Letter: Art process

To the editor:

The selected artists for the “East Ninth” project are finalized. Yes, 24 applications for a national RFQ with a disbursement fund nearing $400,000.  One phase, the “Try It Out” phase, postponed due to lack of applications. All of this happened within a month, when it should have been a minimum of a three-month call. 

If any of the arts organizations I worked for received that kind of response, the call would have been immediately extended. When I, personally, apply to calls and the deadline gets extended, it means there has not been enough response.  It’s standard. Best practices, if you will. When you have this much money on the table, combined with a troubled start to a large, very visible project, you extend the call deadline.

But why were there so few responses? If you ask those in charge, they will run down a list of the channels: places like Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Maryland Art Place, LinkedIn. Yes, LinkedIn. The list is not impressive.

As someone who has sent out calls for art, this is the list of a very small gallery with a $500 award, not a large, confusing public art RFQ with thousands of dollars at stake. 

The whole thing seems rushed, thrown together, and maybe that’s for a reason. Or maybe the real reluctance behind the low turnout is the stink that has followed this project from day one.

After witnessing this poorly executed and rushed process, I simply want to urge all citizens to monitor this project closely.