Gloucester’s City Ward Councilors, the Gloucester Committee for the Arts and the new Arts and Cultural Initiative will host a series of Ward/Community meetings concerning the Arts and Cultural Initiative and a review of a Draft Public Art Policy Ordinance.
The Cultural Arts Initiative will provide an overview of the new initiative and seek community input to help set priorities for the program. The initiative also seeks assistance in identifying the full range of Gloucester’s artistic and cultural community to insure that it understands, connects and advocates for all.
The Gloucester Committee for the Arts will lead a discussion to review a draft art policy ordinance in advance of its submission to the City. All documents pertaining to the art policy will be available for review prior to the Ward meetings on the City’s web site, the Sawyer Free Library and the Mayor’s office.
The meetings will be moderated by John Sarrouf from Gloucester Conversations.
April 19th – Councilors Cox and LeBlanc will host a meeting for Wards 2 and 3 starting at 6pm in the Sawyer Free Library.
April 20th – Councilor Memhard will host a meeting for Ward 1 at 6:30pm at the Gloucester Stage
April 21st – Councilor Nolan will host the Ward 5 meeting at 5pm in the Magnolia Library
April 25th – Councilor Gilman will host the Ward 4 meeting at 7:00 pm in the Lanesville Community Center
Cultural and Arts Initiative Background Material –
In September, 2015, a partnership of three arts organizations – Rocky Neck Art colony, ArtsGloucester, and seARTS – received $45,500 in grant funding over two years for the establishment of the Gloucester Arts and Cultural Initiative, a project whose mission is to champion innovation and excellence in the cultural landscape, to support private and public cultural development across all sectors, and to strengthen and promote the cultural vitality of the city’s waterfront and neighborhoods.
The Initiative will be led by Martha Wood, the Project Manager, and a Steering Committee. The initiative will engage in long-term projects including development of a Cultural Master Plan for Gloucester, investigating ways to provide affordable studio space for visual, performing and other artists; and researching how best to provide resources and advocacy for Gloucester’s many-faceted cultural organizations and communities. Among the Initiative’s tasks will be to determine priorities for the program and to assemble the Steering Committee, a council of citizens dedicated to the future and sustainability of Gloucester as a city rooted in its arts, culture, and the unique heritage of its natural environment.
Community input will play an important part in determining the priorities and shaping this Initiative. To that end, we invite and encourage you to attend one of the forums and complete an online survey to gather public input at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F62NTPQ.
Art Policy Background Material –
The Committee for the Arts was established in 2000. Over the years since, the City and the Committee (CFTA) have realized that the City needs a public art policy that deals with not only its current art holdings, but also includes a process to provide City officials and the community with assurances that proper procedures are in place to guide future public art decisions for the City. As early as 2005, CFTA Chair Kate Bodin and CFTA member John Ronan drafted a very lengthy and inclusive art policy. Although this policy was offered, but not considered by City Council, its value as a guide remains to this day. Later, in 2012, another partial and more condensed art policy was written by CFTA member, Marcia Hart, but this policy was never submitted to the City.
Following the concerns and confusion regarding the proposed gift of sculpture from David Black in late 2014, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken with the assistance of Jack Clarke hosted the first of several public meetings regarding public art. In 2015, at the request of CFTA, the City put out a request for proposals for a public art consultant to assist in formulating a public art policy. As a result of the RFP, CFTA selected consultant Elizabeth Keithline to advise CFTA on what such a policy should address and how to get public input on it. Keithline conducted additional public meetings and did direct public outreach, through which public concerns regarding a public art policy were collected. Keithline’s report was submitted in March of this year. After review of that report and the previous reports, CFTA now has developed a new proposed ordinance that will be considered by the public and City officials over the next few months.
As demonstrated by the 2005 report (totaling over 60 pages), a comprehensive public art policy is a large document, with a lot of detailed procedures. While those details are important, most important at the beginning is to establish the framework through the ordinance to incorporate the safeguards and overarching requirements that the public wants and the City needs to ensure that the process is transparent and fair, and consistent into the future. Once that framework is adopted by the City, CFTA can then begin writing specific policies and procedures on various aspects of the overall policy.
To move the remaining process forward, several critical steps will be taken:
All related documents (including the current and proposed ordinances, previous proposals, and the consultant’s report, will be available for public view on the CFTA page of the City’s website and copies will be placed in the Sawyer Free Library and the Mayor’s Office in City Hall.
The draft ordinance will be reviewed throughout Gloucester’s communities via public forums in the various wards. During these meetings, the community will have an opportunity to comment on the draft ordinance and offer their assistance and input on several issues that remain unresolved.
Once CFTA has heard from the communities, the Committee will address any additions or corrections to the draft ordinance and submit it to the City’s General Counsel and the Mayor. Once a final ordinance is approved by the Mayor, it will be presented to City Council, which before considering it , will hold a formal public hearing. As in the past few months, the public is encouraged to stay involved as this process moves forward.
Judith Hoglander, Chair, Committee for the Arts
Martha Wood, Project Manager
Gloucester Arts and Cultural Initiative