Port Townsend Arts Commission is off course, needs fresh start | Letter to the editor

Posted 1/19/22

The Port Townsend Arts Commission is off course. 

As the only city commission with a budget, it has approved four consecutive grants to events organized, in part, by one artist. By one …

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Port Townsend Arts Commission is off course, needs fresh start | Letter to the editor

Posted

The Port Townsend Arts Commission is off course. 

As the only city commission with a budget, it has approved four consecutive grants to events organized, in part, by one artist. By one accounting, 32 percent of its entire grant money for 2021 went to the first three of those events. Far more disturbing, it ignored concerns expressed by former and current commission members when it awarded two grants outside the Arts Commission’s published 2021 grant schedule and two grants for events in Port Ludlow, four cities away from Port Townsend. Perhaps a grant to the artist responsible for “The Surprisingly Artistic Potholes of Port Townsend” series of photographs posted on Nextdoor would have been more appropriate. 

2021 was, without question, a most unusual year, with few grant request submissions due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, volunteer Arts Commission members acted under the questionable guidance that it’s better to use up available funds than let them sit. While in 2021, unrewarded funds would have gone back into the city’s strained budget, the Arts Commission could have easily carried over its unused January 2022 grant money until the next published grant cycle rather than again awarding them to an event in Port Ludlow.

There are many disturbing aspects to current Arts Commission management. Specific concerns include which individual(s) or city entities oversee its actions, who is charged with offering guidance, who has the power to address commission actions as a spokesperson for the city, and a lack of communication between city officials and the chair. More must be done to address these concerns.

We have a new mayor, deputy mayor, and three new city councilmembers. There are currently five vacant positions on the Arts Commission. It is time for a fresh start.

Jason Victor Serinus
Former Chair, Port Townsend Arts Commission
PORT TOWNSEND

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  • PTArtist

    Thank you for the comment about The Surprisingly Artistic Potholes of Port Townsend.

    Anyone curious about this digital photo series can see many of them in my online photo gallery here: http://ptartist.com/artgallery/Piwigo/index.php?/category/33

    Saturday, January 22 Report this