part of the show would be Native American jewelry.  Jane indicated that she would be the point person in putting this together with the Gallery Committee.  During the time of the gallery show, we could have other things happening around the island.  Beth asked Jane to continue to pursue this and keep the Arts Council updated on her progress. 



In Katalin’s absence, Eileen reported that the current show will be coming down this coming weekend.  A new show is scheduled to be installed on Monday, April 14th.  The new show is the Northwest Pastel Society.  The artist reception is planned for the following Thursday, April 17th, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.


Public Art:

Jane reported that there will be four “Color Me Beautiful” awards categories:  Simply sustainable, Edible Flowers and Herbs, Creatively Colorful and Beaucoup Bouquet. It is anticipated that the award presentations will be made on Memorial Day right after the parade at the Pergola in Mercerdale Park.


Community Relations:

Helen asked for clarification on the best and most effective way to communicate with staff.  She also asked if staff and Council members could please send out an email if they will be on vacation or are out ill for an extended period of time.  Amber responded that email and telephone are the best ways to communicate with staff.  She stated that items of an administrative nature or having to do with the Galleries can be directed to Eileen.  Anything else should be communicated to Amber and she will decide who would be the best person to handle it.  Amber also asked for an early warning on Council needs so that she has time to schedule time to handle them along with her other responsibilities.



Staff Report:

Program Positions:  Program positions for the 2009/10 Council were agreed upon as follows:

Mostly Music in the Park | Chair, Tudor Sherrard | Associate, Beth Brennen

Shakespeare | Chair, Judith Leithe

Literary | Chair, Judy Leithe | Associate, Kevin Curry

4Culture | Chair, Beth Brennen | Associate, Jane Ditzler

Gallery | Chair, Katalin Pearman | Associate, Ellen Hochberg

Public Art | Chair, Kevin Curry | Associate, Ellen Hochberg

Community Relations | Chair, Jane Ditzler

Third Thursday | Helen Martin


Sandra Schilling and Katalin Pearman will be asked for their preferences at the May meeting.


Nominations for Board positions were submitted.  A ballot will be created and elections for Board positions will take place at the May 14, 2008 meeting. Position assignments will be effective in June.


City Council Report:

Bruce Bassett had some suggestions regarding earlier discussion of Peter Donaldson’s “Salmon People” performance.  He suggested the Arts Council might want to consider keeping a second date open in case the first night sells out and there is a potential for raising more money.  Amber said that we can budget the potential or opportunity to do all three shows without being committed to doing more shows if the first one is not successful.  Bruce suggested that Judy talk to Peter about his expectation on how many seats he can fill.  The theatre at the high school has approximately 700 seats. 


Nannette Bassett sent a thank you to the Arts Council via Councilman Bassett for getting involved with the Farmer’s Market.  She asked him to relay three key dates for the Market:  Opening on 10 August, Back to School, and Closing in October.  Beth suggested that Arts Council members consider attending the April 24th meeting in support of the Farmer’s Market.


Adjournment:   8:30 pm


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