PAC Minutes

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Public Arts Commission
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

October 22, 2018

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on October 22, 2018 at the North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, North Adams.

Members Present:
Julia Dixon, Chairperson
Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
William Blackmer, Secretary
Cynthia Quiñones
Bryan Sapienza
Sarah Sutro

Absent:
Derek Parker

Also Present:
Roger Eurbin

CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Dixon called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Discussion of last draft meeting minutes and revision. Approval postponed until next meeting for commissioners to review and amend as needed.

ORDINANCE REVISION UPDATE/REVIEW OF GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Dickson provided a quick review to date of the Public Arts Commission ordinance and proposed ordinance amendment by Mayor Bernard, that was first made known via email to Dixon on August 8th. He then presented those changes to the city council on August 14th. Under the current ordinance, the Public Arts Commission (PAC) has authority to approve projects and proposals presented to the commission, as well as contracting authority. Mayor Bernard’s revised ordinance gives approval and contracting authority to the mayor’s office, making the PAC an advisory commission. The city council sent the mayor’s proposal to the General Government Committee. Since our last meeting, that committee has met on Sept 10th, Oct 3rd, and Oct 15th, though timely notice for PAC attendance was lacking. Councilors Buddington and LaForest also made additional proposals for language changes to the PAC ordinance once it was sent to committee, and those versions are also being looked at during this process.

Sapienza advised the mayor has made the case that he is the contracting authority as mayor, not generally the committees and commissions. And where there is that authority outside the mayor’s office, there is a dollar limit.

Dixon advised that the city’s charter says the mayor must sign contracts “involving sums of two-thousand dollars or more.” What that language intends when it says “involving” brings up questions as to whether the two-thousand dollars relates to the worth of the work of art, or was that paid for the work of art? And the PAC does not have a budget to buy, commission, or maintain art. Which for the most part has left the PAC dealing with commissioning organizations, such as Mass College of Liberal Arts’ Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, the city’s school system, and the Hoosic River Revival Coalition.  

Quiñones advised that it has to be that way, since we do not have a budget.

Some discussion of the language in the two proposals of the city councilors, and the language suggesting that the arts application would go to the city clerk, as opposed to how we currently handle the application process and assist the applicant in the process.

Sutro advised it seems that the mayor wants to take the legal liability that could arise from a mural or some other project.

Dixon advised that a PAC commissioner signing a contract would be signing on behalf of the city and would still be covered by the city’s law firm. So, not personally liable.

Sutro advised that another big issue is the whole thing regarding the pillar art, and possibly the mayor wanting to avoid that kind of situation in the future by having one person at the top approving the contract.

Dixon advised that the difference between the current ordinance, and the possible changes to it, are that we currently could enter in a contract with artists regarding the pillars or other matters because we have contracting authority.

Quiñones felt strongly that the contracting authority should remain with the PAC, since we are a public body and representing the public’s wishes.

Sapienza advised that after attending the Oct. 15th meeting of the General Government Committee, it seems that they want to pull some of the power outlined in the ordinance revision back to the PAC, and leave the contracting authority signature to the mayor, but bring in the veto power from one of the councilor’s revisions, and add in a time limit on how long the PAC has before reviewing a proposal.

Dickson recommended all PAC members attend the city council meeting tomorrow, Oct. 23rd.

PUBLIC FORUM SUBCOMMITTEE UPDATE
Sapienza, Chair of the Public Forum Subcommittee regarding the pillar art on Marshall St, provided a handout outlining the format for how the forum should be conducted, and open forum ground rules.

Kerns advised that care should be taken regarding a history of the art there, as there are different versions of the history, and we need to present an impartial history. We would present a time line review.

Sutro asked what the goal is in having the forum. How would we resolve this?

Quiñones advised that the pillar art situation has been a really damaging event for our community and really unfortunate. A wound that will not heal. And a wound that has not gotten better with the passing of time. The forum would give people a chance to say what they want to say to the people that need to hear it.

Kerns does not disagree with that, but notes that people have had many opportunities to come and voice their opinions, and it hasn’t been for a lack of opportunity that they have not done so. So, was it a big damaging thing? It has also allowed some people to grind axes against Mass MoCA in an unproductive way. A review of some of the social media comments about the pillar art issue had comments that quickly devolved into off-topic arguments and claims.

Dixon stated that the pillar paintings were the only public art pieces that the city had that reflected the history and identity of this city, and that is why people are upset. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and the PAC should be in front of a forum if convened.

Sutro questioned who would mediate such a forum. Dixon advised that she met with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition Executive Director, as they convene monthly forums, and discussed ideas for the format and conducting of such a forum. Examples given.

The Public Forum Subcommittee is comprised of Sapienza, Dixon, and Quiñones. Dixon suggested tabling a meeting of the subcommittee until the next PAC meeting and see what is happening with the PAC ordinance revision at the city council tomorrow.

MONTHLY MEETING DATE DISCUSSION
Mondays in general have been working for commissioner’s schedules and achieving a quorum. Dixon made a motion to schedule meetings of the PAC for the third Monday of each month. Sapienza seconded. All in favor. None opposed.

The next meeting is Monday, November 19, 2018.

PUBLIC ATTENDEES CONCERNS
Roger Eurbin, who has been conducting restoration at Hillside Cemetery, provided a request to the PAC to help with design of a memorial for veterans from wars that were not included in the current memorial in North Adams. Mr. Eurbin advised he will pay one-hundred dollars to the design accepted by the cemetery commission. Dixon to scan the proposal and send to each commissioner. Some preliminary thoughts provided on groups to assist with raising additional funds and to facilitate the work. Further discussion will arrive at suggestions to Mr. Eurbin.

MEMBER CONCERNS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
None.

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

Respectfully submitted,

William Blackmer, Secretary

General Government Committee/PAC Minutes

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Joint General Government Committee/Public Arts Commission Meeting
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

August 27, 2018

The General Government Committee and North Adams Public Arts Commission held a joint public meeting on Monday, August 27, 2018 in the City Council Chambers at North Adams City Hall, 10 Main Street, North Adams.

General Government Committee Members Present:
Eric Buddington, Chair
Rebbecca Cohen
Paul Hopkins

General Government Committee Members Absent:
none

Public Arts Commission Members Present:
Julia Dixon, Chairperson
Derek Parker
Bryan Sapienza

Public Arts Commission Members Absent:
Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
William Blackmer, Secretary
Cynthia Quiñones

Also Present:
Mayor Thomas Bernard
Councilor Jason LaForest
Councilor Wayne Wilkinson
Vincent Melito
Barry Goldstein
Tammy Daniels
Adam Shanks

CALL TO ORDER
General Government Committee Chair Buddington called the meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. to no objections by the public. Buddington noted that the meeting was being recorded.

BACKGROUND
Buddington provided a brief explanation for the reason behind the joint meeting of City Council’s General Government Committee and the Public Arts Commission. At the August 14, 2018 City Council meeting, Mayor Bernard put forth a series of revisions to the Public Arts Commission’s ordinance. Councilors asked the General Government Committee to review the revisions, which will then make a recommendation to the full council at its second meeting in October, scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

WRITTEN PUBLIC COMMENTS
No written public comments were submitted to the city clerk in advance of the meeting.

VERBAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
Spurred by Councilor Wilkinson’s request to understand why the ordinance was changed, Mayor Bernard explained that the ordinance revisions were made because of the new contract that was developed between the city and artists or commissioning organizations for public art. He amended his revisions further, saying the language he added involving the term of installation could be removed, and he would change the word “approval” to “acceptance.” He relayed that, after speaking with city solicitor KP Law, the contract should be signed by city administration and the Public Arts Commission. Mayor Bernard underscored that his revisions reflect procedural clarification.

There was brief discussion about other city commissions and their similarities and differences to the Public Arts Commission.

After a question from Councilor Wilkinson about whether the ordinance gives the Public Arts Commission gift approval, members of the public then discussed Section 29 of the city charter which requires contracts involving $2,000 or more be approved by the mayor. Mayor Bernard argued that a public artwork will require maintenance which would likely cost over $2,000. Dixon questioned whether the charter’s language refers to the price, value, or ongoing cost of an artwork. She also countered that the Public Arts Commission was not given a budget, therefore can neither assess nor carry out maintenance of any public artwork. It was suggested that the value of an artwork be added to the contract. LaForest commented that he was unhappy with the negative rhetoric of the meeting.

DISCUSSION
Buddington summarized the comments, saying the ordinance revisions give the mayor veto power over the acceptance and ownership of a public artwork. LaForest argued that the veto power should rest with City Council, but believed the proposed changes are reasonable, to which Councilor Wilkinson agreed. Dixon reiterated the current process of allowing a quorum of 7 appointed commissioners to accept public artworks is the best practice. She then shared the statement in favor of the Public Arts Commission retaining contracting and approval authority which 5 commissioners voted to approve at its August 23 meeting. Sapienza added that the public is afraid of censorship.

Cohen asked for other concerns the Public Arts Commission had about the ordinance revisions. Dixon questioned what was meant by the word “approval.” Mayor Bernard said that refers to the acceptance of the contract which would not change with the contract signer. It was clarified that any liability rests with the city, not the board or commission which requires the contract.

Buddington suggested that, in the “Powers and Duties” section, language regarding the acquisition, installation, and removal be clarified and consistent. Hopkins wondered whether the Public Arts Commission would accept the term “execute” over “approve.”

Dixon reminded the attendees that former mayor Alcombright’s intentions were to control the “canvas,” not the public art process. There are two ways the mayor is currently involved in the process: to approve any city-owned property for public art use and to appoint commissioners. Mayor Bernard said the ordinance should reflect the fact that the mayor approves the use of city property for public art.

There was a brief discussion about shared responsibility. Cohen asked Mayor Bernard if he would like to be involved with public art. He responded that the Public Arts Commission serves this function and reiterated his interest in distinguishing democratic process from procedure. Dixon asked for an acknowledgment that the implications of the mayor’s revisions reach beyond procedure. Vincent Melito questioned why the City Council did not have these discussions when the original ordinance was passed in 2015. Buddington will summarize the City Council’s discussions about the original Public Arts Commission’s ordinance for a future General Government Committee meeting.

In summary, LaForest commented that the Public Arts Commission is not an elected body, therefore the City Council should have mediating and/or override power over the commission. He expressed concern that the ordinance writes the City Council out of function.

SET NEXT MEETING TIME AND DATE
No other joint meeting between the General Government Committee and the Public Arts Commission is scheduled to take place regarding this topic.

ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to discuss, Hopkins moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:02 p.m. Cohen seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

Julia Dixon
Chair, North Adams Public Arts Commission

PAC Minutes

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Public Arts Commission
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

August 23, 2018

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on August 23, 2018 at the North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, North Adams.

Members Present:
Julia Dixon, Chairperson
Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
William Blackmer, Secretary
Cynthia Quiñones
Bryan Sapienza

Absent:
Derek Parker

Also Present:
Tammy Daniels
Eric Buddington
Vincent Melito
Margo Melito
Joseph Smith
Rebbecca Cohen
Christina King
Richard Tavelli
Bert Lamb
Suzy Helme
and other members of the public

CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Dixon called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Quiñones moved to accept the Public Arts Commission minutes from its July 11, 2018 public meeting. Dixon seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

NEW BUSINESS: ORDINANCE REVISIONS DISCUSSION
Discussion of Public Arts Commission ordinance revisions that were proposed by Mayor Thomas Bernard and submitted to the City Council at its August 14th meeting. Changes were made across the entire ordinance and are both grammatical and structural. Two major revisions change the approval authority from the commission to the mayor, and the contracting authority from the commission to the mayor. These revisions would change the commission’s structure to an advisory body to the mayor. There are other city boards and commissions that have contract-making authority, limited by the city charter. Additionally, the city charter requires contracts “involving” $2,000 or more to be signed by the mayor.

Commissioners discussed the implications of these changes and questioned the mayor’s intentions for the ordinance changes, which was not made entirely clear. Public attendees including Vincent Melito and Joseph Smith expressed a desire to keep the ordinance as is, with seven people as the authority on art as opposed to one.

Dixon informed public attendees that if they have any further comments regarding this matter, they can email or drop them off to the city clerk prior to noon on Monday, August 27, the date of the joint General Government Committee and Public Arts Commission public meeting.

NEW BUSINESS: CREATION OF COMMISSION STATEMENT ON ORDINANCE REVISIONS FOR GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
Dixon advised members to craft and vote on a statement to be read at the upcoming General Government Committee meeting on Monday, August 27 which reflects the position of the majority of the members of the Public Arts Commission. Quiñones made a motion to retain the contracting and approval authority of the Public Arts Commission. Dixon seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed. Kerns requested that commissioners who attend the General Government Committee meeting also seek clarification about what “approval” means as well as contracts involving $2,000 or more.

NEW BUSINESS: HARMONIC BRIDGE DISCUSSION INCLUDING BRIEF RECAP, MAYOR’S COMMUNICATION, AND COMMUNITY PETITION/SURVEY
Dixon provided a brief background on the works installed on the pillars under the Marshall Street overpass. Following the synopsis, Christina King clarified that, during a meeting of the artists at MASS MoCA in December 2017, restoration was in fact discussed and the Harmonic Bridge artist was completely against it. Additionally, Mayor Bernard had suggested the two groups of artists work together on a new project for an unrelated property. There has been no further communication between the two groups of artists since that December meeting.

Dixon explained this item was added to the agenda regarding recent clarification of the ordinance that the commission does have contracting authority, which means the commission could make a decision on creating a contract for something that is currently on the pillars. Kerns questioned the commission’s purview over any artwork created prior to the existence of the commission.

Public comments included Vincent Melito informing the commission that he circulated a petition with about 180 signatures that he gathered at the Downtown Celebration requesting the mayor or Public Arts Commission approve a restoration test on the pillars. Dixon requested the specific number of signatures as well as the petition language, the latter which was provided to the commissioners. After a review of this document, Kerns believed the petition was biased and misleading. Richard Tavelli inquired about the bridge’s ownership. Joseph Smith suggested the commission draft a short-term contract for mural restoration that artists King and Bill Oberst are reportedly amicable to. Dixon suggested that potential solutions be put on a future agenda for further discussion. Sapienza urged the commission to help resolve the issue as there has been no resolution and this controversy continues to upset many members of the community.

Dixon made a motion for the Public Arts Commission to facilitate and host some type of public forum about this issue in order to educate as well as solicit opinions and feedback from the public. Quiñones seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Dixon proposed the creation of a commission subcommittee to plan this event and suggested this subcommittee update the full commission about its progress at a future meeting.

NEW BUSINESS: AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS’ CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS PROGRAM
Dixon provided an overview of the Americans for the Arts’ (AFTA) Creative Conversations program occurring in October for National Arts and Humanities Month. AFTA promotes independent events throughout the country that are related to the Creative Conversations topic which, this year, is: “What is your power to create change in/through the arts?” The ordinance changes have brought to the surface the question of power surrounding public art in North Adams.

Dixon suggested the Public Arts Commission host a public conversation about this topic. Commissioners inquired about the benefits of working with AFTA, and agreed that conversations about art and community are important and can be successful given the right facilitator and timing. It was agreed that Dixon reach out to the program representative and ask for more information. If the commission does not participate in the Creative Conversations program, it was agreed that the commission think about establishing its own conversation/event series.

PROPOSAL: HOOSIC RIVER REVIVAL’S FLAG PROJECT
Bert Lamb from the Hoosic River Revival (HRR) board described the Hoosic River Revival flag project. The proposal involves three 6-foot by 4-foot canvas flags to be displayed individually or in various configurations at various locations along the Hoosic River. Locations being considered include the chain link fence along the flood control chutes at Canal Street across from NAPA Auto Parts, Union Street across from Aubuchon Hardware, the southeast corner of River and Marshall Streets, and suspended from the Marshall Street overpass. Planning to move the flags to various sites every three weeks for more exposure.

Questions and concerns from commission members pertained to installation/security, whether flags are longer than the fences they will be attached to, and more specifics on the timeline and locations where they will be displayed. Kerns suggested HHR hang them at MASS MoCA during the FreshGrass Music Festival. Commissioners were supportive of the proposal and encouraged Bert Lamp reapply as more specifics are confirmed. Sapienza expressed concern over the flag’s content which, as it indicates infrastructure problems, may present a negative connotation of North Adams. Kerns agreed on the point and commissioners discussed “artful advocacy” related to the Hoosic River Revival’s mission.

OLD BUSINESS: FINAL ARTIST CONTRACT REVIEW
Postponed to future agenda.

OLD BUSINESS: MONTHLY MEETING DATE DISCUSSION
Postponed to future agenda.

PUBLIC ATTENDEES CONCERNS
None

MEMBER CONCERNS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
Blackmer inquired into the three pending contracts for the most recent proposals that were approved by the commission. Dixon reported that they are have yet to be signed by the mayor. Two contracts with MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center are at a standstill as the mayor did not accept their liability insurance waiver. The contract with the North Adams Public Schools has not yet been signed as the mayor had a question about insurance.

Kerns and Sapienza commented on the need to structure the pillar art forum in such a way as to not devolve into something unproductive. Suzy Helme suggested the Public Arts Commission contact Amber Besaw of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and ask her about best practices.

SET NEXT MEETING TIME AND DATE
Next meeting date to be determined.

ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to discuss, Blackmer moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:39 p.m. Sapienza seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

William Blackmer, Secretary

PAC Minutes

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Public Arts Commission
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

July 11, 2018

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on July 11, 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
Gail Kolis Sellers

Absent:
Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson

Also Present:
Michelle Daly
Tammy Daniels

CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Dixon called the meeting to order at 5:33 p.m.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Sellers moved to accept the Public Arts Commission minutes from its June 28, 2018 public meeting. Blackmer seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

OLD BUSINESS:  FINAL CONTRACT REVIEW DISCUSSION
Moving ahead to Old Business on the agenda, while waiting for presenter(s) for the MCLA BCRC proposal. Dixon presented two contracts from KP Law based on the changes the commission requested; one that applies to an “Individual Artist,” and one that applies to an “Organization Commissioning Artwork.” Language changes reviewed. Under Section II. Term, the language now reflects the requested change of wording to “commence” and “removed” on the Organization contract. Sellers noted the language did not change on the Individual Artist contract. So, removal date will still need to be added to the Individual Artist contract. Section III. Compensation language was revised in the Organization contract, but still refers to the artist donating the Artwork to the City in the Individual Artist contact. Sellers noted that we wouldn’t want the artist thinking that they need to donate the art. Blackmer noted that the donate language was also originally in the Organization contract, but has been removed. Dixon advised that the language should be the same in both. Will be forwarding that recommended change be made to the Artist contract. Discussion regarding Section V. Licenses and Permits. Sellers noted that the contract states, “Artist is responsible for obtaining all licenses and permits, as may be required, in connection with the performance under this Agreement.” Sellers questioned who an artist would approach and how they know what permits they are responsible for. Discussion regarding past proposals, and that some direction and recommendations have been made by the commission to assist with clarifying what steps were needed, but it is still up to the artist contractually to meet required city approvals. Sellers noted that in the past, she found that departments in city hall were not aware of what she might need for an art project. Some input engendered from Michele Daly regarding past stenciling projects and steps taken for approval. Dixon noted that discussion is somewhat off topic. That an artist wanting to place artwork on public property would have to approach the city for permission to do so. So that provides an opportunity to find out what the process is. Then they have to come before the Public Arts Commission for approval of their design, which is another opportunity to understand the processes they need to go through. Dixon advises that each proposal is going to be different, so you cannot really formalize what is explicitly needed ahead of time. Each project’s path with vary to some extent.

Regarding Section XX. Maintenance and Repair. One of Quiñones’ previous concerns was that there was not clear language to minimize misunderstanding of the parties regarding the maintenance of the work and that the artist should submit maintenance guidelines. The language for the submission of a maintenance plan for the artwork has been added. Dixon noted that there is now at the end of the contract an “EXHIBIT A (Maintenance Plan)” page. Sellers had further questions regarding some wording. For instance, what is meant by “… installation of the Artwork will be performed in a professional manner.” (IX. Warranty of Quality and Condition of the Artwork) What does “in a professional manner” mean? Dixon suggested we postpone discussion of the contracts until the next meeting if we need more time to review the documents and the changes made, since we just received it today. Quiñones agreed with that. Sellers said that her biggest question is under section XI. Insurance. Dixon explained that the law firm put that section in there with a note inquiring if the city required it. And this is the contract we got back. So, the city is requiring a general liability insurance certificate. Regarding past projects through MCLA, Michelle Daly said that MCLA is self-insured and carries a legally binding waiver for the projects they have proposed in the past. In questioning how those agreements functioned, Sellers mentioned what was involved in past projects that she was part of. Dixon does not believe the insurance should deter artists wanting to install a piece of public art in the city. It is likely that they will need insurance for other public art projects they may be involved with. Dixon further discussed the updates to Section XIII. Copyright, re removal of language that limited the ability to show artwork that had been shown somewhere else. For the most part, the language changes from the last Public Arts Commission meeting have been incorporated in these revised contract drafts. Blackmer noted that on the Individual Artist contract, section XVIII. Title, it references, “Title to the Artwork shall pass to the City upon Final Acceptance by the City.” It has the artist waiving all rights to the artwork. The Organization contract does not have this section. Just clarifying if we are back to language that has all public artwork being owned by the city. Sellers questioned that the city would want to be owning the artwork. The Organization contract appears ready for use. The Individual artist contract will need to be clarified regarding the donation language and removal language aspects, possibly at our next meeting.

Blackmer moved to approve the Organizational contract. Dixon seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

PROPOSAL:  MCLA BCRC’S North Adams Truth and Painted Sidewalk Project
Michelle Daly, Director of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, presented Tesselation, an interactive, participatory mural project for DownStreet Art which will be painted by DSA participants under the supervision of mural/lead artist Anthony Merino. A call for artists was put out, and DownStreet Art approved the proposal from Merino. It is sort of a continuation of the mural project, with the artwork being proposed on the sidewalk. Four possible locations for the project were identified and included in the public art proposal application. Merino designed an interlocking pattern of birds. Each cell in the pattern would be painted by a different community member, with the design and colors used providing a unifying structure. The group’s preferred location would be the sidewalk at the Main Street and Marshall intersection. Blackmer and Dixon asked questions regarding the project, and Daly clarified that they are only looking to paint one of the four potential locations at this time. Sellers asked about the type of paint being used. Daly explained it is water-based, with a protectant layer being applied upon the finished work. Daly said that she has found examples of these types of projects using these materials in other communities that have lasted three to five years, and possibly longer, depending on the foot traffic upon the site. Dixon asked about potential touch up as time goes on, and if touch up could be done over the clear protectant coating. Daly thought that touch up will be difficult given the clear coat applied. Sellers talked about the possibility of using an acrylic road paint. It is more permanent, but colors are limited. Further general conversation regarding how the participants in the mural will be advised and involved. Dixon raised the question of security near the road. Daly explained there will be some stanchions at the area where it will be happening, and some volunteers to keep people out of the roadway, but the project is completely on the sidewalk, and there is a brick buffer zone between the road and the proposed art work on the sidewalk that provides further separation from traffic. Sellers also offered to lend Art About Town’s traffic cones and vests available for use as well. Daly said that the bulk of the work would take place on Thursday, July 26, with Merino then finishing any parts that need to be done over the course of a week or so. Dixon asked about prep work. Daly said that they would clean the surface and Merino would apply the pattern on July 25 or 26. Further discussion by Dixon, Sellers, and Daly regarding language for removal as the artwork wears out. “As deemed necessary by the city” is the expected guiding language.

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

OLD BUSINESS: NEW MEMBER UPDATE
Sellers reported that she talked with Mayor Bernard after the July 10 city council meeting, and there was a delay in meeting with candidates. In conversation with the mayor today, Dixon reported that he met with Derek Parker and will be advancing his nomination to the city council on July 24. Dixon provided some information regarding his background and experience in public art. The at-large vacancy will still need to be filled.

MONTHLY MEETING DATE DISCUSSION
Commissioners discussed the possibility of a standing meeting date and time, as requested by Quiñones at the last meeting. Dixon mentioned that our dates would then be known in advance to the public including any artist who has a proposal to prepare for the commission, as well as being a known date on our schedules. General approval for the idea. Discussion of availability. Mondays at 5:30p.m. will be looked at by Dixon for any conflicts with holidays, etc. twelve months forward, and will report back to the commission with her findings.

PUBLIC ATTENDEES CONCERNS
None

MEMBER CONCERNS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
None 

SET NEXT MEETING TIME AND DATE
Next meeting date to be determined.

ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to discuss, Blackmer moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:46 p.m. Quiñones seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

William Blackmer, Secretary

PAC Minutes

DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

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

Absent:
Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
Gail Kolis Sellers

Also Present:
Benjamin Lamb
Emily Schiavoni
Tammy Daniels

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

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

PROPOSAL: DRURY HIGH SCHOOL FIREBOX PAINTINGS
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. 

OLD BUSINESS: DRAFT AGREEMENT DISCUSSION
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.

OLD BUSINESS: NEW MEMBER UPDATE
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.   

NAMAZING LIGHT ART UPDATE DISCUSSION
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.  

CULTURAL DISTRICT UPDATE
There has not been a meeting. No current updates.

PUBLIC ATTENDEES CONCERNS
None

MEMBER CONCERNS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
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.  

NEXT MEETING
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.

ADJOURNMENT
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

PAC Minutes

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Public Arts Commission
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

April 30, 2018

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on April 30, 2018 at the Eclipse Mill Gallery at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, 243 Union Street #102, North Adams.

Members Present:
Julia Dixon, Chairperson
Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
William C. Blackmer, Jr.
Cynthia Quiñones
Gail Kolis Sellers

Absent:
none

Also Present:
Michelle Daly

CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Dixon called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Kerns moved to accept the Public Arts Commission minutes from its March 14, 2018 public meeting. Quiñones seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

ELECTION OF SECRETARY
Dixon moved to nominate Blackmer as Secretary. Quiñones seconded. Blackmer accepted. All voted in favor. None opposed.

PROPOSAL: MCLA BCRC’S SHEARER SOUNDS CABINET
Michelle Daly, Director of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, provided information and answered questions about the submitted proposal to site a sound installation by artist Brian Trelegan under the Mohawk Theater marquee on Main Street as part of DownStreet Art 2018. That Certain Age is a sound installation using a Shearer Horn-inspired cabinet that plays still images converted to sound from the movie That Certain Age, the movie that played at the Mohawk Theater on opening night in 1938. The Shearer speakers of the time used Sprague components in their construction.

Quiñones asked about the sound level and commissioners agreed that the piece should operate during the day. Kerns asked about signage for the artwork and suggested adding the North Adams Public Arts Commission logo to descriptive/title signage, identifying the process by which public artwork are approved for display. Kerns further asked if the artwork will be included on the MoCA walking art map. Daly advised it will be. Also discussed was whether the artwork will be insured regarding theft/damage, which it will be under MCLA’s general liability policy. Kerns suggested that cinder blocks be added to the box to further prevent theft. That Certain Age will be displayed from the end of June through the last week of September or first week of October. Commissioners Dixon and Quiñones will draw up a draft contract between the city and MCLA.

Dixon moved to accept the proposal with suggestions. Sellers seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

OLD BUSINESS: MASS MoCA CONTRACT UPDATE
Dixon reported that she communicated with Larry Smallwood of MASS MoCA re: the contract involving the Harmonic Bridge sound installation at the Route 2 overpass. No contract was provided, but MASS MoCA’s description of the artwork and an Artnet article about the piece were submitted on the record to the PAC as “documentation” of Harmonic Bridge.

CULTURAL DISTRICT UPDATE
Dixon reported that the cultural district core group has not met since the last Public Arts Commission meeting. No update at this time.

PUBLIC ATTENDEES CONCERNS
None presented.

MEMBER CONCERNS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
Dixon advised future items to include new Public Arts Commission members and draft contract language.  

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Public Arts Commission will be set via online poll as needed.

ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to discuss, Dixon moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:00 p.m. Blackmer seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

William Blackmer, Secretary

PAC Minutes

DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

Public Arts Commission
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

March 14, 2018

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on March 14, 2018 at the Eclipse Mill Gallery at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, 243 Union Street #102, North Adams.

Members Present:
Julia Dixon, Chairperson
Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
William C. Blackmer, Jr.
Gail Kolis Sellers

Absent:
Erica Manville, Secretary
Cynthia Quiñones

Also Present:
Ashley Strazzinski
Phil Sellers

CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Dixon called the meeting to order at 5:38 p.m.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Kerns moved to accept the Public Arts Commission minutes from its February 26, 2018 public meeting. Blackmer seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

PROPOSAL: ANNAMARIA SEBASTINO: CREATING MAGIC TREES IN THE BERKSHIRES
It was noted that this was the third public meeting called to review the proposal with the applicant where the applicant was not present. Kerns suggested the proposal not be accepted due to safety and artistic concerns. Blackmer, after having visited the proposed installation site (the trees along the Main Street median), was concerned about the wires hanging from the tree trunks. All commissioners were also questioning the effectiveness of the purpose of the piece as winter is nearly over. The commissioners will suggest to the applicant that she review other installation sites as well as resubmit a proposal with less emphasis on the concept and more detail including a timeline, installation specifics, and mockups. Further review of this proposal was indefinitely postponed.

CULTURAL DISTRICT UPDATE
Dixon reported that the cultural district core group held their last meeting on February 28, but she was unable to attend due to an illness. According to the meeting agenda and subsequent communications, the subcommittees have begun working on the creation of digital and print promotional materials for the district.

PUBLIC ATTENDEES CONCERNS
Phil Sellers reported that, in October, he had asked commissioner Manville to check into getting the MASS MoCA-commissioned sound installation Harmonic Bridge on record. Dixon and Kerns asked Phil Sellers to clarify what he meant by “on record.” He explained that he would like there to be some proof in City Hall that it exists. After some discussion, Dixon offered to request a copy of the contract for the piece from MASS MoCA and, if received, will include it as an attachment to a future Public Arts Commission meeting agenda.

MEMBER CONCERNS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
Non presented.

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Public Arts Commission will be set via online poll as needed.

ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to discuss, Kerns moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:03 p.m. Blackmer seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

Julia Dixon, Chairperson

PAC Minutes

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Public Arts Commission
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

February 26, 2018

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on February 26, 2018 at the Eclipse Mill Gallery at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, 243 Union Street #102, North Adams.

Members Present:
Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
Erica Manville, Secretary
William C. Blackmer, Jr.
Cynthia Quiñones

Absent:
Julia Dixon, Chairperson
Gail Kolis Sellers

Also Present:
Benjamin Lamb
Tammy Daniels

CALL TO ORDER
Vice Chairperson Kerns called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Kerns moved to change the January 10, 2018 minutes to reflect a change: Kerns just wanted to use a different email than the city provider, not that he didn’t want to have email.

PROPOSAL: EAGLE STREET INITIATIVE
Benjamin Lamb gave a presentation about the Namazing Eagle Street Initiative (NESI) which was founded five years ago out of an attempt to organize a city-wide lip dub. Because of Eagle Street and its energy they raise the street up to be better, they meet twice a month. Patronicity is a third party provider that enabled NESI to raise money via crowdfunding.

Lamb showed the slide show overview. Social spaces, recycling, trash, parklet, pedestrian facing business signs, gateway signs, want to make a brick street between where Desperados is into a place that is inviting as a corridor, and the current pocket park from 2010, plantings were permanent and the rest was a bit temporary so they want to make it a programmable location. The bricky and the pocket park are city owned property. Lamb also outlined the parking and where the dumpsters are. Timeline is that they must use money for funding by November 4, 2018.

Kerns and Blackmer mentioned Vincent Melito’s concerns about the older murals on the building. Lamb understands those concerns and the plan is to conserve the murals.

Lamb mentioned plantable pavers to help the firetruck access but green the space later behind the building. Every business would get a bracket and a sign, or a Historic Eagle Street logo, same font and colors for the new pedestrian facing storefront North Adams signs, brackets will also have an eagle, use local purveyors for the signage, as well as gateway signs, 13 feet tall, eye hooks for banners to engage in events, stainless steel and metal cutouts, solar power uplighting, there are two lampposts coming down this year and will be re-used for this project. Kerns asked about wind tunnel effect hurting the sign, and if the banner was engineered to make sure it would work? Lamb said no, but he wasn’t concerned, it would just be a floppy banner. Lamb had planned to do more on the other side of the street, near the end of the flatiron building. There is an old concrete post, and Anna Farrington will try to mimic the MASS MoCA parking lot square post to read “Historic Eagle Street.” Lamb explained that NESI and an art club at Drury High School can take the fireboxes the city doesn’t use any more to take them down from Meranti and the students will be designing the works to be installed. NESI will sponsor the paint to help with those art installation. NESI will also install better trash and recycling cans to make the street cleaner as well as a bench in the brick way and one near the church. The benches will not impede traffic.

The parklet will be installed in front of the pocket park, create a large enough space to make it programmable, pop up art exhibits, open mic nights, already working with Roots Teen Center and Common Folk to put some programs in this summer, one Sunday brunch even per month over the summer as well , B&B Micro Manufacturing might help design it. It is 38 feet long, 8 feet deep, it becomes part of the sidewalk and comes out in the winter, solar powered cafe lights, made out of siding. Kerns made a suggestion to put up concrete barriers. Lamb said the city recommended not to do that. It would be just like a car parked there in that spot.

MCLA students have a new app that shows the historic buildings which will align with our unveiling of the initiative.

Lamb explained that there is a $60,000 budget. Will take the trees out to remove shade and nuisance of berries, change the plantings, and add bee hotels and bird houses. The base is currently wood chips and we can use cobblestones from the heritage state park renovations. 

Lamb then described a zoetrope sculpture project already approved by NESI to be added to the pocket park, shows motion called North Adams in motion which is able to be engaged with by people, there are images themed for North Adams in the zoetrope.

 A mural called The Heart of Eagle, an image of the multi colored eagle with a North Adams background, 12 foot wide by 6 foot tall bird, this would be cut out and color by number out and sourced by the day of service to be crowd painted. Will be facing public property but actually on private property, Kerns mentions there are a lot of literal eagles in this imagery, is this what we are going for? We could save money by maybe not putting them on the brackets to save money. Lamb responds by saying yes, we may decide not to use the birds on everything, we still need to get the quotes on the fabrication. Lamb mentioned the light art project named Solis : a pair of artists out of NYC, recent grads and they are submitting a project that was approved by his Eagle street initiative.

Vice Chairperson Kerns called for a vote to approve the plans with the condition that the images inside the zoetrope are shared with and approved by the Commission. Manville made a motion to approve the plan with conditions. Quiñones seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

PROPOSAL: ANNAMARIA SEBASTINO: CREATING MAGIC TREES IN THE BERKSHIRES
Quiñones inquired about the duration of the installed work and Kerns inquired about the timeline of the installation. The images provided in the proposal do not illustrate the work installed on the property requested. Commissioners were also concerned about already existing flowers and trees as well as garden clubs that volunteer their time to maintain the Main Street median.

With no one present to answer questions about the proposal, the Commissioners agreed to call a special meeting with the proposal submitter and to postpone further discussion and voting.

NEW BUSINESS: CROSSWALK UPDATE
The following notes provided by Dixon were read by Kerns:

Julia had another follow up meeting with Griffin Labbance, Mike Canales, and city planner Larysa Bernstein on February 5 at city hall to talk about Griffin's desire to paint the crosswalks on Montana Street instead of the street itself. Mike explained that federal laws and regulations have always determined that crosswalks are not to be decorative, but the Alcombright administration allowed Art About Town to paint the crosswalks nonetheless - ultimately, from what Julia understands, it's up to the administration of any given town to make the final decision about the alteration of what are called "uniform traffic control devices" and the administration is equally liable for any damages that may be caused by confusion or misinterpretation of altered traffic control devises including crosswalks. Mike also said he made a recommendation to Mayor Bernard that the crosswalks not be painted anymore, to which the mayor agreed.

The group continued to discuss the vagueness of the uniform traffic control device manual, in particular something called "intersection murals" that do not fall under these regulations. Mike said he personally would not advise the mayor to allow such paintings on any street, although a work of this kind would be possible to produce given approval by the mayor and public safety.

Property that is not subject to the uniform traffic control devise code include sidewalks, parking meters, utility boxes, trash cans, benches, bike racks, dumpsters, and other objects near a road.

CULTURAL DISTRICT UPDATE
The following notes provided by Dixon were read by Kerns:

The cultural district core group held their last meeting on January 31. The group split into two subcommittees that will be tackling the creation of print materials (including rack cards, a brochure, and a map) and digital materials (including a cultural district web page, map, and event submission form). Julia volunteered to be a part of the print subcommittee, which to her knowledge has not met yet. If you would like to help let Julia know.

MAYOR BERNARD MEETING UPDATE
Manville gave a brief synopsis of meeting with Mayor Bernard to give updates about the make-up of the commission since members Manville will be departing and member Nancy Ziter had already left. Since Manville’s commission term was up in a month anyway, it was less of a time crunch, but Bernard is aware and interested in any recommendations to be sent his way from the commission to help fill those seats. He is aware of the language of our ordinance and that we have requested a modest budget.

PUBLIC ATTENDEES CONCERNS
None presented.

MEMBER CONCERNS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
From Chairperson Dixon: During her meeting with Mike Canales, he let Julia know that two mural projects were being discussed at the armory and the ice rink - both buildings are city property. She will try and stay abreast of any concrete plans that administrators of either building are making.

Also, upon her inquiry, Mike let Julia know that the city is looking to repair the retaining wall along the Route 2 west ramp to Main Street in a few years. It might make an excellent location for public art at that time (but not now).

Future agenda items will include Annamaria Sebastino’s proposal review.

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Public Arts Commission will be determined by email, with a preference for March 12, 2018.

ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to discuss, Manville moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:49p.m. Blackmer seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

Erica Manville, Secretary

PAC Minutes

DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

Public Arts Commission
North Adams, Massachusetts

Meeting Minutes

January 10, 2018

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on January 10, 2018 at the Eclipse Mill Gallery at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, 243 Union Street #102, North Adams.

Members Present:
Julia Dixon, Chairperson
Erica Manville, Vice Chairperson
William C. Blackmer, Jr.
Eric Kerns

Absent:
Cynthia Quiñones, Secretary
Gail Kolis Sellers

Also Present:
none

CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Dixon called the meeting to order at 5:50p.m.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Dixon informed the commissioners that Nancy Ziter resigned from the Public Arts Commission effective December 31, 2017. Dixon has requested a meeting with Mayor Bernard to discuss the vacant seat, budget, and goals. Manville and Kerns requested they attend the meeting as well. Manville motioned to approve the following slate of officers: Julia Dixon as Chairperson, Eric Kerns and Vice Chairperson, Eric Manville as Secretary. Kerns seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Kerns moved to accept the Public Arts Commission minutes from its October 23, 2017 public meeting. Manville seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

PROPOSAL: ANNAMARIA SEBASTINO: CREATING MAGIC TREES IN THE BERKSHIRES
As Ms. Sebastino was not present at the meeting, the commission agreed to table this item for a future meeting.

OLD BUSINESS: PAC EMAIL PROCESS DISCUSSION
Dixon explained that the process agreed to by the commission at the previous meeting did not determine the person responsible for the checking of emails (as she, as the Chair, is not able to check the account regularly) or public comment expectations. Kerns asked why we need an email account at all, to which Dixon replied that she does not want her private account used by the public for commission comments. He suggested switching to a Gmail account, which he agreed to monitor if emails are forwarded to him. Dixon agreed to check with Kathy Wall as to whether the city will find this acceptable. Commissioners agreed that all officers will check the email account, and Dixon noted that any commissioner had and has the right and ability to access the email system at any time. Commissioners also agreed to the following language in an email auto-reply message:

Thank you for your email! We are a volunteer commission with no dedicated secretary, but we will get back to you as soon as we are able. Thank you for your patience.

Dixon then noted that the Public Arts Commission has not set any rules governing the treatment of emails to its city account. As it stands, the expectation is that members of the public may make public statements in person at commission meetings. Emails containing reasonable content that include a request to be read at a meeting are attempted to be accommodated, and emails that do not include a request to be read at a meeting are not. After a brief discussion, commissioners agreed that no emails are to be read at commission meetings unless they pertain to a proposal under review. Commissioners agreed that the following language be added to the website FAQ section as well as the email auto-reply message:

If you wish to make a public comment to the Public Arts Commission, please attend one of our meetings. You may send the commission a written communication and request that it is read at a meeting only if you are an applicant and the comment is related to your proposal. Applications can be found here.

Commissioners then discussed the nature of the questions sent to the city email account by Mr. Smith. Commissioners agreed that individual members cannot engage in arguments, carry on debates, or express opinions about unresolved issues while representing the commission through the publicarts@northadams-ma.gov email address. An individual commissioner can assist members of the public in his or her capacity as a citizen, but cannot speak on behalf of the commission. Therefore, any questions of this type will not be answered electronically, but can be answered or addressed in person at a commission meeting where a quorum is present.

OLD BUSINESS: REVIEW OF JOSEPH SMITH MEMO
As per the process established regarding emails, members did not discuss the questions Mr. Smith posed to the commission via email. All members urged him to attend a meeting and raise any concerns he has in person.

Dixon provided an update on Mr. Oberst’s proposal to conduct a restoration test on an overpass pillar. Mr. Oberst informed Dixon earlier in the day that he and Christina King met with Joe Thompson and Bruce Odland, one of the two Harmonic Bridge artists, mid to late December 2017. He described the talk as “congenial” and “general” – Mr. Oberst and Ms. King discussed the history of their mural project but did not mention their desire to restore the murals and they did not discuss the restoration proposal. When Dixon asked why they did not mention the proposal, Mr. Oberst said his intentions were “already out there” and expressed dissatisfaction at the commission for not voting in favor of the proposal. Dixon reminded Mr. Oberst that the majority of commission members urged Mr. Oberst to reapply as a joint proposal between both parties after coming to an agreement themselves. Mr. Oberst said that it’s not necessary for the commission to mediate, and mentioned that Mr. Thompson said he will “be making the next move.”

OLD BUSINESS: EAGLE STREET INITIATIVE
Kerns reported that he spoke with Ben Lamb about several Eagle Street Initiative projects involving decorative signage and a parklet and asked him to present the group’s plans to the commission for approval before being finalized and installed.

NORTH ADAMS CULTURAL DISTRICT UPDATE
Dixon reported that the Cultural District Core Group met on January 3, 2018 to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges in the district. The group set short- and long-term goals and applied for a $5,000 matched grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to create and distribute a brochure and rack cards as well as install maps of the district at MASS MoCA. Dixon will send commissioners a list of Core Group members and continue providing monthly progress updates.

PUBLIC ATTENDEES CONCERNS
None presented.

MEMBER CONCERNS/FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
Manville expressed concern over the public’s view about what the Public Arts Commission is. She suggested that this be addressed in the meeting with Mayor Bernard, leading to a conversation about a budget which will give the commission authority and a purpose beyond vetting applications and making suggestions. Kerns suggested we choose two pieces of city property that we advocate contain a public artwork in 2018. Dixon, on behalf of Quiñones, suggested the retaining wall on Route 2 just after the overpass. Manville suggested in front of City Hall. Kerns suggested the future splash park. Kerns also recommended we stipulate that each artwork involve the collaboration of a local business (providing supplies or equipment), reminding commissioners that the artist doesn’t need to be the component of the project that is local. He said this could be an excellent way to bridge a connection between industries.

Future agenda items will include Annamaria Sebastino’s proposal review and a Cultural District plan update.

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Public Arts Commission will be determined by an online poll established by the chair.

ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to discuss, Manville moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:47p.m. Blackmer seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

Julia Dixon, Chairperson