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Arts Council - Minutes     
Sunday, October 23, 2011

The meeting opened at 9:00 am at 2760 76th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
Roll Call
Members Present: Kevin Curry, Sandy Glass, Ellen Hochberg, Megan Hand, Shelley Krispin, Sara Liberty Laylin, Mireya Lewin, Christine Lewis and Helen Martin.  Absent: Jane Ditzler.
City Council:
Council Member Jane Meyer Brahm was absent.
Amber Britton, Staff Liaison; Diane Mortenson, Recreation Superintendent; and Eileen Hemmis Trifts, Administrative Assistant were present.
Welcome Facilitator:  Kris Kelsay, part-time Development Officer for City of Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Department.  Kris owns her own business, “Launch” and is the author of Walk Mercer Island.
Amber Britton opened with a slide show overview of the history of the Mercer Island Arts Council that stretched from 1985 to 2011.  It covered 26th years of accomplishments!  A review of the arts council mission statement was included in the presentation.
Overview of 1% for the Arts Fund
Amber Britton presented a brief overview of the 1% for the Arts fund. Established in the 80’s, says all 1% of the cost of all qualifying construction work done on the island goes to public art (not performing art).  One of the designations from this fund is for maintenance of our public art and purchase of new pieces.  That money has been accruing. We are currently at about $185,000. We don’t know yet what the increase will be in January (for 2011).  We gave the Youth Theatre Northwest $35,000 – it was an exception to the normal parameters of public art. The City Council can override these parameters.  Last year when our budget was short, it also gave $30,000 to the Arts Council budget. We have the option of asking for this again next year.
Ellen mentioned that Jane Myer Brahm thought the city council might be looking at the 1% fund for expenditures other than public art.  Ellen felt we need to strongly consider using a chunk of that money for public art next year and suggested the Arts Council look at this during their planning today.
Outline 2012 Activities to Support Goals:
Kris suggested looking at programs the Arts Council is currently doing, to determine whether or not they are in agreement with their mission statement.
Programs the Arts Council is currently doing:
  • Install two pieces of art annually in the Sculpture Park
  • Mostly Music in the Park
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • Outdoor Gallery maintenance and acquisition of new pieces.
  • Indoor Gallery
  • Film Series
  • Meet the Author
  • Summer Celebration!  Children’s Arts and Crafts
New Ideas for Consideration:
  • Art Walk for 2012
  • Farmers Market Presence
  • Something with Seattle Seven writers (A nonprofit collective of Pacific Northwest authors whose mission is to foster and support a passion for the written word.)
  • Art show or art fair in the Outdoor Gallery which would actively involve kids. Something similar to Lake Oswego’s Festival of the Arts.  Each year a different type of art is featured in their Special Exhibit which is meant to engage and educate the public. 
  • Community Theatre Program (troupe).  This could be a joint effort between the Arts Council, the high school, middle School, and other community groups using locations like the Luther Burbank amphitheatre.  Kirkland’s Storybook Theatre is one example.
  • Luther Burbank Park Amphitheatre upgrades.  Amber reported that Seattle Shakespeare might be interested in doing some of the construction if they could be considered a permanent partner to Mercer Island Parks & Recreation, as they would then be eligible for grants that might help.   It was noted that the Arts Council would have to limit their contribution to being artistic in order to use funds from 1% for the Arts.  Other potential revenue sources mentioned were the Community Fund and grants.  Kris Kelsay, who is a member of the Community Fund, mentioned that the Community Fund is looking more at supporting programs that kick start new programs for multiple groups.  It was noted that the Director of Youth Theatre Northwest, Manny Cawaling, has said he would like to see a new art building created that includes performing arts and other art.  Helen said there is a building going in near Aljoya and she believes that they are interested in including a theatre.
  • High School Art Supply Scholarship.  It was mentioned that MIVAL currently has a similar scholarship program.
  • Thought Provoking Art Installation –Megan Hand gave several examples: A “yarn bomb” which is like a coat for a tree.  Susan Tidwell started the ones in Sammamish.  There are companies that will do things like this. There was one in England where everyone was able to add to a long knitted tube.  Sometimes something is done in a storefront or a venue where you don’t expect something to show up.  Amber mentioned the 4-culture grants and that they have this kind of art available.  Information is online and would be a great resource. 
  • Maybe we could do something more artistic than the usual sculptures featured for sale in the Outdoor Gallery. For example artistic benches or other sculpture where the basic idea is the same, but each one would be a unique interpretation by individual artists.
  • Business specific program (other than 3rd Thursday)
  • Fine Art Showcase
  • Community Talent Show
  • Resource Directory: Online listing of visual and performing artists on the island.
  • Partnership to get student art framed for the high school gallery show.
  • Get the Community involved
  • Dance
  • Volunteers: How to we reach them.
  • Event Communication Enhancements
Kris suggested looking at what the Arts Council is currently doing and what whether or not they are covering each committee: Public Art, Literary, Performing Arts, Out-reach.  It was agreed that the MIAC is doing a good job of balancing and covering everything, though one hole might be dance.
Sandy Glass suggested it was more a question of not only are we covering every category but how do we get the community involved.
2012 Budget
The Arts Council looked at the programs for 2012 and determined the funds required to do them.
$500         2012 Retreat
$800         Outdoor Gallery:  Allocation for new 2 installations, dedications, etc.
$7,000       Indoor Gallery:  Seven shows; one juried with judge and awards.
$2,500       Summer Celebration - two murals and art supplies. Ellen volunteered to take the lead on crafts in                   2012.
$6,000       Shakespeare - twelve shows
$23,000     Mostly Music in the Park - nine bands
$2,300       Literary
                 Film: $150 x 10 films - $1,500 (No film licensing fee this year).
                 Shakespeare’s Birthday - $0
                 Meet the Author - $800
$325         Member Miscellaneous - name tags for new members
$44,107     Staff Support
$2,000       Advertising (Christine suggested rename to advertising and communication)
This has included Graphic Design for posters and advertising in the past, but we don’t really do much advertising.  Maybe could do more advertising to support arts council recognition.  Christine felt good PR for things like the space art pieces would be free.  As a member of the Community she didn’t feel that folks in the community know what the arts council is doing and what they sponsor.  Ellen felt the logo is so light and delicate that it gets lost. Christine recommends having the discussion of a rebrand as a part of the communications.  Then figure out whether not we want to change our logo or how we can make it more visible.  Ellen felt there are ways we can update the logo without really changing it entirely. 
$0             3rd Thursday Art Walks
Sara Liberty Laylin felt the community just didn’t come out for this.  There was great advertising, and a drawing for wonderful gift baskets.  Shelly suggested taking 3rd Thursday and maybe develop it into an art fair in the sculpture garden and invite the local businesses. Megan Hand felt one of the problems is that our town is not pedestrian friendly and it is spread out. Ellen Hochberg was concerned that Sara was fighting people’s perception of 3rd Thursday, thinking it was the same as in previous years. It was agreed to remove 3rd Thursday from the budget, and consider replacing it with something that brings the community and business out and together. 
$86,557     AMENDED:  $88,532 Total
The current amount budgeted is $83,326.  There is a carryover from 2011 of $6496.12 which brings the grand total available in 2012 to $89,822.12.  That leaves a difference of $3,263 AMENDED $1,290.12 available for additional projects/programs. 
Amber Britton felt it would be ambitious to do both a new Outdoor Gallery brochure and catalog Public Art to produce a Brochure in 2012.  Christine suggested proceeding with the Outdoor Gallery brochure.  She suggested scoping the project for public art to see if funds from 1% can be used.  Mireya suggested an inventory be completed first.
Diane Mortenson stated that would like to see some of the old pieces removed along with some empty pedestals and get new art installed before doing a re-launch of the Sculpture Garden.  A re-launch wouldn’t have to include the art fair, but might include having the artists come out.
Kris Kelsay suggested including doing something with the sculpture garden this year and allocating for that in the budget, then forming a subcommittee to define a long term plan.
2012 Potential Additional Programs to add were determined to be:
  1. General scavenger hunt.  Ideas include either a Public Art or Docent Scavenger Hunt.
  2. Sculpture Garden – clean up and find new sculpture for installation.
  3. Art Fair at the Sculpture Garden, possibly during Sea Fair on the day the blue angels perform.
1% for the Arts discussion:
The funds in 1% for the Arts total $282,000 plus whatever is added at the end of 2011.
1% Project Ideas: 
  • Public Art cataloging and possible online map of Public Art on the Island.  Amber Britton stated that Parks & Recreation staff is in the midst of having all of the pieces on the Island catalogued. It was agreed that the Arts Council should own this. Mireya Lewin will take the lead on this. She will scope it out and see what the costs might be to catalog all of the public art pieces. It should include an inventory of pieces, contact information for artists, where the pieces are physically located, etc. Find out if there is money in 1% for the Arts that can be used to pay someone to catalog public art and get a brochure published.  4Culture might be a good resource.  Once it is determined how much it will cost, then the Arts Council can decide if they can do it.
  • Interactive Art project.
  • Upgrade Amphitheatre at Luther Burbank, and as a sub of that, a talent show and in the future looking at community theatre start-up.
  • Artistic bike path, bike racks or art on trails
  • Artistic garbage/recycling bins.
  • A place to congregate featuring temporary thought provoking art.   
Develop a plan for 1% for the Arts expenditures
Don’t go below $100,000
Flexibility for the Future – take a strategy of buying art that has a resale value.
Current planned expenditures for 1% funds in 2012:
$10,000 – 2012 Art Maintenance
$7,000 – Space Art acquisition
$7,000 – Installation of Space Art and Reclining Woman sculpture
It was determined that the next step will be for the Arts Council to decide what they want to pursue.
The meeting adjourned at 1:17 pm.

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