By STEPHANIE COLLINS
11:19 AM EST, February 26, 2013
An update on the arts committee formed by the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County was discussed at the Danville City Commission meeting Monday night.
Sissi Hamilton, president of the arts commission’s board of directors, said the city asked the Arts Commission last year to formulate a policy for public arts projects.
“Part of that policy which the commission approved was establishing a standing committee to review future projects and make recommendations to the city,” she said.
The committee is chaired by Tom Lamp and has five members.
City Attorney Stephen Dexter said the committee’s standing needs to be evaluated before moving forward.
“When this policy was first discussed and voted on by the last commission, it was done as a measure of reaction to a public art display that was trying to occur regarding a brass band sculpture of some sort,” Dexter said.
Dexter said there was concern about whether a process was in place on how public art is displayed.
“How artists should participate, or who should determine what is art, where it should be placed, how it’s going to be cared for and maintained,” Dexter said.
Dexter said it needs to be clarified the arts committee is a “committee of the arts commission. It is not a committee of the city of Danville.”
Dexter said when the arts commission’s policy was approved by city commissioners, it was done so by resolution.
“The commission cannot create a committee by resolution,” Dexter added. “You have to do that by passing an ordinance.”
Dexter said whether or not that was the desire of the previous commission, it did not happen and needs to be discussed.
As of now, Dexter said the committee is essentially another leg of the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County and can provide guidance to the city.
“But there would be nothing in our ordinances that would require them to do so or that you would have any jurisdiction over,” Dexter said.
Dexter raised a few questions for the city to consider when making its decision to pass an ordinance.
“First of all, does the city need a standing arts committee?” he asked. “If we include public art, there’s a wide definition of that. Does that include the Community Arts Center?”
Dexter said there needs to be a firmer foundation for the arts committee.
“All the players need to be involved,” Dexter said. “Right now, we essentially have a resolution that really doesn’t mean anything.”
Mayor Bernie Hunstad said although it is not an official committee, many people worked hard to come to an agreement on issues of art in the community.
Commissioner Kevin Caudill agreed with Hunstad, adding he doesn’t remember thinking the Community Arts Center would be involved when the past commission approved the policy.
“Maybe that needs to be clarified,” Caudill said.
Dexter said considering Arts Commission board members and arts committee members were appointed, it needs to be evaluated what role the committee holds.
“The committee (members) may feel they are empowered in a way that you have not empowered them,” Dexter said. He added there could be misconceptions on the part of either the city or the Arts Commission.
“All of that is not to undermine the great work that Ann Nichols and Sissi Hamilton have done,” Hunstad said. “I encourage them to continue working, and all partners involved. It’s a pretty daunting task. I think we have the ability to do this in our community.”
Dexter said he does not intend to give the impression of undermining the committee’s work.
“I hope you don’t take my comments as diminishing the work that was invested in that,” Dexter said. “This is simply a clarification.”
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