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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Call to Order

The meeting called to order by Chair, Jane Ditzler, at 6:34 pm at the Community Center at Mercer View, 8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island, WA 98040


The Chair stated that there would be an addition to the agenda.  Steve Lancaster, Director of Development Services Group, will make an appearance.



Roll Call

Beth Brennen, Kevin Curry, Jane Ditzler, Sara Liberty-Laylin, Helen Martin, and Katalin Pearman.

Absent:  Fred Poyner, Judith Powers Leithe, and Ellen Hochberg.


City Council:

Councilman Bruce Bassett - absent



Amber Britton, Diane Mortenson, Manny OCampo and Eileen Hemmis Trifts




Steve Lancaster, Director, Development Services Group (DSG) addressed the Arts Council regarding how DSG and the Design Commission deal with art installation for new development projects.  There are different ways the city gets involved with art installations for public and private art. 

(1) A city acquisition of art: The Arts Council is responsible for making those recommendations. 

(2) A private piece of art for a development project: The final decision is made by the Design Commission. 

He stated that there is some gray area between the two.  For example the 78th central project.  There was a dispute between the city and developer as to whether there were enough amenities provided in order to obtain additional height for the building.  We came to an agreement that was subsequently approved by the City Council.  The agreement contained two key provisions. (1) The developer agreed to finance the construction of a public plaza along 78th.  (2) The developer agreed to install an art piece with the only parameter being that value must be at least $45,000. The developer was pretty insistent that he be allowed to choose the piece as part of the settlement.  A well-known artist, Harold Balazs, was chosen by the developer to create the piece. The sculpture is now in place.  


Jane Ditzler asked for clarification as to whom and when the Arts Council should talk to regarding art for the town center development.  Steve Lancaster responded that the Design Commission would be very open to input and expertise from the Arts Council.


Manny OCampo, Interim Director, Parks & Recreation, assured the Arts Council that any recommendations for use of the 1% for the Arts have to come through the Arts Council.  Manny thought the Design Commission would be open to input (comment role) from the Arts Council for art for private development on private property. He suggested that there should be some kind of a notification to the Arts Council for these instances.  He thought the Arts Council could also act as a resource role for developers by putting together a portfolio of available artists.


Katalin Pearman stated that the Arts Council has held back on putting more pieces in the sculpture garden until construction is complete. She asked Steve what he thinks will be off limits over the next few months.  Steve thought Sunset at least to 78th would be open within the next several weeks.


Manny suggested that staff will work with the Arts Council to develop the process and confirm how DSG, the Design Commission and Arts Council can work together. 





Sara Liberty-Laylin motioned to approve the minutes of September 9, 2009 Minutes as submitted.  Motion seconded and passed unanimously.


Chair Report

Jane Ditzler, Chair, reported that she has gotten to know James Mason, Deputy City Manager.  He has a lot of really good ideas and wants to work with us. She invited him to November meeting;   Manny OCampo agreed that he would be a very valuable resource for the Arts Council.


The Playful Pup sculpture has been replaced.  Loyal and Marj Moore donated the original sculpture to the city in memory of Louise Matzke and Nancy Mottet (friends of the Moore’s).   It was stolen in July of this year, and they replaced it, donating the replacement to the city as well.  Jane wrote a thank you note to the Moore’s and Diane sent it out.  The Mercer Island Reporter took pictures and they are expected to appear in the paper soon.


Jane reported that she met with the Public Art Committee.  They have chosen the banner to submit to the City Council for approval.  It won’t go to the City Council until February because the City Council’s docket is full through the end of the year.  Diane Mortenson stated that it will go before the Parks & Recreation Subcommittee before it goes to Council.


Amber Britton indicated that the Artist Selection Committee results should be in place when it goes to the City Council.  The Committee will make their selection from submissions received from a “Call for Artists” There is a protocol as to who has to be included on the committee.



Staff Report:


There is a new vacancy on the Arts Council.  Maryann Huhs has resigned due to her hectic travel schedule. The Mayor is looking over recommendations for the vacant position.


Retreat:  Part 1


Manny Ocampo distributed a 3-meeting plan for the Arts Council Retreat, the first of which is tonight.  He stated that the 2004 retreat, interestingly, had many of the same topics, key questions and action items to be addressed. 


As a part one the Arts Council Retreat, Amber Britton presented a slide show and handouts of the History including the successes and accomplishments of the Arts Council. The Arts Council’s 25-year anniversary is in 2010.


Beth Brennen was concerned that the agenda seems to be mostly procedural in nature.  Manny said that the Arts Council, at their last meeting, expressed an interest in reviewing procedures.  The focus is on procedure, and we will take some time to discuss the work plan for 2010, brainstorming, and more.  He felt these are all important and will all be included in the retreat.  Manny asked that if anyone has any comments about specific items on the agenda, please get them to him or Amber.  He plans to have the agenda flushed out by the November meeting.


Manny stated that the Arts Council Mission is supposed to be the Arts Council’s overall all-encompassing reason for being and used as a guide in developing goals. Does it need to be updated or is it still achieving what you want to achieve in a mission statement?


The current mission statement:  Nurture, promote and support quality cultural arts and activities for the community of Mercer Island.


The following comments/suggestions were made:

·         Include “implementation” as the Arts Council implements many art programs and events. 

·         “Quality” is ambiguous and a judgment term.  It could be replaced with the term “high quality”.

·         “Cultural arts activities” could be expanded to “support high quality art and cultural activities”.

·         Should we put in something regarding the outcome?  For example, “For the enrichment of the Community”.  The value of the arts is about the community.

·         An education component might be included.

·         An economic component might be included.  Jane commented that James Mason is going to talk at our next meeting about how the quality of the art downtown is bringing in new business.



Manny asked if the Arts Council felt their “goals” are still relevant. 


Current Goals:


1.     Serve as an advocate for the arts, artists and arts organizations of Mercer Island.

2.     Stimulate and promote community education, awareness and enjoyment of the fine arts.

3.     Support quality performing, visual and literary arts programs, projects and events.


Discussion of the goals and thoughts on improving them:


o    Are you still an advocate?  Yes.  Quietly, but continuously. 


o    Off Island too – including opera with Seattle and Shakespeare.

o    Katalin would like to see Mercer Island as the focus, but not necessarily in point one.


o    Stimulate and promote – Arts Council brings much to the island – long list in history. For example AYP – bringing something that broadens the perspective of the community.


o    Jane commented that it is a given that Mercer Island is an Arts Community.  She has lived here for a long time and it is expected.


o    *Fine Arts – Maybe take out fine and leave it at “Arts” – Decided to leave it in as we do stimulate and promote, etc.


o    *Kevin thought 2 & 3 could be combined.

o    -Support and implement quality performing, etc.


Manny stated that one of areas of discussion at the next retreat is the role of the Arts Council and developing an action plan as to what to do to achieve these goals that eventually gets you to your mission.


Some Examples

Advocacy – MMIP advocating for the artist, bring music

Stimulate – Classics on film, AYP

Enjoyment – Shakespeare

Education – Lectures on films

Support – research and provide grants, spend money to put on programs


Manny said he will work on updating the Mission Statement and Goals and bring something back in November to bounce off of the Arts council.



Mostly Music in the Park

Beth Brennen reported that she sent thank you notes to all the MMIP sponsors and let them know of the thank you ad that would be appearing in the Mercer Island Reporter.  She also contacted previous members of the Committee and to ask if they are interested in taking part again.


Amber Britton reported that the MMIP dedicated web page has been completed and contains information specific to MMIP including how to apply and where to send promotional packs for interested musicians.



Helen Martin stated that she would like to start promoting and develop a volunteer list.  A discussion of ways to accomplish this yielded the following suggestions:

·         Add a “call for volunteers” to postcards, etc. sent out for events. 

·         Something could be posted on the website. 

·         We could develop a sign-up list for those interested in the arts and receiving information. 

·         Amber mentioned we are going to do a trial Facebook Fan Page for the Parks & Recreation Department.  It is possible we could have one for the Arts Council as well.



Katalin Pearman reported on the current Gallery Show, The Art of Brenda Zager. The opening reception had a good turn out.  A few paintings have sold to date. It will be coming down this week.

The Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL) show is going up on Saturday, October 17th and will run through December 19th.


Katalin reported that there are a few more pieces coming back into the Outdoor Gallery.  We are waiting until construction is complete to install them, and anticipate it will be early next year.  Amber said the ‘Island Poles’ can be put back up at that time as well.


Katalin reported that the 2011 gallery show scheduling is coming up. 


Public Art

Kevin Curry reported Helen, Jane and he tweaked the Banner Proposal Arts Council member Fred Poyner put together, and they turned it over to the staff.  He stated that Fred really did a good job on the proposal.  Helen was able to put together a cost estimate to go with the proposal to the City Council for approval.


Jane Ditzler mentioned that they are hoping to have this project finished by June and certainly by Summer Celebration! at the latest. She asked how many bids are needed for the manufacturer.  Manny OCampo said probably several or be able to show that the manufacturer is a sole source.


Community Relations

Helen Martin updated everyone on publicity - the Mercer Island Reporter, Recreation Guide and City Quarterly & Weekly have all had publicity, and Amber sent out thank you cards for AYP.

This Thursday is the last 3rd Thursday for this year.  It is scheduled again for next year from May – October.  Helen will work on getting a sponsor to cover the cost of the Mercer Island Reporter insert next year so we can maybe lower the cost to the Merchants and allow them to sign up for the full six months.



A Parks and Recreation Director recruitment went out.  Manny Ocampo said it is tentatively scheduled to have the new Director onboard by mid-January 2010.



The meeting adjourned at 8:40 pm.  The next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 10th at the Community Center at Mercer View.


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