Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (June 26, 2013): Much of the discussion at AAPAC’s most recent meeting focused on the themes of outreach and public engagement.
As part of that, a proposal to overhaul the Golden Paintbrush awards – the city’s annual recognition of individuals and organizations who support public art in Ann Arbor – received the most attention. Commissioners John Kotarski and Connie Brown had recommended four categories of public recognition to replace the Golden Paintbrush, including a lifetime achievement award, a “Random Acts of Art” award, and public art awards to be presented at a formal social event that was described as an “Academy Awards-type” ceremony.
Although there was general consensus that the Golden Paintbrush needs to be improved, some commissioners felt that the proposed public recognition program was overreaching at this point. Malverne Winborne worried about “scope creep” – going too far afield of AAPAC’s role. Marsha Chamberlin thought that making some changes to the Golden Paintbrush, including a new name, could serve the same purpose. Ultimately, commissioners decided to give the proposal more thought before acting on it.
Also related to public engagement, Kotarski and AAPAC chair Bob Miller reported on efforts to get input on proposals by four finalists for artwork at the East Stadium bridges. The two men have been making presentations to a variety of groups, and are seeking feedback via two online surveys – one on Survey Monkey, another on A2 Open City Hall. Commissioners also talked about having a regular table at the Sunday artisan market and increasing their use of social media, including the commission’s Facebook page and Twitter account – @AAPublicArt. AAPAC also will have a table at the July 15 Townie Street Party.
In other action, commissioners voted to create exploratory task forces for possible projects at Arbor Oaks Park in southeast Ann Arbor, and at the wastewater treatment plant on Dixboro Road in Ann Arbor Township. Craig Hupy, the city’s public services area administrator, had approached AAPAC about the possibility of incorporating public art into the wastewater treatment project. He noted that of the remaining amount in the Percent for Art funds, much of it came from wastewater-related projects, and must be spent on public art with a “nexus” to wastewater.