College Planning Council starts dialogue about art on campus

College Planning Council starts dialogue about art on campus

David Fletcher, Staff Writer

The College Planning Council, Tuesday, discussed the issues surrounding the acquisition and maintenance of art on campus.

City College has not changed its policy regarding what art is accepted and where it will be placed since 2000.

When asked why this specific issue was currently on the council’s agenda, Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe said “we had some odd things proposed to be given to us.”

Some of the works previously given to the school have been either inappropriate or not desirable for some other reason.

Many City College alumni and members of the community at large want to give donations in the form of art for reasons ranging from a desire to commemorate a deceased loved one to receiving a tax write-off.

Once a work is obtained by the school, there is a number of other factors that need to be addressed so that the pieces stay on campus without difficulty. Some existing installation such as the fountain outside the library have been the subject of controversy over the past few years.

“If we can have something in place we can avoid the negative aftermath,” said Kenley Neufeld, dean of educational programs.

“It’s not just about acceptance,” he added, “ it’s also about where it’s going to go, which affects facilities, and what to do with it when it needs to go.”

Neufeld went on to reference the controversies about the placement of confederate statues on college campuses to lend credence to the argument of having a cohesive protocol in place would clear up prospective challenges in the future.

Council member Josh Murray mentioned City College has a storage facility that has a collection of forgotten artistic offerings that date all the way back to the 1950’s. He also said that for whatever policy is enacted, it’s important that it includes a blueprint to try and distinguish what art is defined as by the school so it can be clear who’s responsible for it. This was considered by the council as another example of the inefficiency exhibited by the current status quo.

Council member and Dean Priscilla Mora stated that whatever department is ultimately given this responsibility should be the “receivers but not arbiters” of what constitutes art. She said having a clear system in place to handle donations that are usually perceived as a positive thing, but only when the right foundation for their acceptance and maintenance are in place.

The council unanimously agreed to continue this dialogue and work towards achieving a permanent solution.