Public Arts Committee, Town Agendas & Minutes|

Town of Chestertown
Public Arts Committee (PAC) Minutes (rev. 031924)
February 13, 2024, 4:00 p.m., in Town Hall


Ben Tilghman (Chair)
Dave Hegland (Vice Chair)
Marianne Sade (Secretary)
Carla Massoni
Elizabeth Healy
Kate Dowd
Yuh Okano
Robert Ortiz

Hester Sachse, (ex-officio member, Kent Cultural Alliance, Chestertown A&E District)

Guests: Tom Herz, Ward 2 Councilperson and six community members


  1. Minutes from the January 9, 2024 were approved.
  2. Comments and Questions from Community Members:  Six community members attended in regard to the decision to place the sculpture, “Head” at the corner of Fountain Park. Karen Mack stated that while she was in support of the sculptures in town she was concerned that placement of this piece “oversaturated” the park area and asked the committee to reconsider its decision to place it in Fountain Park, while Susan Coomer voiced her support of this location. Then, Liz Peterson and Nancy Balaban voiced their opposition to this location. Ben thanked audience members for their input and invited questions. At the end the Q&A he asked for a motion from the Public Arts Committee to reopen the discussion to consider another location. Bob Ortiz made the motion and it failed to carry. The committee will move ahead with the proposed location, as had been approved by the Chestertown Town Council.
  3. Cancellations and relocation of meetings: Ben introduced a new procedure that if Town Hall is closed the Public Arts Committee would meet via Zoom. Discussion ensued on how to let the public know so they can attend, e.g. by adding a link to the website. Councilperson Herz suggested having the next meeting downstairs in the Council Room which has the ability to record. ACTION ITEM: Ben to investigate how to create a consistent way for town meetings and hosting them.
  4. Financial Statement and funding:  There was no income or funds out to report for the past month. Ben reported that a private donor is considering the level of gift they want to make and he updated the group on his applying for the MSAC Planning Grant for conservation work, e.g. Walter Bailey conservation work honorarium. There could be an early March notification. The Schumann foundation would welcome application for funding for “Woicke’s Owl.”
  5. Comments from Tom Herz, Ward 2 Councilperson: Councilperson Herz thanked the committee for its volunteer work; he gave an introduction to the Chestertown Heritage Trail project (inclusive of historical and environmental story of the land) starting at the Custom House, connecting to Rail to Trail. He suggested the placement of public art could go here with a significant sculpture at beginning and then possible one placed at old waste water treatment building. The project would probably start in spring of 2025. He answered questions from the committee which included discussion of the 2020 Chestertown Unites Against Racism and Custom House projects.
  6. Custom House, Washington College project: Ben reported that the MSAC Planning Grant was submitted by Washington College and they will hear back in mid-March. Ben shared that PAC can go back to the Chestertown Town Council to request funds to donate to their project.
  7. Proposed donation from Paddy Tobey: Ben talked with Mrs. Tobey about the donation process, conservation concerns, and possible suitable places for installation. The sculpture is ~5’ length 2’ high. The town is considering a birding observation perch with simple light walking trails on edge of town that might be a suitable place. Tim O’Brien is the councilperson involved with this project. Discussion followed about whether to take this sort of piece, where it might be stored until it could be installed and better defining  perspectives and guiding principles for accepting community sculptures moving forward. The Chestertown Public Arts Master Plan (10 years old) needs an update. ACTION PLAN: Ben will talk to Mrs. Tobey, since the PAC is not ready to take on this installation presently. If she is willing to store it then the PAC will consider accepting it and placement possibilities.
  8. Woicke Collection Updates:
    1. Sumner Hall Event: Elizabeth met with Barbara Foster and Vanessa Ringgold to set up a April 20 celebration for “The Dance” sculpture, commencing 1:00 p.m. A local dance group and Jodi Bortz’s  music may be possible additions. ACTION ITEM: Dave will update brochure; Invite to committee/friends to work as docents giving tours as part of this, as well as Art Walk’s (the same day) celebration.
    2. Suggestions for Locations for remaining works
      1. “Woicke’s Owl” – Ben: Overlook pavilion ACTION ITEM: Ben will talk to Kees de Mooy about existent paths
      2. “Fully Empowered” – perhaps it can be placed as a temporary placeholder at Starr Center or President’s Garden on Water Street ACTION ITEM: Ben will talk with College President about these locations
      3. “Texas Spiral” Discussion ensued consideration the value and fragility of the work. ACTION ITEM: Ben will talk to others about  the Heritage Trail as a possibility
      4. “The Ladies” Ben suggested on other side of rail trail at High Street. ACTION ITEMS:  Marianne will reach out to Jim Bogden, Chairperson, Chestertown Recreation Commission about their plans for Margot Bailey park and find out their timeline. It was also suggested that she speak with neighbors to get their sense of placing sculptures in Bailey Park. All committee members are to look at possible location of “The Ladies.”
      5. “Tupelo Cloud”  – there are conservation concerns about it; Walter Bailey is coming over this autumn for possible reconstruction of it

Meeting adjured at 6:14 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Marianne L. Sade


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