Art Council / BACE / Trust Proposal Questions

I was pretty overwhelmed by comments regarding the COW topic for today.  Rather than trying to get every question from every constituent group answered; I summarized questions being asked, some of the very much to the point.  Many of the people raising these questions could not do so publicly because it could put them in conflict with potential funders.  So who do you call on when you need a tough question asked?  The community seems to know.  Here are the 21 sets of questions I asked the Arts Council to address:

As an elected official and community member I am involved with many art organizations in different capacities ranging from consumer to board member.  The BACE proposal has raised a number of concerns ranging from logistics to openness. 

In soliciting feedback from a number of sources I submit the following questions for clarification and understanding.  Rather than ask all of these questions in the Committee of the Whole environment I am submitting these in writing to give you time to respond.

I took it upon myself to compile this list as many of the artists and organizations that I have spoken with don’t feel they are in a position to raise these questions for fear of conflict with funders of the arts.  A couple of these questions are my own, but the majority of these questions have come from a number of arts organizations, board members and independent artists.  As you would suspect many of these questions were asked by multiple parties.

  1. What is the purpose of presenting to the Rochester City Council today?  Is there a specific ask of the Rochester City Council?
  2. There is currently a DMC Arts, Culture and Civic Engagement Task Force that has an opportunity to hold public input sessions and interpolate that data to inform and influence the DMC Master Plan through a community-driven, grassroots effort.  Why take action separate from or before these results are known?
  3. How were the members of BACE selected?  Are meetings open to the public?  Are minutes of the meetings available for public review?
  4. How is the Trust going to be paid for?  What would the operating budget for the Trust consist of and where would the money come from?  Who is the staff of the Trust?
  5. Will the city be expected to contribute to the trust?
  6. Will city organizations be subject to policy or funding recommendations by the trust?
  7. Have members of organizations within the Rochester Arts community asked for the creation of a trust?
  8. What value will a trust create in Rochester? What results should we expect within the first 3 years?
  9. How does BACE determines ‘policy recommendations’
  10. Who does BACE make policy recommendations to?
  11. How are institutions who receive such ‘policy recommendations’ expected to heed and act upon them
  12. What is the purpose of BACE making ‘policy recommendations’?
  13. Will these ‘policy recommendations’ be directed to existing and established art organizations (501 C3s)?
  14. Several arts organizations have expressed concerns with the Trust concept but are unwilling to state their unhappiness publicly because they don’t want to be seen as unsupportive of task force member organizations such as Mayo and RAF that are funders.  What type of outreach have you done to reassure these organizations that the Trust will add value?
  15. What Rochester arts organizations have been contacted regarding the Trust in the last 12 months?
  16. What criteria and expertise does BACE have in creating policy recommendations?  Many of these institutions that currently have policies, missions, bylaws, measurements and strategic plans adopted by their governing boards and implemented by professional staff.
  17. How will “arts and culture” be defined by this group?  What Metrics will be used to establish funding levels?
  18. I was told that the Rochester Area Foundation decided not to fund local arts organizations until the trust was up and running so that the criteria for arts funding could be established.  Is this correct?  Are other funders planning to run funding through the Trust?
  19. Do you expect the City of Rochester to utilize the priorities established by the Trust?  If so, how will these priorities be established?
  20. Why is this new organization in a unique position to establish priorities?
  21. The Arts Council has the Dancing for the Arts as its main fundraiser for the year, with proceeds going to youth art programming.  How much money was raised last year and how much was distributed to youth arts programming?  How much went to the Arts Council for operations?  If the Arts Council transforms into the Trust, will the Arts Council still have this yearly event?  In the slides shown at the public meeting, it was stated that the Trust would not hold events to raise money.  Is this still true?

Thank you for considering and addressing these community questions.  I consider these type of communications to be vital in the name of public openness and transparency.

Michael Wojcik

Rochester City Council

I will publish responses once I get them.

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