Support for Arts Planning Grant

Great work by members of the arts community to ensure a fair process for participation. While I was initially very concerned about the process by which this request came forward, this agreement eases many of my concerns. An arts plan is good for the community.

Great work by Dave Beal & team!

Mayor Brede, President Staver, Members of the Council:

Prior to the April 27, 2015 meeting of the Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.), the Rochester Arts and Culture Collaborative (Collaborative) raised what we believed to be substantial concerns of process and representation with regard to the Rochester Area Arts and Cultural Trust (Trust) request for $15,000 to underwrite a public arts master plan for the city of Rochester.

The Collaborative supports developing a public art master plan. We did not believe the April 27 Trust proposal provided for the sort of broad, representative, decision-making participation required to produce a plan more likely to meet the requirements of the city, the needs of the arts community, and the interests of Rochester residents. These concerns were only heightened in the context of the Trust request for public funding to underwrite the plan.

It was clear at the April 27 C.O.W. meeting that our concerns regarding participation were shared by some members of the council. Council members also expressed concerns regarding the transparency of the a process that would be supported by public funds.

Immediately following the Trust April 27 C.O.W. presentation, members of the Collaborative steering committee and the Trust board began a series of conversations on how to address the issues of participation and transparency raised by council members regarding the Trust request.

These conversations included a formal meeting of Trust and Collaborative members on May 1, 2015 where we agreed upon the broad outlines of how these issues might be addressed to the satisfaction of all parties. Trust and Collaborative members also consulted with Forecast Public Art, the consulting firm the Trust has proposed for conducting the planning process.

  • Together, we have reached the following understanding of how the process would proceed:
  • The Trust has proposed the formation of a “management committee” to support the work of Forecast Public Art once the services of this firm are secured.
    • Membership of this committee will include persons from the Trust, the Collaborative, and a local arts organization.
  • We determined that the planning process Forecast Public Art conducts will include the formation a Steering Committee.
    • The objective of this Steering Committee will be to provide strategic oversight to the master planning process.
    • It will be comprised of persons who represent a wide cross-section of our community’s stakeholders and decision makers, and who bring unique perspectives of the potential of our arts and culture encompassed within the long-term cultural, economic, and civic development of our city.
    • The membership would include up to 20 – 25 persons.
    • The membership of this committee is very much in line with the committee proposed by the Collaborative in our letter to members of the council prior to the April 27 C.O.W. meeting.
    • The specific responsibilities of the Steering Committee will be:
      • set criteria for what will make this a successful plan
      • contribute to and approve vision, mission, values
      • review and approve steps of the planning process and final Master Plan
      • provide access to additional people we may need to talk to
      • represent the public face of this project to the community and be proactive in support
      • help oversee the process with the City and project partners
      • represent the plan to the City Council and other key entities in the community
    • The Steering Committee will conduct its business in keeping with the practices of open meeting requirements.

The Collaborative believes that implementing these committees and the practices of Forecast Public Art will provide for a planning process that includes the community, public, and arts interests likely to be impacted by such a plan; and, provide the experience and expertise required to bring forth a plan that best meets the needs of the city and its residents.

We hope that conducting the business of the Steering Committee described above in keeping with the practices of open meeting requirements will satisfy the transparency concerns raised by members of the council.

Consequently, the Collaborative supports the request of the Trust for $15,000 from the city to underwrite a public art master plan and ask that the council to approve this allocation.

Regards,

Dave Beal, Steering Committee
Rochester Arts and Culture Collaborative.

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