Friday, March 27, 2009

Art community voices concerns at CC meeting

At Thursday’s Lancaster County Convention Center Board Meeting, several local artists addressed the Board with concerns that the surrounding art community was not properly informed of a potential business opportunity. On February 19, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was published by the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority (LCCCA) for over $78,000 worth of art for Lancaster County Convention Center.

With a tight proposal deadline and limited notification, many artists were left with as little as five days to submit their proposals, while many of the project parameters required unusual dimensions in which most artists could not provide existing material.

One Pequea resident, who recently opened an art gallery in Downtown Lancaster, spoke firmly to the Board regarding his disappointment with the process: “While I applaud the Authority’s interest in supporting the local artists, I must say that the planning and implementation of the release of that information, I believe, was flawed.” While acknowledging the difficulties of coordinating a slew of last-minute work requests, he asserted that this problem, at the very least, exhibited a lack of connection to the local art community—particularly those located Downtown.

Executive Director Kevin Molloy provided some helpful explanation for the rushed proposal deadline: “Originally, the plan by the architects did not have the level of artwork involved with the Convention Center that we are now….We had listened to some public comment, and we flipped that 180 [degree turn around], rather late in the game.”

Molloy also noted that the aforementioned art requests will not likely cover all wall-space that could potentially be fitted with local art. The Board made assurances that, the next time around, there will be a more rigorous effort both to notify the local art community and to allow sufficient time for response.

Although noting the unavoidable complications surrounding the recent RFP, Chairman Art Morris asserted that he is “sorry” that the process didn’t reach as many artists as possible.