APP Board call for artists a success

-A A +A
By Jennifer Garcia

Three time’s a charm, or so the old saying goes. But in the case of the Art in Public Places Board’s call for artists, twice might just do the trick.

The board put out a call for artists last fall in the hope of attracting folks that would be interested in having their work etched on the bus shelters that had been constructed. The call for artists, however, was not as successful as the board had hoped because only two proposals were received.

Despite the disappointing turnout, the board still wanted to have some art etched onto the shelters, so another call for artists was put out in March.

This time, the APP board received 8-10 proposals, said Board Liaison Stephani Johnson.

“We had several submittals from Dobbins Studios in Santa Fe,” Johnson said. “They did the etching on the glass at the gallery in the library.”

In addition to the proposals from Dobbins, the board also received proposals from Carol Meine, an artist who works at the library. Johnson said that the submissions from Meine were nature themed.

The board also received two proposals from Richard Wasilewski, Meine’s husband, who is also an artist.

Johnson said Mel Pruitt was another artist who submitted a proposal.

“He does things a little different,” she said of his art. “It’s more modern.”

Michelle Stump from Taos is also interested in having her work featured on the bus shelters. Her submission featured a New Mexico church.

More nature scenes, which include animals was the proposal submitted by Garth Tietjen from White Rock, while Peggy Pendergast submitted another nature-themed proposal.

Johnson said, however, she is not sure whether Pendergast’s art can be used. Pendergast currently serves on the Art in Public Places Board, however, she was not on the board when she submitted her proposal.

“We’re not sure whether she can submit (a proposal),” Johnson said. “I know she can’t have any kind of financial interest, but we may be able to choose her art if we don’t reimburse her.”

Mary Carol Williams, who had a photographic exhibit at the library, also submitted her work for consideration. Her submission consisted of landscapes.

“She’s a great photographer and she’s local,” Johnson said.

Sonshine Art also submitted work for consideration, as did Amy Hoy.

“Hoy’s were very different. She submitted a piece that featured the back of an Indian gentleman with a large cape. She also submitted a picture of Ed Grothus, with a mesa as the background, as well as a picture of a bird that’s very abstract,” Johnson said.

The last proposal was received from Hye Jin-Lee, who lives in Los Alamos.

“Her theme was Native American, for the most part,” Johnson commented. “We got lots of different things. The board would like to do different artwork on each kiosk but we don’t know what the set-up cost will be. I’ve got to get with one of the etchers and see how much that will cost.”

Currently, each board member has taken a packet containing the proposals and are reviewing them at home. From there, they’ll pick their top six choices and will discuss the choices at a special meeting that is yet to be determined.

“From there, we’ll decide a path forward,” Johnson said.

Transportation Manager Nancy Talley said she’s excited about the partnership between the Art in Public Places Board and Atomic City Transit.

“The goal is to make the transit shelters a comfortable place for riders to wait for a bus,” she said. “The shelter art is one way that we can reach this goal. We are also hoping that the art will be a way of keeping the graffiti and trash down to a minimum.”

She said when the county was thinking about starting a transit service, she happened to watch a documentary about transit riding in big cities.

“The most common complaint noted in the documentary was that the shelters and buses were dirty. Therefore, I was determined to have a clean and friendly system where people could feel comfortable riding,” she said.

In addition, she said that a few years back, Santa Fe was experiencing a graffiti problem on their traffic signal cabinets. In an effort to stop the graffiti, they performed an experiment in which they held an art contest. The winners of the contest were allowed to paint their art on the cabinets.

“What they found was that the graffiti on the cabinets was eliminated almost 100 percent. Apparently, there was more respect for the artwork and less temptation to damage the cabinets because the large blank canvas was no longer available. We’re hoping that the artwork on our transit shelters will bring about some additional enjoy enjoyment to the riders and to the public as a whole,” she continued.

Johnson said that she’s very pleased with the proposals that the board received. “We really have a nice selection to choose from. I’m not sure whether the board will narrow it down and then invite someone from the transportation board to look at them, too,” Johnson said.  There’s plenty to choose from and Johnson is hoping that etching on the shelters will start sometime in May, at the latest.