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Arts Council - Minutes     
Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order by Chair, Jane Ditzler, at 6:35pm at the Community Center at Mercer View, 8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island, WA  98040


Roll Call:

Members Present: Kevin Curry, Jane Ditzler, Ellen Hochberg , Megan Hand, Sara Liberty-Laylin , Helen Martin, Natalie Neubert, Katalin Pearman, Bonnie Predd, and Pam Rock.  Absent: Fred Poyner.


City Council:

Councilman Dan Grausz



Diane Mortenson, Recreation Superintendent and Eileen Hemmis Trifts, Administrative Assistant




Jenny Manning, Mercer Island Reporter was introduced by Chair, Jane Ditzler.  Jane thanked her and the Mercer Island Reporter for their support of the Arts Council and its programs.


Approval of Minutes:

Katalin Pearman motioned to approve the July 14 minutes.  The motion was seconded and passed


Katalin Pearman motioned to approve the August 14 minutes with the following amendment:

Amendment: Under Shakespeare and Literary Chair Report insert the time, 7:30 pm, for the showing of Dawn on the Island.

The motion was seconded and passed.


Chair Report:

Chair, Jane Ditzler announced that she will not be at the October meeting. The Vice Chair, Helen Martin, will chair the meeting.


Special thanks to Helen Martin and Sara Liberty-Laylin for their contribution to making the 25th Anniversary Celebration a great success.  Also to Fern Lamb who procured all of our vendors. Helen mentioned that Fern has been a volunteer for 3rd Thursday for at least 3 years.


In response to an inquiry as to where attendees can get 3rd Thursday maps, it was noted that they are in the Mercer Island Reporter and copies are handed out to businesses. Additionally, it is on the website and can be printed from there.


Jane reported that she received a request from Arts Alliance to please contact the governor and tell her how we feel about the possibility that the 1% for the arts may be lost at the state level.  The phone number is 360-902-4111. Reference the Committee to Reduce the Budget when you call.


Jane announced committee appointments for new members and endorsed requests for some changes for existing committee members. There was some question as to whether Third Thursday is a committee.  It was determined that it is not a committee and that it falls under Special Projects.  It was noted that it would require an amendment to the bylaws to add committee(s).


Updated Committee Assignments for 2010 are as follows:


·         MMIP: Chair, Helen Martin; Associate, Kevin Curry

·         Public Art: Chair, Fred Poyner; Associates: Ellen Hochberg, Helen Martin, and Kevin Curry

·         Literary: Chair, Pam Rock; Associates: Natalie Neubert and Bonnie Predd

·         Gallery:  Chair, Ellen Hochberg; Associates: Sara Liberty-Laylin, Katalin Pearman, Megan Hand and *Fred Poyner

·         Community Relations:  Chair, Natalie Neubert; Associates: Bonnie Predd, Sara Liberty-Laylin, and Pam Rock.

·         Special Projects: Chair, Katalin Pearman; Associates: Kevin Curry, and Sara Liberty-Laylin (3rd Thursday and Volunteer Pool).


* Fred was absent, so he will be given the option as to whether he wants to continue as an associate for the Gallery Committee.



Staff Report:

Diane Mortenson, Recreation Superintendent, introduced herself to new members.


Diane reported that last night 1% for public art was on the agenda for City Council. Bruce Fletcher, Parks & Recreation Director, gave a brief overview to the City Council on how the program works.  For example, the 1% fund paid for the banner project.  It was noted that in reference to the Chair’s earlier report, the state loss of the 1% fund will not affect Mercer Island’s 1% fund.


Councilman Grausz gave an overview of where the 1% money comes from.  An ordinance was set up by the City Council 20 years ago which was most likely patterned after the states’.  The 1% fund is around 300,000 right now. The City Council may be looking at that money considering the city’s budget shortfalls.


In discussion regarding the 1% for the Arts Fund, Councilman Grausz cautioned that in view of expected service cuts in the 2011-12 budget, it would be a challenge to introduce anything that appears to be a luxury such as the water project. He stated that recommendations for the use of the money can be made to the City Council. He thought the Arts Council might want to consider recommending the use of some of the money in the 1% fund to assist Mercer Island organizations that will likely be in need of assistance in the near future. For example, there may be an issue in the next few years with Youth Theatre Northwest. The school will be asking them to leave.  Similarly there are other organizations that may be in the same boat.  In response to a request from Chair, Jane Ditzler, Councilman Grausz said he could help identify those organizations. 


Sara Liberty-Laylin asked what art organizations the City has supported through the years. Diane said support is usually given through grants and have been done through the Arts Council.


Councilman Grausz said he sees no desire on the part of the City Council to change current art programs offered by the Arts Council.  He said the only thing they may be eying right now is the $300,000 that is currently sitting in the 1% fund.  If that were to happen, the East Link project 1% for the Arts money that is expected to come to the city could then be used to help pay for the water feature at a later date.


Diane reported that concrete has been poured for re-installation of “Island Poles”.  They will be re-installed in the same area of the outdoor gallery.  Another project currently underway is that of getting the plaques cleaned up and put back out.  The new plaques will not advertise the dollar amount or value of the art.  Instead, a line will be added indicating that the art is for sale and interested parties should visit our website.  Diane mentioned that this might be a good time for the Arts Council to look at getting some of the older art pieces out of the Sculpture Garden and look for something new.


Diane reported that the brackets have been chosen for the Banner Project, and staff will soon identify someone to install them.



Mostly Music in the Park

Helen Martin reported that she will have a timeline for next year’s MMIP next month, and that a call for artists went into fall/winter Recreation Guide. Jane thanked Helen and Beth for putting together an excellent line up this year.


Helen stated that she will need assistance with Mostly Music around April when the Committee starts listening to music.  She would also like some help in the summer announcing the concerts



Shakespeare & Literary

Pam Rock reported that October will be a busy month. Beginning in October and continuing into November Orson Welles will be featured in the fall and Winter CLASSICS ON FILM series.  Meet the Author will feature Garth Stein author of The Art of Racing in the Rain at Aljoya on Saturday, October 23 at 7:30 pm.  Dawn on the Island will be shown on October 30 at 7:30 pm at the Aljoya Theatre in support of Mercer Island’s 50th Anniversary.  




Ellen Hochberg reported that she received a request from Sandy Glass to bring Spanish students into the gallery to view the Jose Orantes and Blanca Santander exhibit.  It turned out that about 100 students and four teachers came in.  Both artists came as well.  It was outstanding.  That is what this community center is for!


The Jose Orantes and Blanca Santander show is coming down on Saturday. The Korean American Artists of Washington show is going up on Sunday. They will have their reception on Saturday, September 25th from 4-6:00pm and have rented the Mercer Room.


Katalin Pearman asked if it would be possible to contact DSG to find out if there is any art planned for Peak. Helen commented that it might be good for the ‘wall project’ and getting the students involved. Jane suggested keeping in mind that Jose Orantes does murals.  Helen said that he was done several murals for schools in the past.


Public Art

No report.



Community Relations

No Report.



Special Events

No Report



Special Report:  The Art Bus

Megan Hand reported on a proposal that she has been working on to purchase and retool a decommissioned school bus and turning it into a mobile art classroom for the elementary students on Mercer Island. The plan is to hire a full time certified art teacher to teach in the school bus creative classroom.  The total first year investment is estimated at $139,800 with ongoing yearly expenses of $92,500. To date, the concept has been accepted and approved by the School Superintendent, all three elementary school principals, and all three principals’ councils. She is in the process of working with the Mercer Island Schools Foundation to be the fiscal administrator.  In looking for money, Megan entered the Make Your Mark” contest and won with this idea. She doesn’t know the amount yet, but the contest prize money will come to her and she will turn around and donate it back to buy the bus. She is also working on procuring grants with the help of the district grant writer.  She is hoping to secure some matching funds which would mean there would be about $100,000 to start with.  Megan felt the biggest hurdle will be securing an Art Teacher.


Jane asked what the Arts Council can do.  Megan wondered if our group might be interested in taking this on as a co-sponsor. The school has committed to be the sponsor of the project. Diane Mortenson said that she could see the Arts Council being a co-sponsor with the school to help raise money too. 


Ellen Hochberg thought a visual of the bus would be helpful.  Megan commented that she is working with an architect right now. The bus is huge.  It is from the island and has been well taken care of. 


The transportation department will move it from one school to the next.  It will remain at each location for a while as it some time for all of the kids to get through it.


Chair Ditzler suggested the exterior be designed by the kids.  Megan felt it will need to be a really sophisticated bus – perhaps some of the high school kids could come up with some good graphics.  Jane felt that is definitely something the Arts Council could support. Diane Mortenson suggested Arts Council members review their 2011 work plan to see how this might fit in.


Megan wants to get the entire project paid for two years.  After two years, the art teacher would be tenured.  All three schools would share in this.  Dr. Gary Plano, Mercer Island Schools Superintendent, told Megan the schools will embrace this.


Councilman Grausz commented that the city has a special relationship with the school district.  There would have to be a conversation between the City Manager and the school district. He said either he or Diane should be able to brief City Manager Rich Conrad. Councilman Grausz reminded the Arts Council members that there is nothing that prevents them from making a recommendation.  If you want to make a proposal, you should. 


In closing, Megan said she feels she will have a better idea and visual of the bus at the next meeting.  She is currently working on branding, creating an information hub on Facebook where people can donate, and working with the grant writer at the school.


Diane Mortenson stated that Megan could chair of an ad hoc committee for this project.



Meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 13, 2010.

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