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Arts Council - Minutes     
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Call to Order:

In the absence of the chair and the vice chair, the meeting was opened by Ellen Hochberg at 6:34pm.

Sara Liberty-Laylin volunteered to chair the meeting.


Roll Call:

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


City Council:

Councilman Dan Grausz was absent



Amber Britton, Staff Liaison; Bruce Fletcher, Parks & Recreation Director; and Eileen Hemmis Trifts, Administrative Assistant




There were no appearances.



Approval of Minutes:

Sara Liberty-Laylin motioned to approve minutes of September 08, 2010.  The motion was seconded and passed.


Chair Report:

Amber Britton presented the Chair report in Jane Ditzler’s absence.

1.     WA State Arts Alliance is requesting advocates with regard to budget cuts through their website.

2.    Jane requested that the Arts Council go forward with support of the Art Bus.


Ellen Hochberg motioned:  That we, the Arts Council, support the art bus project without monetary contributions at this time.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.


At this time, Megan Hand reported on the status of the Arts Bus project.

·         Have secured a person to do some imaging for us pro bono. 

·         Have an architect who will do the rendering so it can go to bid. 

·         Meeting with teachers and principals (very supportive).

·         Met again with the School District Grant Writer, and have submitted a request to Microsoft for $25,000.

There is a very successful Art Bus in Fullerton, CA. Their Arts Council is very involved. Megan is planning to visit and see how they do it. 



Staff Report:

Bruce Fletcher, Parks & Recreation Director, presented an update on the status of the budget. This budget is the most challenging city budget on record for the City of Mercer Island. City Manager Rich Conrad was forced into several city-wide reductions due to the lower than expected city revenues. The Parks & Recreation Department was hit very hard with a reduction of $200,000.  2011 Service Reduction totals are: $79,000 for Parks Maintenance which involves changing level B parks to level C parks; $24,500 from Summer Celebration fireworks; $25,200 from Groveland Beach Lifeguards; and Sixty-nine thousand from Recreation and Special Events (Arts Council and Parks & Recreation programs).  Shakespeare and Mostly Music in the Park are two Arts Council program casualties.


Bruce reported that a reduction in Special Events and Arts Council programs will result in a reduction of 25% of Amber Britton’s hours and salary. Kevin Curry stated that he would like to see the number one priority of the Arts Council be to pay the proposed reduction to Amber’s salary. Sara Liberty-Laylin asked if the Arts Council could pay for Amber or give her an honorarium to come to the meetings. Bruce stated that he will check with HR and find out the protocol as well.


Bruce suggested we will have to be more entrepreneurial about funding so that the egg hunt, MMIP and some of the other programs do not go away.


The Parks & Recreation draft budget will presented to the City Council on November 15th at 7pm.  Bruce stated Arts Council member opinions would be very helpful, and invited everyone to attend. He is hoping the community will show support for the arts on Mercer Island. It was agreed by the Arts Council to send out an email advocacy alert to citizens about the City Council meeting.  Staff will check on proper protocol using alert messages to Mercer Island citizens.


Fred Poyner will draft an Arts Council budget priorities letter to the City Council and Mayor. The  Arts Council agreed to meet in two weeks to review and finalize the letter so that it can be presented as part of the advocacy at the November 15th City Council meeting. The City Clerk will have to be notified about the meeting, and it will have to be open to the public. Bruce commented that the City Council wants to save programs for the community first and then staff related reductions will be addressed.  If these programs are saved however Amber’s position could benefit.


Bruce Fletcher left the meeting at 7:25pm.


Amber Britton reported that the banner brackets will be delivered tomorrow, and the banners will be here next week. She is waiting until she has everything before coordinating the installation.  She will let everyone know when that is scheduled.


Amber reported that Prima Vera has been repainted.  It looks really good.  We will get some pictures on the website. 


Amber has submitted an application to 4Culture for a grant.  We did not anticipate any funding this year as we were under the impression that they would not be awarding grants.  However, 4Culture send an email asking why Mercer Island hadn’t applied this year.  The grant amount was $8,000 last year.  This grant money could be used for programs like MMIP. We could accept it as revenue, but any excess would have to go to the general fund.


Artech, the company we have always used for our public art maintenance, is offering a grant this year. Amber reported that she will submit an application.


Mostly Music in the Park

No Report


Shakespeare & Literary

Pam Rock reported that the Classics on Film Orson Welles series have been launched. There was a packed house for the first film. The Meet the Author event with Garth Stein is on Saturday, October 23, 7:30pm, a strong showing is expected. Pam would like Arts Council members to try to attend Dawn on the Island on October 30 at 7:30 pm at Aljoya.



Ellen Hochberg reported that the MIVAL show is scheduled to go up a week from Sunday.  It is a large show, and any installation assistance would be appreciated.


Public Art

Fred reported that he had been approached regarding exhibition in the Gallery.  Ellen said that there is an application available and she will forward a copy to Fred.



Community Relations

No Report



Special Events

Third Thursday

Sara Liberty-Laylin reported that she met with MIVAL and the Chamber of Commerce regarding 3rd Thursday.  Sara has been visiting every single business every Thursday. 


The downtown core businesses have the best attendance.  Businesses located further south, have less and less people – toward Covenant church and dentist office. 

One solution would be to divide the downtown area into quadrants, and focus on one of those areas each Thursday. It was also the general consensus of owners that 6 sessions is too many and they would be happy with four.  They would suggest cutting September and October. 

There is some talk about picking up the South Shopping center as well.  There was something a few years ago and most of them participated.  It was agreed that the Mercer Island Reporter is not adequate advertising as their total circulation is about 3,000.  The Chamber volunteered the use of their website to help get the word out. 


Megan felt the problem could be that the art needs to be much more prominent in order to get people out.  To her it seems like more of a Chamber event rather than a Gallery. She suggested something more like the August 3rd Thursday event. Some artists set up out on the streets, more street venders, music, etc.


The last one this year is October 18th. Sara said will pound the pavement in February then she’ll let Council members know what help she is going to need.



Meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 10, 2010.


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