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Arts Council - Minutes     
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 pm by Vice Chair, Jane Ditzler, at the Mercer Island Community and Events Center, 8236 SE 24th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
Roll Call
Members Present: Jane Ditzler, Sandy Glass, Ellen Hochberg, Shelly Krispin, Mireya Lewin, Christine Lewis and Helen Martin.  Absent: Kevin Curry and Sara Liberty-Laylin.
City Council:
Council Member Jane Meyer Brahm.
Amber Britton, Staff Liaison and Eileen Hemmis Trifts, Administrative Assistant.
An Tootill, 4049 West Mercer Way, Mercer Island, WA  98040
An attended the meeting as an observer. She stated that she has been contacted regarding her interest in serving on the Arts Council, and she is interested in seeing how the Arts Council works.  Arts Council members introduced themselves individually to An.
Approval of Minutes:
Shelly Krispin made a motion to approve the regular meeting minutes of October 12, 2011 as submitted. The motion was seconded and carried.
Shelly Krispin made a motion to approve the Retreat Minutes of October 23, 2011 with the following amendments:  There was an error in totaling the 2012 budget requirements on page 3 of the minutes.  The amount currently reads $86,557.  It should read $88,532.  Additionally, this changes the amount of the difference between available funds on the second line following the total from $3,263 to $1,290.   The motion was seconded and passed.
Chair Report:
No Report
Staff Report:
Amber Britton, Staff Liaison
City Council changes:  Amber reported Mayor Jim Pearman has left the city for a job with FEMA.  Bruce Bassett is our new city mayor and Dan Grausz the deputy mayor.  This leaves a vacancy on the city council which should be filled soon.
Both the Reclining Woman sculpture and the Space Pieces were approved by the city council at their December meeting.
Consideration was given to placing the Space Pieces with the schools.  However, in conversations with the schools, they declined.  There is a great deal of construction planned in the near future in the schools and they didn’t want to see these pieces damaged.  The pieces will now be installed at the community center as originally proposed.  Artech has been asked for a proposal for the layout and placement.  Once the proposal is finished, the pieces will actually be purchased and installed.  At the moment there is no time frame for this to happen.
With regard to placement of the Reclining Woman sculpture, it was determined that the city doesn’t have the rights to that piece of land.  If we want to extend the sculpture garden to include that space, we will have to obtain permission from WSDOT.  This has proven to be a long process in the past.  If it is approved, then we will have a conversation with Aljoya.
The Public Art Committee would like to put it somewhere else until this is resolved.  They will come back to the next meeting with some suggestions for alternate locations.
2012 Budget
Amber reported that there was an error in the 2012 budget numbers provided to the Arts Council by staff at their retreat.  Unfortunately, we missed the bottom line number that was already fixed for salary and benefits and the net effect is a gap of $17,000 to do the programs proposed at the planning retreat.
Amber outlined  the four choices available.

  1. Go through the process of cutting an additional $17,000 of expenses.
  2. Request additional funding from the City Council from the 1% fund to fill the gap
  3. A combination of cutting some of the expenses and requesting some funds from City Council for the 1%.
  4. Fundraise to raise enough revenue.

Amber reported that the second issue regarding the budget is that we had gotten the message that the budget cuts were temporary and that we would be going back to where we were before the cuts.  But the prediction is that is not the case.  It has been explained that the fixed expenses like medical and benefits for staff is increasing at a faster rate than the tax revenue.
Amber explained that the money from 1% comes from projects on the island, and there are rules about where funds come from as far as where they can be spent. There was a very small amount available for performing arts, so you might have enough to cover this year, but it wouldn’t be a long term solution.
We are on the City Council agenda for February 21st.  The work plan and annual report will be on the agenda on April 2nd.
Discussion as to what can be cut from the budget to help make up the shortfall are bulleted below:

  • Summer Celebration:  Shelly suggested cutting $2500 and try fundraising to try to replace it before then. Ellen said she would like to keep the artwork and if we have to cut the mural, we could.
  • Shakespeare:  We may not have a signed contract, so this is a possibility. Shelly mentioned that she noticed there has not been any sponsorship for Shakespeare, and asked if that might be an option for funding. It was pointed out how many performances were given for the amount we pay for Shakespeare, how many extra performances we get compared to other cities and how it is a lump sum amount, not broken up per performance so much harder to make cuts from this program.
  • Sandy suggested not cutting anything completely but to cut some from each program. She is concerned if a program is cut we may not get them back.  Christine agreed and stated that she is willing to go to Mercer Island businesses and ask for their monetary support.
  • Gallery:  Ellen felt we could cut 3 or 4 postcards this year.  We are not sure as to how effective the postcards are in getting people into the gallery. It was agreed to transition to electronic postcards. Our next mailed card could contain a blurb about this and ask people to supply us with their email address if they would like to continue to receive invitations. We can also collect email addresses in the gallery. 
  • Outdoor Gallery:  New artwork installations could be cut in half.  It was noted that the Reclining Woman sculpture and the Space Pieces installations will be covered by the 1% for the Arts Fund.
  • Mostly Music in the Park:  It was felt that four shows could be cut. Jane suggested MMIP could go down from two performances a week to one.  Amber mentioned that one of our key sponsors only comes on Thursdays.  It was agreed that it would be better to shorten the window and keep both Sunday and Thursday performances for a shorter time period.

It was agreed that the following cuts can be made to the budgeted amounts determined at the October Arts Council retreat.
$    500 Annual Arts Council  Planning Retreat
$2,000 from the Gallery (all but 4 rounds of postcards)
$    400 from the Outdoor Gallery
$2,000 from Summer Celebration (eliminating the mural but keeping arts and crafts tent)
$4,400 from Mostly Music in the Park for sound (now 5 concerts)
$3,600 from Mostly Music in the Park for Bands (now 5 concerts)
$12,900 Total
New gap total: $4,100 (plan to ask City council for funding from 1% for this amount)
Jane Brahm felt that the City Council would not say absolutely “no” to a small amount.  She felt it will be very important to show them that you are willing to make cuts first.  She suggested going out for sponsors now.  Amber stated that the sponsorship packets for Mostly Music in the park arescheduled to be mailed in February but would not have to be altered to reflect the lower number of concerts. Jane felt sponsors need to get something in return. It was mentioned that we should include some Shakespeare concerts in with the Mostly Music concerts.
Christine Lewis made a motion to approve this as a proposed budget cut, go to the city council for an additional $5,000, and plan to fund raise for additional money.
The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Amber said she will go to the city council with numbers from several years to show them how much we have cut.
Sandy Glass suggested taking donations at the films and other events. Amber said this was a possibility, and that we already do it at Mostly Music in the Park.  It was agreed to start it off at the gallery opening tomorrow.  Amber will provide the Plexiglas box that we use at the concerts and create a sign for it.
Annual Report and Work Plan
Amber reported that the Annual Report and Work Plan won’t go City Council until April.  She reminded everyone how important it is to get an accurate count of their volunteer hours and a write up of each program from the committee chairs. Amber stated that she will email electronic copies of both documents from last year to use as a template. Christine suggested everyone get these items back to Amber by March 1st.  She will need several weeks to compile the documents and they have to go to council two weeks prior to the April meeting.
MMIP Poster Artwork
Amber reported that MIVAL will bring their three final designs for consideration for the poster to the meeting in March.
WRPA Training Opportunity
In light of budget changes, it was agreed that this is probably not something the council wants to consider for this year.
Spring/Summer Recreation Guide submissions are due January 17th.  The Spring/Summer Recreation Guide covers from mid-March through mid-August. 
4Culture. Amber confirmed that Christine Lewis is interested in reviewing 4Culture Site Specific Proposals.  Amber will give the proposal information to Christine.
Summer Celebration:  Amber announced that the theme this year is an Olympic theme.  There are a lot of possibilities with this theme.  She stated that she is working on having some local Olympians on hand.  There might possibly be a run this year to go with the theme.  The Olympics are in London this year, so that could also be used.
3-year plan
The 3-year plan was tabled until the budget is approved and we figure out what our long term plans will be.
New Members
There are currently 3 vacancies to fill. Sara Libery-Laylin had to step down as she is moving off Island.  Pam Rock and Megan Hand also had to step down.  The new mayor will appoint their replacements.  We should find out soon who they will be.  Jane Brahm stated that it would most likely be February before they are appointed as Mayor Bassett would like to wait until the new City Council member is on board before new appointments are made. That would mean Amber could provide their orientations and they could join the Council by the March meeting.
Christine Lewis volunteered to be nominated for the Chair position.  There were no additional nominations from the floor.  Jane Ditzler volunteered to support Christine as the Vice Chair, but she is also willing to step down if there is someone else interested in being Vice Chair.  There were no additional nominations from the floor.
A ballot vote was taken and Christine Lewis was voted in as the new Arts Council Chair.  The vote for Vice Chair was for Jane Ditzler to remain in that position.
Program positions are as follows:
Mostly Music in the Park: 
Helen Martin, Chair (until May when her term ends)
Christine Lewis and Shelly Krispin, Associates
Ellen Hochberg, Chair
Sandy Glass and Christine Lewis, Associates
No Chair
Jane Ditzler and Christine Lewis, Associates
Public Art
Jane Ditzler, Chair
Mireya Lewin, Associate
Community Relations
No Chair
Christine Lewis, Associate
Special Events
Shelly Krispin, Chair
It was agreed that new members will be encouraged to step into vacant positions that are of interest to them.
Mostly Music in the Park
Helen Martin, Chair
Amber advised Helen that she has 40 some bands that are interested. She will get those promo packets to Helen for the review committee.
Amber Britton
Amber reported that Lance Rhoades has agreed to continue with the documentary film series that has been so popular. He was excited about the possibility of doing two outdoor films in 2012 if it works out with Aljoya.
Ellen Hochberg, Chair
Columbia City Gallery show just started.  It is a co-op. The reception is Thursday from 6-8pm.
Public Art:
Jane Ditzler, Chair
Jane Ditzler reported that the City Council seemed very excited about the Space Art and the possibility of using it for educational purposes. Jane met with Councilman Grady and Councilwoman Jane Brahm. The result of the meeting is that they would like to have an interactive mobile kiosk that would travel between schools on the island.  Jane reported that Councilman Grady is already talking to Boeing about designing the Kiosk and possibly giving some money.  Jane stated that is her hope that the Arts Council will give her the okay to proceed.  Christine Lewis wanted to be sure the Space Art and Kiosk should be kept as separate projects.  Sandy Glass suggested involving the school foundation. 
The Arts Council agreed to see what the discovery process conclusions are before they get involved.
They agreed that Jane should continue with the discovery process.
Community Relations
Kevin Curry, Chair
No Report
Special Events
No Report.
Meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm.
The next regular meeting is scheduled to be held at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center on February 8, 2012.


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