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Centennial Art Finalists Presented Friday

The city intends to pay up to $200,000 for a piece of art to represent the city's centennial. You can see the finalists. Details here.

The final contenders to be the artist whose work is commissioned by the city to represent its centennial will be presented Friday during a special public Cultural Arts Commission meeting from 11 a.m. to 12 noon in the Police/Fire Department Conference Room at 400/420 15th Street, according to the city's website. 

The city has authorized payment of up to $200,000 for the piece. City Council will make the final approval of artist and dollar amount spent.

Russ Samuels November 16, 2012 at 06:20 PM
On November 13, the Manhattan Beach Cultural Arts Commission and the Arts in Public Places Committee decided to recommend to the City Council "Light Gate" by Mags Harries and Lajos Heder. The total cost of the project, including for the presentations themselves, is $150,000, and comes from the voter approved 1% commercial development tax Public Art Trust Fund. "Light Gate" will create an exceptional visual experience for locals and visitors all year long with its beautiful design and prismatic effects, and especially during the annual Pier lighting when the Sun will set directly in the center of the piece. Connecting the beach with the library and civic center is to connect the full culture and purpose of Manhattan Beach. Chair of Cultural Arts Commission of Manhattan Beach, Russ Samuels
Gerry O'Connor November 17, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Thanks for posting this info, Russ -- the efforts of both the Cultural Arts Commission and the Arts in Public Places Committee are greatly appreciated. Two quick questions: 1) Why have these important Commission meetings, in both Sept. and Nov. where final selection processes have occurred, been rescheduled from the Commission's regular meeting time of 6PM Tuesday evenings to special Commission meetings occurring at 10 or 11AM on weekdays, when many interested members of the public are unavailable to attend due to employment or other daytime commitments? There's very valid basis for all of our regularly scheduled Council and Commission meetings being on weekday evenings; I'm hoping the unstated reason for these special weekday Commission meetings is also valid. 2) Why is there no specific information readily posted online, either with the Commission agendas or elsewhere on the City website, about any of the finalists' proposals? A City press release did state that "After this meeting, the design panels and 3-dimensional models will be on display at City Hall until the December 4th City Council meeting", but online information regarding the proposals would certainly increase public awareness and, hopefully, participation. Again, the efforts of all involved are greatly appreciated. Thank goodness this important Centennial art selection process is being addressed by a long standing City Commission that operates with well established policies and procedures.
Russ Samuels November 17, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Hi Gerry, Thank you for your comments and questions. There were considerable discussion about the meeting times. Due to the nature of these past few meetings, we knew they would be 6-9 hours longs. The commission wanted to be sure to stay fresh and alert and wanted to ensure public attendance, especially towards the end, right before discussion and vote. We didn't want a meeting to go to midnight and beyond. Therefore, we decided to hold the meetings earlier and open it to public comment multiple times throughout the meeting. We tried to publish this change as well as possible. Our agendas and meeting minutes should be available online. Also, the artist presentation and our discussion and vote were recorded and too available. If you cannot find it, you can reach out to Gina Allen, the CAC manager. The submissions are available for viewing in City Hall.
Gerry O'Connor November 17, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Thanks for the reply, Russ ... but there are some problems. The agendas are posted but include no information on the proposals, and no Cultural Arts Commission meeting minutes have been posted to the Commisssion's page for over six months. (The last posted minutes are for the Commission meeting of May 8, 2012.) Also, when you suggest that the meeting discussion was "recorded", are you referring to meeting minutes (that we may not see for months) or was the meeting videorecorded? (And if video exists, where and when will it be posted?)
Russ Samuels November 17, 2012 at 09:28 PM
These are city staff issues. We (the Commission and committees) have no control of how, what, or when items are made available. That's why I directed you to our manager. Gina can better answer your concerns. The one particular meeting of Artist Presentations was televised and video-recorded. Our CAC Manager, which is a paid employeed position, should be able to get you access.
Gerry O'Connor November 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I see things quite differently, Russ. When such 'city staff issues' so dramatically hamper the public's knowledge of, and ability to participate in the Commission's business, they indeed become Commission issues. As such, I was simply trying to respectfully bring to your attention that, contrary to your original response that the requested information "should be available online", in fact it is not. It's a common trap for those at the dais to presume their laudable efforts are being properly documented and publicly posted, when a simple check of the publicly posted materials too often proves otherwise. As such, it's important that our elected and appointed officials make it a practice to occasionally step aside from their hand-delivered agenda packets and review the level of information available to the general public. The result is often eye opening. I'll close by kindly suggesting that our community would be well served if the Cultural Arts Commission soon agendizes a discussion with its staff liaison on the inclusion of staff reports in its posted agendas and the timely posting of its meeting minutes ... because *that*, sir, is exactly how Commissions can and must gain some reasonable level of control of 'how, what and when items are made available' to those you are appointed to serve.
Russ Samuels November 18, 2012 at 02:00 AM
I do appreciate the comments and passion. Everyone, from the volunteer Commissioners to the City Staff wants the public to be aware of everything that is going on. Your concerns are not without merit, however there is more to the posting of minutes and agendas that I can get into on Patch. However, please attend our special meeting Nov 28 so we can openly discuss this with the Commission and staff.
Gerry O'Connor November 18, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Timely posting of minutes and agendas (with staff reports) certainly isn't rocket science, but does require a culture of accountability, commitment and follow through. (One is left to wonder what you're envisioning, or why you believe it 'more than you can get into on Patch'.) And *what* special meeting of Nov. 28? No such Cultural Arts Commission meeting has been posted or appears on the City calendar. There's certainly no agenda for any such meeting posted this far in advance, so how is it you can now suggest the agenda item I just recommended will indeed be included and thereby available to 'openly discuss with the Commission and staff'? Presuming this will not be another daytime meeting, please also note that there is already a regular Planning Commission meeting on the City Calendar for Nov. 28 at 6:30PM.
Russ Samuels November 18, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Lets meet for coffee Monday and talk this out. I bet this conversation would be more productive in person. You can post your final thoughts about this after we have a chance to talk. How's 9 am at Two Guns Espresso on PCH in MB? Anyone else following this is also invited.
Gerry O'Connor November 18, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Russ, I've expressed my appreciation for the work of our Cultural Arts Commission, and I've endeavored to clearly identify some very specific concerns about how that good work is and isn't being effectively communicated to the general public. At the end of the day it's up to you, as the current Commission chair (as well as others who may be reading), to do as you wish with this input. My hope is for an improved focus, by *all* of our elected and appointed officials, on actively instilling the above-described cultural change at our City Hall -- a cultural change that will ultimately result in increased public trust, engagement and participation ... which, in turn, will foster improved public decision making and an even stronger community. Frankly, I cannot justify scheduling time to meet with you individually to discuss this yet further. The concept is actually quite basic, and certainly germane to any form of public service. Some get it, and some just don't. My hope is that I've at least helped to move you forward in this regard. In the short term, and as I've suggested, the topic of improved public communications ought be placed on the agenda of a regular Cultural Arts Commission meeting. When I see it there, I'll do my best to attend and participate.
Informed MB November 19, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Where did Patch get the $200,000 figure? It's only a fraction of that amount!
Liz Spear (Editor) November 19, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Ah, the ins & outs of keeping up with MB City Council. From a Feb. 2012 staff report, "City Council approved the use of “up to $400,000” from the Public Art Trust fund to be used for the City’s Centennial art project and public art for the new Manhattan Beach library." & the city's Cultural Arts Cultural Arts Commission had recommended $200,000, but, yes, Council finally approved a lesser amount of $150,000.00. Lucky us, eh?!
Russ Samuels December 08, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Actually, approx $2000,000k is being utilized for the library art, plus the Centennial Art $150, = $350k. The final approval of the recommendation CAC and APPC for the Centennial Art was approved on Tuesday. The money comes from the Public Art Trust Fund, not any resident taxpayer money.

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