Aug 19, 2019

North Adams Public Arts Commission

February 11, 2019
Meetings & Notices

Public Arts Commission North Adams, Massachusetts

February 11, 2019 | 5:30pm
City Hall, 10 Main Street, Room 202, North Adams Eric Kerns, Vice-Chairperson


1. Call to order

2. Approval of September and October 2018 minutes

3. Election of officers

4. Website maintenance

5. Ordinance revision update/review of General Government Committee meetings

6. Monthly meeting date discussion

7. Other new business

8. Public attendee concerns

9. Member concerns/future agenda items

Meeting Minutes

February 11, 2019

The North Adams Public Arts Commission held a public meeting on February 11, 2019 at the North Adams City Hall, 10 Main Street, Room202, North Adams.

Members Present: Eric Kerns, Vice Chairperson
William Blackmer, Secretary
Cynthia Quiñones
Bryan Sapienza
Sarah Sutro
Derek Parker

Also Present: Christina King
Tammy Daniels
One other member of the public


Vice Chairperson Kerns called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.


Sapienza moved to accept the Public Arts Commission minutes from its August 23, 2018 and October 22, 2018 meetings. Sutro seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.


The February 1, 2019 joint public meeting of the North Adams General Government Committee and North Adams Public Arts Commission was cancelled due to illness on the General Government Committee.
Quiñones advised that she reached out to Councilor Buddington prior to this meeting and he sent her the most recent draft of the revision that has been proposed and she has that on her phone. Unknown on the status of that draft or if it has been approved.
Sapienza advised that the ordinance is on the agenda for tomorrow’s City Council meeting.
Kerns advised it’s not likely approved because the committee has not met since the last time it was on the agenda.
Blackmer advised that since there was a purpose in having the joint meeting with the PAC, the expectation is a new meeting date for the meeting that was cancelled due to illness.
Paul Hopkins is the new chair of the General Government Committee. Kerns advised he will reach out to him tomorrow.


Quiñones advised that with the previous chair’s resignation, the Chair, as well as the Vice Chair and Secretary are up for election. Further advised that due to increased personal and professional commitments since initially being appointed to the PAC, she will be resigning from the PAC so that the time devoted to either is not compromised.
Kerns advocates for tabling the election of officers until further appointments are made. Sapienza agrees that would be a good idea. Kerns further advised that a real difficulty with this commission is no staff city employee support person like every other commission in the city. That staff person provides a connective tissue that helps in providing a through-line as people change in and out of the commission. Sapienza advised that many commissions have a city council liaison.


Generally discussed that the third Monday meeting date, that was approved at a previous meeting, was working for people, minus the holiday conflicts. Kerns to send out a meeting planner with the meeting dates for the rest of the year.


Sapienza advised that the ongoing thing with the pillars has kind of fallen by the wayside. Kerns advised is has not. Quiñones advised she has some emails from people that she was asked to share. They are related to the pillars. Quiñones reads two emails from Vincent Melito mentioning “the illegal paintover of the children’s artwork on the Marshall Street Bridge pillars,” testing of the pillars regarding the anti-graffiti paint over the artwork, interests of the community and artists, and belief that Mr. Kerns should abstain from voting and check with the State Ethics Commission regarding this issue. Kerns advised that Dixon had reached out regarding that when she was the chair. Quiñones advised she remembered it being talked about and resolved as not an issue, but it’s being brought up again. Quiñones continues with an email from Joseph Smith regarding business connections between Mass MoCA and Kerns and believes that he is working against pillar art restoration. Further comments about the pillar art being “illegally destroyed” and how the people of North Adams feel about the issue.
Blackmer asks if that is the last of the emails, and advised that the chair gave a great deal of latitude with the reading of the emails, but there is no agenda item related to them and no debate that can take place without an agenda item. There is nothing currently before us and the emails are repeating issues that have been previously before us. Quiñones confirms that the emails were received after the meeting agenda was posted.
Sutro questions if we have been given this issue to solve by the mayor or the city council, because it feels as though it is an endless loop.
Kerns advised of his understanding that there was a meeting between the sound artists of the Harmonic Bridge and the local artists about doing a new project on another site, as well as a meeting proffered by the O+ Director that the local artists did not show up for. Kerns asks Christina King if that’s correct. King advised there was a meeting, but the scope of the O+ project did not seem comparable, so she and Oberst declined to go. King advised they were previously offered the current Egyptian mural site, but they felt they would be doing the same thing on that mural that they had done to Bruce Odland’s work, and then was done to their mural, so that would not be appropriate. King also advised they sent an application (to the PAC) to consider a test strip of the column paint back in November 2018. Discussion of who has authority to determine what actions can take place on the artwork on the (Marshall St.) columns. Kerns advised it would be counter to the goals and mission of this commission, in his personal opinion, to advocate for the destruction of another artwork. King asks what the commission suggests.
Kerns inquires if they are willing to participate with Bruce Odland to create an artwork in another space. King advises she cannot speak for Bill (Oberst), but she would be willing, if it were a location of equal prominence with the original location and intent. King also mentions removing the paint on the pillars and documenting the work so it can be reproduced, if the anti-graffiti paint layer makes that possible, then painting it back over.

Kerns advocates that in thirty days the PAC brokers a meeting with people who are directly involved in the decision making and creation of the work. And that a decision is made. Sutro advised it would be helpful for King to come up with options within the city of where it could be painted again, should that be the decision. Sapienza advised that a member of the public had suggested to him the idea of panels depicting the artwork being attached to the outside of the bridge as being more visible. Kerns advises he will contact the Mayor, Joe Thompson, etc. for the meeting.


Covered in previous topic.


Kerns advised by next meeting we will transfer the Squarespace account re the PAC website, address PAC email access, set meeting planner for all dates for the rest of the year, and Kerns to put together all principle parties re artwork meeting previously mentioned, which will not be a Public Arts Commission meeting.

Sapienza advised that the children at Johnson School have made some creative work and possibly there could be a temporary display of their work at city hall. The idea of having spaces curated by their teachers was well received.


With no other business to discuss, Kerns moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:18 p.m. Sapienza seconded. All voted in favor. None opposed.

Respectfully submitted,

William Blackmer