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Art Commission Minutes - May 23, 2007

May 23, 2007 AT 7:00 P.M.

CALL TO ORDER: Chairperson Ruiz called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL: Commissioners Present: Patrick McCarran (arrived at 7:14 pm), Vivian Faye, Saunie Fridley (departed at 8:35 pm), Sandra Gill, Barbara Guise, Helen Myers (arrived at 7:04 pm), Catherine Perez, Greg Ruiz, and Joe Trebino
Commissioners Absent: Ron Beatty, Wanda Groseclose, Bart Schneider, and Annette Seabury
Staff Present: Robert Taylor, Mayor; Craig Bronzan, Parks & Recreation Director; and Rebekah Burr-Siegel, Arts Manager.

BELIEF STATEMENT: Commissioner Perez read the Belief Statement.


AGENDA REVIEW: Commissioner Gill requested that New Business, Items 10 & 11 come before the Old Business to accommodate the artists attending the meeting.
MSC Gill/Trebino to move New Business before Old Business.

Willard (Bill) Carmel thanked the Arts Commission. He stated that the project of the five animals at Veteran’s Park is finished. He believes it looks good and he hopes that we are happy with it. Mr. Carmel stated the he owes a big debt of gratitude and thanks to a lot of the members of the Arts Commission, especially at the end with the vandalism problem. He also stated that at the very beginning of the project, when he had to have surgery, we had the opportunity to assign the project to someone else, the Arts Commission decided not to and he stated that he appreciated it very much.

Mr. Carmel stated that we have a great opportunity to fund art projects and have them be part of the community. He encouraged the Arts Commission to continue to do that, to let that be something that really sustains the Arts Commission.


1. Approve minutes of regular meeting of April 25, 2007
2. Accept monthly budget report (R. Burr-Siegel)
3. Accept monthly report from Arts Manager (R. Burr-Siegel)
5. Accept staff responsibilities for Art, Wine and Jazz Festival (G. Ruiz)
6 Accept report from Literary Arts Committee (R. Beatty)
MSC Trebino/Faye to approve items 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.

Items 4 and 7 were pulled by Chairperson Ruiz.

4 Accept monthly report from Public Art Committee (P. McCarran)
Chairperson Ruiz requested that a map be attached to each agenda with the public art locations and possible public art areas. Chairperson Ruiz explained that he did not know where some of the possible sites are located, but if the locations were marked on the map, it would encourage us to look at the site. MSC Trebino/Gill to approve item 4.

Rebekah Burr-Siegel stated that on the Public Art Priority List that was requested at the last meeting, members of the Public Art Committee and herself drove around Brentwood. The top item listed is Balfour and Pippo; this is the most heavily traveled route in Brentwood and would be the most visible.

Commissioner Guise suggested that Balfour would be a more excellent location for the Farmer Statue. She would rather have the Farmer very visible out in the public. Commissioner Trebino responded that the statue is only going into the Tech Center temporarily. Chairperson Ruiz stated that there is an issue cannot moved indoors and outdoors due to the patina on the statue.

7. Accept letter of resignation from Ron Beatty (G. Ruiz)
Chairperson Ruiz tried to stop Commissioner Beatty from resigning. Chairperson Ruiz stated that Commissioner Beatty wrote the Art Ordinance, so when we have individuals talk about art in the City and how unique that is, we can, in a large part, thank Ron Beatty for it.
MSC Trebino/Guise to accept item 7, with one No vote from the Chairperson Ruiz

10. ACTION: Receive presentation on and approve the public art concept and design by Vickie Sowell for the King Park dog park (P. McCarran)
Vickie Sowell made her presentation for King Park, “Life is a Ball”. Chairperson Ruiz commented that he loves it and it is what we were looking for the City of Brentwood. Commissioner Gill wanted to hear from the Public Art Committee on what they based their decision on. Commissioner McCarran stated that the PAC discussed vandalism and visibility because this is not buried in a development. It is definitely visible from Sand Creek. Commission McCarran explained that everyone from the selection panel to the Public Art Committee like the design. It seemed appropriate, different, good use of materials, and there will be some landscaping around the piece. Vickie Sowell explained that there are two elements to the project, the smaller piece, “King” would be installed at the entrance to the park and the larger “Life is a Ball” would work as an indicator for the dog park when viewed from Sand Creek Rd.
MSC Gill/Guise to approve item 10, one opposed from Fridley.

11. ACTION: Receive presentation on and approve the public art concept and design by Dayton Claudio for the Barrington Homes development by Standard Pacific Homes (P. McCarran)
Dayton Claudio made his presentation for the “Digital Garden” designed specifically for the Barrington Development. He explained that this was a complex project and a challenge. Dayton Claudio explained and described each element in his proposal. He explained that there is a separate budget for lighting. He will be using a system of primary color LED lights. The lights are programmable in a variety of colors and patterns.

Commissioner Gill asked about how much of the project is visible to the public if we don’t live in that housing development. Amy Maley, Standard Pacific Homes, commented that the project is not surrounded by homes. It will be near the main thorough fare. Rebekah Burr-Siegel added that it will be visible from Sunset Park. Commissioner Gill thanked them and stated that the art should be there for everyone not just a particular housing development.

Commissioner Faye commented this art project will be quite eye-catching, especially with the sunlight on it.

Commissioner Guise wanted an explanation of meaning related to agriculture with the monuments. Dayton Claudio explained that he went with more naturalist concept, but he kept going back to the statement of Brentwood moving into the future. Public art in generally will be there for a long time and Dayton Claudio explained that he wanted to take it one step further in terms of symbolic abstraction with a contemporary feel. Amy Maley stated that the vision statement behind the development project is: Connecting Brentwood’s history with its future”.

Dayton Claudio will have some glass “drawings” of native plants in the area placed on a pedestal. Students can do rubbings on the glass panels. The glass will be in a steel box. Safety glass will be laminated to the smooth side of the glass panel which will hold everything in place if the glass panel is cracked or broken.

Commissioner Gill asked for a report from the Public Art Committee. Commission McCarran stated the safety glass laminated to the glass panel was a direct response to one of the PAC’s concerns. The laminated glass solved a safety issue. He explained that he liked the way the builder worked with the PAC, to help capture funds from other construction projects that enabled us to have an additional art project by Bryan Tedrick. The project is definitely futuristic looking, very different, and it is definitely something can be seen and make a statement. Commissioner McCarran stated that is a good project to get some press coverage from. It is a nice project in general.

Commission Trebino commented that he really liked this project. He felt that the developer felt that this project will really help the development. Commissioner Trebino stated that this is going to be a piece that people will come to Brentwood to see. Placing the wireless hub in the project is just brilliant. MSC Trebino/Perez to accept item 11, one opposed from Fridley.

8. DISCUSSION: Discuss recommendations by the Arts Commission’s Ad Hoc Committee (R. Beatty)
Chairperson Ruiz spoke on behalf of Commissioner Beatty who was absent. He stated that the Ad Hoc Committee wanted the Art Commission to discuss this, but more importantly to be able to sit on this idea and the proposals before a recommendation comes before the Commission in terms of a vote at the June meeting. Commissioner Beatty felt very strongly on this and wanted the Commission to think about this for a month for the motions coming before us in June.

Commissioner Trebino stated that he had definite concerns about turning over all the programs to the Art Society. If the Art Society runs the program it states that they will be able to use City facilities for free or for a nominal fee. If this happens, Commissioner Trebino stated that he would like everything in writing. Commissioner Trebino asked about the $20,000 we receive to run the Arts, Wine and Jazz Festival, will this money be turned over to the Art Society. Chairperson Ruiz this is negotiable, we could negotiate with the City that the Art Society is fully funded on all the events next three years. As a result, City Council would have to come up with the funds for the third year.

Commissioner Guise inquired about the developer’s moneys that are used for purchasing art, who would have control of that. Chairperson Ruiz stated that is completely controlled by the Public Art Committee under the Arts Commission. Commissioner Guise asked what would happen if we turned over the program money to a non-profit agency. Commissioner Trebino responded that the Art Society has a record of what comes in and what is spent, but the Art Society will have to get more structured if we are going to do this type of thing. The Art Society still needs to file their paperwork with the State since they are a 501C. Commissioner Guise suggested that this should be part of negotiations.

Chairperson Ruiz stated that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as discussed with Craig Bronzan and Jan Meloni will need to be airtight and completely nailed down with any agreements. Commissioner Gill agreed that the MOU would definitely have to be in place, that this would be best for both parties.

Commissioner Guise stated that the previous City Council liaison wanted us to raise funds to support our programs and one full-time staff person. She commented that she was a bit confused since now everything is proposed for the Art Society. Commissioner Gill responded that it is her understanding that through the Art Ordinance that 20% of the developer’s fees goes toward providing for staff that works directly with the developers and the Public Art Committee and Sub-Committee to get the projects through all the steps they need to go through until installation. The reason we needed and wanted a staff member is because there is no one on this Commission that has the time and expertise to do that. She continued that it would be asking too much to take a Parks & Recreation employee and pull them away from their job to do something that is pretty much a full-time job. Commissioner Gill stated that as long as we had developer fees, we need a professional person to bring it all together.

Craig Bronzan, Parks & Recreation Director, stated that memo included in the packet include his ideas and thoughts. The Arts Commission is at a crossroads. Craig Bronzan continued that the City Council is not providing funding to the Arts Commission for programs. The reality is that for the last two years, the City has not provided the Art Commission with any additional money for programs and that is continuing through the next two-year budget cycle. Craig Bronzan took the opportunity to throw out some ideas, if the City is not going to provide programming money, how are you going to run those programs. Also, is it appropriate for this Commission to be running programs, should it go through a non-profit, or is there another way to look at it. Craig Bronzan stated that the reality is that the development has slowed down enough in this current year budget of 2006-07 that City out of the general fund put in additional funds to keep staff, Rebekah Burr-Spiegel, going until the end of June. The intent all along interpreted by the City is that this position is funded out of the program; it is not a general fund supported decision. There is only one-third of the money available for this position to continue, which puts this position at risk of going away in the 2007-08 budget. With that information that we do not have money from the City to run programs and we quite possibly will not have a staff person, I have say that something has to change. Craig Bronzan stated that the reason for his memo and the reality is this position not only spends a large majority of time doing Public Art and also supports the Art Commission, if the money is not there through development, the City has got to be fiscally responsible to as development slows move the budget away from development. He brought these ideas to the Commission’s attention so that on June 26th when Council approves the upcoming budget, we don’t say that we have no money, we have no staff, and how are going to do these types of things.

He stated that Commissioner Guise asked him who had come-up with the term disband. Craig Bronzan wanted to go on record to say no one is suggesting that the Art Commission be disbanded. He is letting us know things are changing. Craig Bronzan is trying to jumpstart what is best for cultural arts and how do we get it done. The MOU needs to be ironclad. The Public Art program is not going away, it is the dollars that went into the administrative end of it that have almost withered away.

Commissioner Faye is wondering about the budget but we have no funding. If we carried on for the calendar year, we would transition with less and less Commissioners. Craig Bronzan responded that we live in a fiscal year and the Arts Commission’s budget is going forward. The request for spending for the programs for the next two years is being funded by taking the shortfall out of the reserves that the account had. This is the Art Commission side, not the Public Art side; however, there may not be a staff position to support it.

Commissioner Trebino asked if the City doesn’t want to fund these programs, does the City feel they are not necessary for the City. Craig Bronzan responded that the biggest difference is that the City has moved away from being reliant on development, the philosophy of the City is to tighten the purse strings. It is not are the programs more or less important, there is a different fiscal reality for the City. A fiscal decision being made to ensure the City stays solvent towards the future.

Commissioner Gill stated that there is no way we could have funded the Arts Manager position without developer fees. Most of our programs barely break even. Commissioner Gill suggested that we have the money we should re-grant and re-organization as soon as we can get the MOU written.

Commissioner Guise commends the City for control and finally being fiscally responsible. The Art, Wine, and Jazz Festival has the potential to bring in a quite a bit of money. She added that she has great faith in the Festival, if handled properly.

Jim Bryant, former Art Commissioner and Chairperson to the Art Commission, stated he understands the re-organization process, but he is not convinced that the Art Society can necessarily take on the role of the Arts Commission. “I think fund raising and running programs may be two separate areas.” He encouraged the Commission to look at what other cities going through this type of experience have done. This way we can find the most effective and efficient way to move forward.

Commissioner Gill disagrees with the municipal art collection. She believes we should have a collection of local artists but we should expand to have art from other places and other people. Commissioner Guise agrees with Commissioner Gill however, we need to find places for the art to be placed.

Chairperson Ruiz reminded the Commission that Commissioner Beatty wanted us to have an opportunity to think about all of this before anything came before us.

9. ACTION: Consider recommendations for Brentwood Art, Wine and jazz Festival (Art, Wine and Jazz Festival Committee)
Commissioner Fridley commented that other than the agenda report she had nothing to add. Commissioner McCarran inquired if it would be possible to change the name to Art and Wine Festival since we are not having all jazz music. Commissioner Fridley responded that it is too late to change the title this year, but we can consider that in the future. Commissioner Trebino stated that he is not in favor of the country band. MSC Myers/Perez to accept item 9, with one No vote from Commission McCarran.

Mayor Taylor stated that one thing we have in our court is the Mayor, he has always appreciated and supported the arts. The more presentations of anything at Council meetings the better. Council needs to be enlightened and educated as to what we are doing. We need to see that this is good for the City. Mayor Taylor encourages anything with art. It was estimated at the last Farmer’s Market that there were between 2,700-3,000 people there. This would be a great place to put some of this art to work. Get this artwork into the public eye and that is even more pressure. To sell your product, you need to put it out there. Have the artists put a booth out at the Farmer’s Market and show what is going to come to Brentwood. The vandalism in the parks is being slowed down. The Senior Center is the first part going to be built near the aquatic center. Housing has come to a complete halt. Mayor Taylor strongly encourages the artists to bring all they can to show the City Council and at the Farmer’s Market to keep it out in the forefront.

• Commissioner Fridley wanted to comment that they are close to breaking even with the Art, Wine and Jazz Festival and moving in the right direction.
• Commissioner Trebino suggested that we partner with the Farmer’s Market.
• Commissioner Perez commented that whatever direction the Art Commission goes, we keep an open mind to art. We need to do more with art then blending it in with the environment. Art should also be controversial, bold and stand out.
• Commissioner Myers stated that there were more people in downtown Brentwood for the Farmers Market on Saturday than there has ever been.
• Commissioner Gill commented the Auger is beautiful, “it makes me happy to see the all the different public art on the way to work”. What we have been working for is starting to come to fruition. She agreed with Commissioner Perez that the art out there should have variety. It should make people talk and communicate with one another.
• Commissioner Guise sent Ms. Burr-Siegel information regarding an event similar to our ArtWalk, but once a month. It would be an eye-opener to see what they do in other cities.

Chairperson Ruiz would like to see this on the agenda to actually decide what we would like to do, if we would like to put these installation at the Farmer’ Market or something. The Executive Committee will follow-up with this.

Chairperson Ruiz adjourned meeting at 8:40 p.m.

City of Brentwood Arts Commission
35 Oak Street,
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5444
Fax (925) 516-5445