If the city is going to create an overarching Public Art Plan, as they decided during budget deliberations in December, they should start putting some money into the maintenance of the carvings produced at the annual Shoreline Arts festival in Willow Point.
That’s the message delivered by Ted and Sharon Arbour in a letter received by council this week.
“If we have to support the arts financially,” the Arbours wrote, “we feel that not enough is being done in regards to the beautiful Shoreline Arts wood carvings, created each and every year.”
The carvings, created each June at Frank James Park at the annual Transformations on the Shore carving competition, end up in front of various businesses and in public areas around the community. The Arbours feel that because the city “takes great pride in this carving each year, preserving this art is common sense and would not be an expensive undertaking, as you could utilize volunteers.”
“We need to recognize these gifts to the city as they truly are. We need to take care of what we already have and will continue to receive each and every year,” the Arbour’s letter continues, asking for the city to set aside some money in future budgets to maintain the works.
Council seemed to agree.
“I think they bring forward a very important insight,” Coun. Colleen Evans said Monday night, asking for staff to review the carving maintenance issue while working on the Public Art Master Plan.
Coun. Larry Samson said he was under the impression that there is already money put aside each year for this, to which general manager of operations Ron Bowles said, “if there is, it’s not a lot and it would only be for art that we own and is on our own property.”
But Coun. Charlie Cornfield said this issue has come up in the past and they were told they weren’t allowed to actually work on the carvings or do any maintainance on them.
“This is not a new issue,” Cornfield said, adding that the last time council was approached with the idea of maintenance of the carvings within the community, the Shoreline Arts Society “was very proprietary about what happened with those carvings” in terms of who could do work on maintaining them.
In the end, the report was ordered by council “to bring us up to speed on where we’re at and maybe bring forward some recommendations on how we can ensure that something that is certainly a unique asset to our community is provided some love,” Mayor Andy Adams said.