Ann Arbor Public Art Commission (July 13, 2010): A significant increase in cost and several design issues resulted in rejection by AAPAC of one art installation proposed by German artist Herbert Dreiseitl, and the postponement of another. The votes followed an animated discussion on the proposals.
Commissioners voted to postpone a proposal for artwork in the lobby of the city’s new municipal center – the artwork has a budget of $141,218. They plan to ask Dreiseitl to cap the project at $75,000. With dissent from chair Margaret Parker, they rejected a work proposed for the center’s atrium, with a budget of $73,806, citing concerns over the cost, design and durability of the material.
In other business, the group got an update on their involvement in the proposed Fuller Road Station, with commissioner Cathy Gendron reporting that the project architects have already selected the location, materials and theme for public art on the parking structure and transit facility. “I had no idea that things were so far along at this project,” she said.
And a vote to allocate funds for repair of the Sun Dragon Sculpture at Fuller Pool prompted a broader discussion on how to handle maintenance costs for public art.
Some organizational changes are in the works, too. Commissioner Jim Curtis announced plans to step down at the end of 2010, to devote more time as a board member for the startup Ann Arbor Main Street Business Improvement Zone (BIZ). AAPAC will be recruiting a replacement for him. And Katherine Talcott, who has served as the part-time public art administrator, has signed a new one-year contract with the city – in the role of an art project manager. She’ll be handling the Dreiseitl project, Fuller Road Station and other projects that are assigned to her by Sue McCormick, the city’s public services administrator. The job of public art administrator is being restructured, and has not yet been filled.
Concerns Raised about Additional Dreiseitl Artwork
Margaret Parker, AAPAC’s chair, began the overall discussion by briefly reviewing the new proposal submitted for two interior pieces in the city’s new police/courts building, also known as the municipal center, at the northeast corner of Fifth and Huron. She noted that the two wall pieces, designed by German artist Herbert Dreiseitl, were thematically linked to the large water sculpture that the city had commissioned from him. The sculpture is to be installed in front of the center.
Dreiseitl had submitted designs for all three pieces last summer, and was paid $77,000 for that work. Only the water sculpture was approved by AAPAC and the city council, at a cost of $737,820.
At AAPAC’s October 2009 meeting, commissioners postponed action on one interior piece and approved the other, with certain conditions. They had concerns about both the designs and the cost. Although they had originally set a cap of $750,000 on the entire project, Dreiseitl in October proposed a budget of $841,541 for the three pieces, including the design fees.
Since that October meeting, they’ve been waiting for Dreiseitl to respond to questions about the interior pieces and to provide a new budget for those installations. At their June meeting, commissioners received a revised design for one of the wall pieces – an image evocative of the Huron River watershed, to be etched on blue glass panels. But that drawing had been put together by Ken Clein of Quinn Evans and the staff of the Conservation Design Forum – not Dreiseitl. Nor had Dreiseitl provided a revised budget for the interior pieces.
So commissioners set a deadline for the end of June to receive a final budget and design. That deadline was met, and on Tuesday the commission considered the proposal, which had come in at a much higher cost than originally proposed: $141, 218 for the etched, blue glass installation in the police/courts lobby, and $73,806 for the stenciled painting in the atrium.
The discussion on Tuesday was wide-ranging and covered both interior projects. For the purposes of this summary, The Chronicle separates those discussions.
Dreiseitl: Police/Courts Lobby
The piece in the police/courts lobby includes eight large, blue glass panels to be etched with an image evocative of the Huron River watershed. The panels would be mounted on the wall facing Huron Street. In the southwest corner of the lobby, a cluster of blue glass balls would be suspended from the ceiling, and lit from within. The balls – which Dreiseitl refers to as “pearls” – are also used in his exterior water sculpture.
The original budget for the lobby installation was $53,843 – the revised budget is nearly three times as much:
Glass pearls $10,000 Glass etching $16,000 Lighting/controls $50,000 Blue glass panels $32,000 Ceiling $5,000 Professional fees: Dreiseitl $3,965 Quinn Evans $7,175 Electrical engineering & lighting design $3,700 Travel, lodging $2,078 Total: $141,218
Cathy Gendron began by saying that one thing she hadn’t factored in was the security of the lobby. On a recent tour, it became clear to her that the only people who’d be entering the lobby of the police/courts building would be employees and people who had a court date – it wasn’t a place that the general public would go. There was tight security, she said, and given the expense of the proposal, she wasn’t sure it was worth putting something in a place with such limited access. The word “lobby” had previously conjured up a different image for her.
Jim Curtis noted that it would be more visible at night from the exterior – it would be lit, and the large windows of the lobby face Huron Street. Connie Brown said the salient point is whether it’s worth spending so much money there, given the level of access.
Parker countered that it’s a huge wall, and something needs to go there. The task force that was formed to make recommendations for public art in the complex had spent months talking about where it should go, she said. [Task force member Ray Detter attended Tuesday's meeting, but did not address the commission.] Given the large bank of windows facing Huron, “it’s hard to put your finger on a more visual space,” Parker said.
There was discussion – and some confusion – on two other points: The glass panels, and the proposed lighting.
It was unclear whether the relatively high cost of the blue glass panels – in the budget for $32,000 – was linked to the fact that they would need to be installed, then removed for etching, and reinstalled. The panels have already been ordered, and if Dreiseitl’s proposal was rejected, they could be left in place without the etching. But would there be a cost to the Percent for Art program for that? Jeff Meyers also questioned why the panels needed to be installed before the etching was done – was it simply to have something up by the time the building opened?
Also questioned was the $50,000 cost for lighting/controls. A cluster of blue glass “pearls” would hang near the windows, and each pearl would contain a light. Those lights are programmable, though it wasn’t clear exactly what that would mean.
Elaine Sims said she didn’t like the glass pearls. Located away from the glass panels, they weren’t cohesive. For her, the price wasn’t an issue: “I wouldn’t like them even if they were $19.95 – they just don’t work.”
Cheryl Zuellig pointed out that AAPAC had requested Dreiseitl to revise his design for the lighting – his original design called for lights to be directed down onto the balls, not lit from within. He did what they’d asked him to do, she noted. So their decision needs to be cost-based, not design-based, she said.
Meyers asked whether they could eliminate the balls from the design. Parker said they could, though she noted their thematic link to the exterior water sculpture. And most people will see the work from the street, she said. From that perspective, the balls would appear more connected to the panels behind them.
Gendron asked about the $50,000 line item for lighting – did that include lights in the ceiling above the panels? It shouldn’t, Meyers said, since those lights are already installed and would need to be there regardless of the artwork.
When it came time to vote, two motions were proposed – then withdrawn – before the commission voted on a third motion.
Zuellig made the first motion, to approve the lobby installation but without the glass pearl display and contingent on the cost not exceeding $75,000.
Discussion on this proposal first came from Parker, who noted it was possible that Dreiseitl wouldn’t want anything to do with their suggestion, given how much it would alter his original design. She couldn’t support that.
Zuellig questioned whether Dreiseitl actually had a deep commitment to these pieces, noting that the most recent drawing of the installation provided to AAPAC had been done by staff at Quinn Evans. Several other commissioners agreed. Gendron said Dreiseitl might be disappointed, but he couldn’t be surprised.
Parker again stated that they should go with what Dreiseitl had proposed – she didn’t think they should second-guess the artist or the architects. Sims said she couldn’t support it as-is, because of the increased cost. She said the artist or architect should have attended their meeting, to answer questions.
Frustrated, Parker said “this is not a shopping trip, guys.” Rather than voting on the motion that Zuellig had proposed, Parker suggested that they “gently” approach Dreiseitl with their concerns and get his feedback. “Because this is embarrassing,” she said of the motion. “I would never vote for what you’re suggesting.” It’s just nickel-and-diming the project, she said – going through line by line, without the architect or the artist or the art administrator there to help explain the costs.
Responding to the point about “nickel-and-diming,” Brown pointed out that the motion would cut the cost by half. Curtis then proposed removing everything from the motion, aside from the contingency to cut costs. That way, Dreiseitl could determine what changes to make.
Zuellig countered by saying they’d just spent an hour talking about what they didn’t like about the project, in addition to the cost – they needed to provide Dreiseitl with direction.
Parker urged them to postpone the motion. Zuellig ultimately agreed to withdraw it, but said that after having waited for so many months to hear back from Dreiseitl, she had serious concerns about it. Curtis said it made sense to wait, given that they weren’t clear about the details of the budget.
Sims then moved to not approve the project for the lobby – but Zuellig pointed out that if there are no conditions, then they’d just be rejecting it outright, and they’re done. Sims withdrew her motion.
Curtis then made a motion to postpone action on the lobby installation until AAPAC’s Aug. 10 meeting, with the goal of clarifying lighting and electrical cost information and capping the project’s total cost at $75,000.
Outcome: The motion to postpone action on the lobby installation until AAPAC’s Aug. 10 meeting, with the goal of clarifying lighting and electrical cost information and capping the project’s total cost at $75,000, passed with dissent from Zuellig and Sims. Marsha Chamberlin was absent, and Jeff Meyers had left the meeting by the time the vote was taken.
Much of the discussion of the project proposed for the atrium centered on the material – drywall – as well as the cost, which had risen from an original proposal of $47,491 to a total cost of $73,806. The budget breakdown for this piece is:
Painting $2,625 Paint stencil images $15,000 Lighting/controls $25,000 Glass pearls $3,500 Modification to municipal center $7,500 Contingency $5,363 Professional fees: Dreiseitl $3,965 Quinn Evans $7,175 Electrical engineering & lighting design $1,600 Travel, lodging $2,078 Total: $73,806
Cheryl Zuellig clarified that in response to concerns they’d raised about the use of drywall as a surface for the artwork, the material had been altered to a kind of abuse-resistant drywall. Jim Curtis said he still had strong concerns – he’d have those concerns if they were only paying for a $5,000 piece, let alone one that cost nearly $74,000.
Elaine Sims objected to the placement of the piece, at six feet above the floor – that was too high, she said. The placement was designed to minimize concerns about accidental damage, but Curtis said he didn’t think that would matter. Drywall would be problematic for changes in temperature and humidity, and the location is in an area where the doors will be opening and shutting frequently, as people pass through. He said he really liked the original proposal, which had called for the piece to be made of metal, but said he wouldn’t vote for the project as it stands.
Zuellig thought it would be a good location for a mural of some sort – perhaps by local school children. Sims liked the idea of a mural, but would prefer one by a professional artist.
As with the lobby installation, commissioners questioned the cost of the lighting/controls line item: $25,000 for the atrium piece. In this case, however, there was no additional lighting connected to the artwork, which left several commissioners puzzled over what they would be paying for. Would the Percent for Art program be charged for lighting fixtures that will be installed in the atrium anyway, regardless of the artwork? Jeff Meyers wondered if they’d be on the hook for those costs, even if they rejected Dreiseitl’s proposals.
Margaret Parker reminded commissioners that these were huge spaces, and anything installed there would be expensive. They’ve already spent two years working with Dreiseitl and have paid for the design of these interior pieces. If they reject them, they’ll need to take responsibility for all the time and cost they’ve already incurred, and they’ll be starting from scratch, she said.
Sims pointed out that much of the extra expense is due to delays in response by Dreiseitl.
Sims also asked whether the city owned the design, for which they’ve already paid Dreiseitl. She suggested that if they did own it, they could hire someone else to execute the design in a way that worked better for that location. Several other commissioners objected to that approach.
Connie Brown moved to not approve the atrium project, a motion seconded by Curtis. Zuellig asked whether the motion could include some of the reasons for rejecting the piece, and Brown agreed – citing the cost escalation, the questionable durability of the materials, and the departure from Dreiseitl’s original vision.
In discussing the motion, Parker said it’s not their job to question the choice of materials. The originally proposed metal proved to be too expensive, she said, and they shouldn’t factor that in. They seem to be holding him to a design he submitted months ago, she said, and it would be more appropriate to simply cite the cost escalation.
Yes, the costs did escalate, Brown noted. But there has to be some value associated with that – and drywall isn’t added value.
Painting is done on drywall all the time, Parker said, and experts say it’s a perfectly fine surface. Several commissioners voiced disagreement. Zuellig noted that they’d raised these concerns in November and had suggested some alternatives, but Dreiseitl hadn’t responded to those concerns. Brown pointed out that there hadn’t been much communication from him.
Parker said the price is reasonable for an extremely large piece that’s hand-painted – Brown pointed out that it would be stenciled. Parker said she was strongly in favor of relying on the professionals that they’d hired to do this project, who supported it.
Cathy Gendron proposed citing only cost as the reason for turning down the project. Zuellig noted that in five years, AAPAC will be sitting here trying to deal with maintenance of the piece, so it’s their responsibility now to address the issue of the durability of materials as well.
Outcome: With dissent from Margaret Parker, commissioners voted against approval of Dreiseitl’s proposal for an installation in the atrium, citing the cost escalation, the questionable durability of the materials, and the departure from the original vision for the work. Marsha Chamberlin was absent, and Jeff Meyers had left the meeting by the time the vote was taken.
Outstanding Issues: What’s Next?
After the votes, Parker said they need to give the task force some direction about how to proceed on other possible public art installations at the municipal center. Several other commissioners said it wasn’t possible, given the uncertainty about Dreiseitl’s proposal for the lobby. Depending on what they ultimately decide to do with that, it will influence how much funding is available for other work within the complex. They agreed to discuss it at AAPAC’s August meeting.
Repair Funds Approved for Sun Dragon Sculpture
A sculpture at Fuller Pool, designed by AAPAC chair Margaret Parker in 2003, had been damaged this spring by maintenance workers making structural repairs to the pool’s shower, to which the sculpture is attached. A wooden beam – which supported both the sculpture and a pipe carrying solar-heated water– had rotted. When maintenance workers removed part of the sculpture to repair the beam, parts of the artwork were broken.
At Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners voted on approval of $6,946 in repair costs, including $4,000 for labor, to be paid out of an endowed fund established at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. The fund is designated for public art maintenance, and has a balance of $16,270.
As part of the discussion, Parker reported that Sue McCormick, the city’s public services administrator, has told her that Percent for Art funds – which AAPAC administers – can’t be used to pay for repairs on public art acquired by the city prior to November 2007, when the Percent for Art program was established.
Several commissioners questioned that statement. Jim Curtis asked what would happen when the endowed fund ran out of money? The Sun Dragon’s repair would deplete it by half, he noted. Connie Brown brought up the stacked-book sculpture in Hanover Square, which AAPAC – in partnership with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority – plans to remove and possibly reinstall elsewhere. Where would the funding come from to handle that, since the artwork significantly pre-dates AAPAC?
Cheryl Zuellig wondered whether the inability to use Percent for Art funds for repairs of pre-2007 public art was written into the ordinance or whether it was simply a staff interpretation.
By way of background, the ordinance that established the Percent for Art program does not explicitly address the issue of funding for public art owned prior to the program’s establishment. (.pdf of public art ordinance) However, a cover memo accompanying the city council’s packet for their Nov. 5, 2007 meeting states:
In discussion with CAPP [the Commission on Art in Public Places, AAPAC's predecessor group], it was noted that the program must recognize the need for ongoing maintenance of public art. As a result, the ordinance provides that normal maintenance of the art will be provided by the Services Area responsible for the location where the art is installed. Additionally, funds in pooled public art funds may be used for extraordinary maintenance, repair or refurbishment, including structural reconstruction, and for relocation, alteration and removal of public art.
Jeff Meyers said that if it is written into the ordinance, perhaps it’s worth going back to city council for revision. Zuellig noted that their other option would be fundraising.
Outcome: AAPAC approved spending $6,946 from the endowed fund to repair the Sun Dragon. Parker recused herself from the vote. The work will be handled by Plastic-Tech of Ann Arbor.
Follow-Up: Maintenance Funding Clarified
At an organizational retreat held the following night, July 14, McCormick clarified the question of maintenance, confirming that the service units that oversee the site where the art is located, or the funds from which the Percent for Art monies were drawn, are responsible for maintenance and repair. This applies to both public art that was acquired prior to the Percent for Art program, as well as work funded by the Percent for Art. In addition, AAPAC can choose to allocate funding for repair or maintenance of Percent for Art work, but not for older public art.
The Dreiseitl work, for example, is funded through the water utilities fund, which will provide funding for maintenance in the future, McCormick said. She said the city will run a depreciation schedule on each piece of art, and when the work is fully depreciated – or when it comes to the end of its “useful” life cycle, whenever that might be – the staff will come to AAPAC to discuss whether to decommission it.
For public art that pre-dates the Percent for Art program, AAPAC is under no obligation to deal with those, McCormick said – though they can if they choose.
Public Art at Fuller Road Station
Cathy Gendron and Connie Brown will be AAPAC representatives on a task force that’s being formed to handle public art at the Fuller Road Station, a joint city of Ann Arbor/University of Michigan parking structure and transit center. In reporting on a meeting that she’d had with the project manager, Dave Dykman, and other city staff, Gendron said she’d been surprised to learn that many things have already been decided, including the artwork’s location within the structure, the materials to be used and the theme of the piece – transportation. “I had no idea that things were so far along at this project,” she said.
The design concept was outlined in a memo to AAPAC. It calls for creating 15 large fritted glass panels on the front and back of the structure. From the memo:
Fritted glass is a special type of glass that utilizes ceramic-enamel coatings in a visible pattern (dots, lines, etc.) to control solar heat gain. The pattern is created by opaque or transparent glass fused to the substrate glass material under high temperatures. The substrate is heat strengthened or tempered to prevent breakage due to thermal stresses. The selected artist would create the designs for these visible patterns.
Elaine Sims asked who had made these decisions. The decisions had been made by the project’s architect – Mitchell and Mouat – and city staff, Gendron said. Margaret Parker indicated that Katherine Talcott, the city’s public art administrator, had drawings of the project, which weren’t yet available to the public.
Gendron said the two-dimensional pieces would incorporate images of bicycles, buses and trains. She described the effect as lovely, but Brown wasn’t as enthusiastic. Brown said the question was whether they’d have much input, other than just shepherding what’s already been decided.
Margaret Parker said AAPAC still has to prove itself, and that they hadn’t gotten involved soon enough. They had heard about the project in the spring, and hadn’t yet finalized a task force. [AAPAC's possible role in the project had first been briefly mentioned at their January 2010 meeting. From Chronicle coverage:
Talcott then reported on another city project in which AAPAC might play a role: the Fuller Road Station. The project manager, David Dykman, had contacted her and they planned to meet formally soon. It was good that someone from another city project is reaching out, she said.
At Tuesday's meeting, Brown said she'd met with the architects as soon as AAPAC had heard about the project, but at that time they weren't yet done with the schematic design, and people were still questioning the funding model, she said. Parker said that for whatever reason, AAPAC wasn't getting involved soon enough. She noted that the project would have two phases, and that they should be sure to be ready for the second phase.
Jeff Meyers cautioned that they don't want to be in the same position for the second phase as they are now. If the city wants AAPAC engaged, this can't be a pattern that repeats, he said. Otherwise, AAPAC should remove itself from the project.
Zuellig said the pattern already had repeated. They'd first been asked by the city to provide an art consultant, and they'd written an RFQ (request for qualifications) for that position. [AAPAC discussed the request at length at their February 2010 meeting, where they raised several questions about the process.] That didn’t work out, and they’d met with Sue McCormick and told her they need to make sure that kind of situation doesn’t happen again – they needed to play a role in the art. Now, it seems they’re being asked to play an administrative role, she said.
[At an AAPAC organizational retreat on Wednesday, Talcott told The Chronicle that she will now be serving as the art project manager for the Fuller Road Station. At that meeting, commissioners also discussed with McCormick ways that they can get involved in these city projects at an earlier point.]
Meyers said the thing that troubled him was that it impacted AAPAC’s budget, but they weren’t able to weigh in on it. Describing it as the tail wagging the dog, he said it makes AAPAC’s role an afterthought. “My inclination is to say, You’re on your own.”
Zuellig agreed, and noted that they had the option of rejecting the project. [At the July 14 organizational meeting, McCormick clarified that AAPAC was a recommending body, and that if commissioners voted against a project, the city had the option of moving ahead with it, without AAPAC's involvement.]
Percent for Art funds stipulate that 1% of a capital project’s budget be set aside for public art, up to a cap of $250,000 per project. As in the case of the municipal center building, the Percent for Art funds for Fuller Road Station are designated to be used in that project, Parker said.
Describing the situation as objectionable, Jim Curtis pointed out that now at least they have the ability to direct how the art is actually done. Other people can make suggestions, he noted, but “ultimately, we’re going to decide.”
Zuellig suggested pushing back on some of the things that had been pre-determined. Maybe there are other possibilities for materials and design, she said. That’s what the task force is for, Parker responded.
When the task force is given its charge, Sims suggested, they should be told that they can go beyond what the city has determined – it should be a jumping-off point, she said. Parker agreed, saying that it’s a negotiation. Sims noted that without an artist being involved in the project up until this point, the architects did the best that they could do.
But Meyers remained concerned that the city would simply be tasking the group to implement decisions that are already made. He felt it would be setting a precedent of being reactive, rather than proactive. He didn’t think AAPAC was set up to simply have projects thrown at it.
Curtis said it was a combination – AAPAC is approached about doing specific projects, as well as coming up with its own. Meyers noted that there’s a difference between bringing a project idea to AAPAC, versus saying “This is how it must be done.”
Zuellig agreed with Sims that the architects had to do something to accommodate public art. Now, AAPAC needed to take it from there.
Meyers ended the discussion by saying, somewhat lightheartedly, “I will temper my outrage until I hear more.”
West Park Art Project
Connie Brown reported that the design for the public art installation at West Park is moving ahead. The general concept for the work had been described at AAPAC’s March 9, 2010 meeting:
The artist’s conceptual proposal for the site includes creating two metal “trees” at each end of the top tier of the concrete seating area. Each tree would have a circular trunk made from recycled metal, about 8-10 inches at its base and standing about 10 feet tall. Branches near the top of the trunks would also be made from recycled metal. The trees would either be painted or left natural to weather. In addition, large boulders would be incorporated into the seat walls, as well as around the base of each tree. The artist would also help the parks staff place additional fieldstone boulders in the area between the seats and the bandshell, for seating and aesthetic purposes.
The footings for the piece have been poured, but there are still some issues related to using color, Brown said – the task force working with the artist is concerned about maintenance issues if painting is involved. The final work is expected to be complete by September.
Governance Issues: Who Wants to Be Chair?
Margaret Parker has served as chair of AAPAC since it was formed in 2008, and before that chaired the Commission on Art in Public Places (CAPP), the group that pre-dated the Percent for Art program. For several months, she has been pushing to move out of that role, but no one has stepped forward to take it on. At Tuesday’s meeting, Cheryl Zuellig – who chairs AAPAC’s planning committee – presented a three-tiered plan for governance, to distribute the leadership duties between a vice chair, chair and past chair. The understanding is that the vice chair would spend a year learning the ropes, then move into the chair’s position for the following year. While the chair would still handle a larger share of duties compared to the other two leadership roles, some of that responsibility would be handled by the vice chair and past chair.
Zuellig presented the plan and asked for feedback.
Jeff Meyers said his biggest concern was asking the vice chair to see that far into the future – anything more than a year commitment was asking a lot. They’d be asking for three years: as vice chair, then chair, and finally past chair. He felt that requiring a vice chair to become chair was problematic.
Parker said they were open to alternative suggestions, but that they haven’t been able to get anyone to commit to anything, and that was the problem.
Meyers then suggested that perhaps they should make the job of chair less onerous – Parker said that was the point of this reorganization. The past chair, for example, would take on the task of doing the annual report, which is due in August. The vice chair would provide back-up for the chair, and provide oversight for the commission’s schedule.
Meyers proposed another option: Giving the vice chair more duties, but not requiring them to ascend to the chair automatically. Otherwise, he said, it might be difficult to get someone to commit to being vice chair.
Connie Brown raised the point that commissioners serve three-year terms. That means someone just coming onto the commission would need to commit to a leadership role immediately. Zuellig said that was only true if no one served multiple terms. When Meyers said commissioners don’t get reappointed automatically, Parker disagreed, saying “you sort of do.”
Zuellig noted that they’re facing an immediate challenge: Parker will be unable to attend the September and October meetings, and they need someone to fill in for her. There is currently no vice chair. Brown said she’d support the three-tier structure, but that still leaves the question: Who’ll take those roles?
Parker volunteered to serve as past chair.
Zuellig suggested that she email commissioners and get their feedback – including whether anyone would be willing to serve – and they could discuss it again at their August meeting.
Commissioners Recruited, and One Departs
At Tuesday’s meeting, Jim Curtis, who has served on AAPAC/CAPP for five years, told his colleagues that he plans to step down at the end of 2010.
Owner of Curtis Commercial, Curtis is also on the board of the Ann Arbor Main Street Business Improvement Zone (BIZ), which launched on July 1, and said he needs more time to devote to that. He offered to serve on the projects committee, and continue to work on AAPAC issues as much as he can. That offer was accepted, and other commissioners expressed regret that he’d be leaving.
Margaret Parker reported that Lee Doyle, who attended AAPAC’s June meeting, has agreed to serve on the commission and is sending her application to the mayor, who nominates people for the city’s boards and commissions. Those nominations must be confirmed by city council. Doyle is chief of staff for the University of Michigan Office of the Vice President for Communications and a member of the UM President’s Advisory Committee for Public Art. She is also a founder of the university’s Arts on Earth program, and oversees the UM Film Office.
AAPAC is still seeking additional members. With Curtis departing, the commission would be down to six members, out of a total of nine.
Redefining the Job of Public Art Administrator
Parker reported that Katherine Talcott, who’s been serving as the city’s public art administrator on a part-time contract basis since early 2009, will be leaving that role. Parker reported that according to Sue McCormick, the city’s public services administrator, Talcott’s one-year contract has been renewed, but that her role will be limited to project management. She will continue to oversee the Dreiseitl installations, the Fuller Road Station project, and whatever future projects McCormick assigns her, Parker said. But Talcott will no longer serve an administrative support role.
Instead, the city will be consolidating Talcott’s administrative duties and those of Jean Borger, AAPAC’s administrative coordinator. They’ll be hiring someone for that job, Parker said.
Responding to a question from Elaine Sims, Parker said that project management fees come out of the budget for each particular project.
Cathy Gendron asked whether Borger would be considered for the new job, and hoped that she would. [Borger takes minutes for AAPAC meetings, among other duties, and participated in Tuesday's meeting via speaker phone. Talcott did not attend the meeting.] Parker said she was highly recommending Borger, but it wasn’t yet clear how that job would be defined.
Sims said she assumed that AAPAC would have some input into that decision, that it would be a conversation with McCormick rather than a directive.
Commissioners present: Connie Brown, Jim Curtis, Cathy Gendron, Jeff Meyers, Margaret Parker, Elaine Sims, Cheryl Zuellig. Others: Ray Detter
Absent: Marsha Chamberlin
Next regular meeting: Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 4:30 p.m., 7th floor conference room of the City Center Building, 220 E. Huron St. [confirm date]