PAC Minutes


Public Arts Commission
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

June 28, 2018

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on June 28, 2018 at the Eclipse Mill Gallery at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, 243 Union Street #102, North Adams.

Members Present:
Julia Dixon, Chairperson
William C. Blackmer, Jr.
Cynthia Quiñones

Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
Gail Kolis Sellers

Also Present:
Benjamin Lamb
Emily Schiavoni
Tammy Daniels

Chairperson Dixon called the meeting to order at 5:42 p.m.

Quiñones moved to accept the Public Arts Commission minutes from its April 30, 2018 public meeting. Dixon seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Emily Schiavoni, Community Outreach Coordinator, North Adams Public Schools, described the project involving ten old firebox alarms donated by the City of North Adams. Having been asked by the NAMAazing Eagle Street Initiative to take part in the painting of the boxes for display, Drury High School students have prepped, created designs, and then painted artwork on them. Locations for the public display were proposed along the Center Street corridor, starting around the Holden Street intersection, and then onto Eagle Street. Fireboxes to be attached at about eye level to light poles with two metal straps wrapped around the boxes and screwed into the boxes. Dixon questioned whether the attachment to the light poles, and the method of attachment, were approved by the city. Schiavoni answered yes to city approval of the attachment to the light poles, and that they advised the attachment had to be secure. Some discussion of the two metal bands and whether they will accomplish the secure attachment of the fifteen-pound fireboxes, and who will be attaching them. Volunteers will attach the fireboxes. Dixon further asked if there will be signage describing the project to the public, who made them, the project duration, etc. Schiavoni advised that can be done. It would serve to describe the artwork to passers-by and encourage travel along that route. Some comments by commissioners regarding the positive involvement by local students taking part in the art project and the display encouraging pedestrian traffic to the downtown and Eagle Street. Dixon advised the next agenda item will be the proposed contract for works of art. This was recently received by the commission, and any attachment of the artwork to the poles should await the approval of a contract. Schiavoni answered that the time table to attach the artwork to the poles was anticipated to be by the end of July. Some further discussion on the timetable, and to test the attachment method of the fireboxes to make sure they are adequately secured by the manner described.  

Blackmer made a motion to approve the proposal as presented. Seconded by Quiñones. All voted in favor. None opposed. 

The commission recently received the draft of an art contract from the City of North Adams and KP Law. Dixon initiated the discussion regarding the wording in several parts of the contract, starting with the contract reference to an “artist,” as opposed to a commissioning organization, and that the current language would have the artist entered into a contract with the city. Dixon explained that, as the commission has no budget to compensate artists for their work, most public art proposals the commission has reviewed and/or approved have come from a commissioning organization, e.g. MASS MoCA, MCLA, and the NAMAzing Eagle Street Initiative. Or, in the firebox project discussed previously, it was the public schools and not each student artist. Those entities came before the Public Art Commission for the approval process and the siting of the works on public property, and already had contracts with the artists involved. So, shifting contract language from an individual to the organization involved was proposed. Additionally, Dixon suggested we receive two templated contracts: one for artists and one for commissioning bodies.

Further areas to clarify were the wording regarding when the artwork display period would begin and end, as opposed to the current wording which specifies the contract term as “performance of services commencing” and “being completed.” Quiñones believed the maintenance aspect of the contract should be further clarified in Section XX and any public art proposal should include a maintenance plan. Commissioners also discussed where the responsibility lies regarding restoration/remediation of the property that the artwork impacts. The commissioners finished discussing the remaining sections of the contract and Dixon offered to submit questions and suggested edits to City Administrative Officer Michael Canales, for review and/or implementation by KP Law. Dixon also updated the commissioners on the process for customizing, signing, and submitting each public art contract as explained to her by Mr. Canales.

No current update, other than there are two vacancies on the Public Arts Commission. Mayor Bernard indicated to Dixon that he will be putting forth names to fill the vacancies at the first city council meeting in July, which is the 10th. Dixon encouraged all commissioners available that evening to attend the meeting.   

Benjamin Lamb was present regarding the light art proposed for Eagle Street. Dixon advised she was not at a previous meeting where the light art proposal was discussed, and questioned why we would be reviewing the light art proposal that is being attached to private property. There had been some concern at that meeting regarding intrusion of the installation into the adjacent public space. Commissioners pointed out that there is already a mechanism for the city to deal with potential problems and safety issues originating from private buildings, and it’s not the purview of this commission to review art installations on private property. All commissioners agreed that no action by the commission is needed on the light art component of Mr. Lamb’s proposal.  

There has not been a meeting. No current updates.


Quiñones suggested we revisit having a set meeting date and time each month, as opposed to calling for meetings and trying to find acceptable dates as proposals come up. All agreed and Dixon will include this item on the next meeting agenda.  

Dixon notified the commissioners that more proposals are expected from MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center related to DownStreet Art and suggested that the next meeting should be scheduled sooner rather than later. Based on the last Doodle poll, we would have a quorum for a meeting on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Next meeting set for that date at 5:30 p.m. at the Eclipse Mill Gallery.

With no other business to discuss, Dixon moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:55 p.m. Quiñones seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

William Blackmer, Secretary