An agenda item popped up for Monday night to spend $40K of (hotel-motel tax) with Urban Catalyst Lab to design the concept of Two "Gateway markers" State Bridge Rd.
We quickly looked up the artist and posted some of the work on our FB page. Fury and outrage over what was proposed and with no notice, no information or input.
According to staff documents "The CVB Board continues to recommend allocating the full balance of collected funds (budgeted at $114,647). " This would be for the installation.
The entire gateway marker discussion was tabled with the request by Council that The City Manager come up with a better process.
As the City Council had to spend the $40K on something...
5 of the 7 Council voted to allocate the $40K toward the greenway trail initiative.
Councilman Lenny Zaprowski & Mayor Bodker were the No Votes.
Mayor Bodker had this to say about the debacle and his desire for future gateway markers and public art for Johns Creek...
Source: City of Johns Creek & Urban Catalyst Lab.
<p><a href="https://www.johnscreekpost.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">More JCP posts here...</a></p> <h2>Note to the Artist</h2> <p>We do want to say this about the art and artist. Everything has a purpose and place. Although the general consensus is "Urban Catalyst Lab" is not right fit for Gateway Marker signage for Johns Creek, that doesn't mean your art doesn't have a place or space somewhere else in the community. We value your contributions as a member of society.
Why do Bodker and his buddy Zaprowski think we're an urban community? We're not. Bodker has been on a power trip since 2006 that is antithetical with why we wanted to incorporate.
Hello Bodker! We are not an urban community and voted for incorporating to keep urbanism out of our area. Your power trip is destroying what the citizens wanted with incorporation. Zaprowski - you're no better. Term limits!
As a resident of Johns Creek since its inception and Chair of the Johns Creek Convention and Visitors Bureau, I am beyond disappointed at the misinformation represented in this post. The gateway signage discussion ultimately initiated from an expert study performed in the last two years and paid for by the JC Convention and Visitors Bureau (JCCVB). The JCCVB budget derives from hotel/motel tax governed by Georgia State Law and collected by the City of Johns Creek specifically to promote the city to visitors (business and leisure). These funds are mandated by law to pass to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A portion of those funds collected (additional funds due to the early payoff of the World Congress Center) are allocated by Georgia State Law as tourism product development funds. While the operating budget of the JCCVB is solely managed by the JC CVB Board of Directors (JCCVB is a separate legal entity), the tourism product development funds require strategic recommendations to the JC City Council for final approval.
The gateway signage was one of the fundamental voids identified in the CVB's recent study. The JC CVB Board of Directors included them in the strategic planning to fill the void starting with only two primary gateways into Johns Creek.
The collaborative process of determining a design has not even begun. The community will be a part of that unique approach in determining what design actually represents the City of Johns Creek. Bringing the community together to be a part of this design process is one of the most exciting opportunities. William Massey is one of the few sculpture artists that insists on this approach with all of his community art. His art reflects exactly what the community told him they wanted and this is why it is all different. So the art portrayed above in this post is a representation of what each community requested of him.
William already has insight into Johns Creek since he helped facilitate the recent Johns Creek tunnel project near McGinnis Ferry. He was instrumental in serving as a liaison to the international artist, Hanif Kureshi, as he listened to the Johns Creek art and history community in determining what the tunnel should represent. Urban Catalyst is an organization that works with cities around the globe on utilizing representative art. Urban Catalyst facilitated the tunnel project as well with the JC CVB and were key in assisting to identify Kureshi. William Massey utilizes the Urban Catalyst team as a facilitator for the community engagement component of his approach since they understand his philosophy and appreciation for full community collaboration on art.
The same broader collaborative process will be followed on the gateway signage. There are no designs to show because designs come at the end of the process once William has an opportunity to listen to the community. He will then come back with several designs based on what he has heard and let the community come together to review and provide feedback. Only after a design has been determined will he actually execute on the development of the functional branded gateway signage. The Johns Creek branding will be incorporated in the functional signage for consistency. I appreciate the opportunity to share factual information on this exciting project to be funded through the JC CVB if fully approved. Bringing the community together on this project allows us an opportunity to break down silos and land on a design that represents our extraordinary city. Lynda Lee Smith, Chair, Johns Creek Convention and Visitors Bureau
Total misinformation is being reported here and misleading the residents of Johns Creek.
And the madness continues!
Paying a firm $40,000 just to gather 'ideas' from the community seems excessive. I don't happen to like the examples of the artists work. When evaluating the hiring of an artist one usually reviews their portfolio. How many people in the community were involved in choosing this particular artist? What others were considered? Who made the final decision of Mr. Massey. Why was the agenda item so last minute?
Seems there is a LOT of information that is not being shared on the subject.
Dear Lynda Lee Smith,
I want to thank you for your time and effort to help promote Johns Creek as a place to visit. I assume your position is a volunteer effort, so even more reason to thank you.
Art is subjective to the eye of the individual viewing it. Likewise the responses you have read here are based on peoples ability to gather information about events happening within the COJC from the local government or the CVB from the COJC agenda postings.
While these are condensed versions of what is happening one can only attempt to fill in the blanks.
As a resident who I would consider very involved in local COJC government in attendance of City Council Meetings, Townhalls, Zoning Meetings more than most people. I have made an observation over the 13 years. Like yourself I have been involved from the beginning of City formation. The habit I have seen from the Mayor who has been here from the beginning too is having a "blindspot" to what is around you. So what am I talking about?
From my subjective viewpoint we live in a wonderful community that is loaded with many different cultures, backgrounds, traditions but also TALENTS. From music, singing, playing instruments, writing music. This also applies to the Arts, from an Art Center, but also going to the High School Arts Dept., the Middle School Arts programs are rich with talent from parents who genetically and educationally pass this on to the next generation.
So to answer my question let me provide you an example that most of us can understand.
If you are a Rabbi, Pastor, Priest, Imam or any leader of a congregation at all, something you will find important to establish a growing and thriving congregation......allowing a sense of OWNERSHIP. Let the various members of this congregation become involved and share some of there talents as you take the journey TOGETHER.
What we are talking about, in my subjective opinion, is taping the rich talent that exists within the community enabling a sense of OWNERSHIP in regards to anything that the COJC or the CVB is attempting to do. When you travel to someplace if you want to experience what that community is like, having projects that are generated by the community at large will give you that experience.......no?
While it may be easier for the CVB to throw $40,000 to an artist in a consultant fee to develop a plan. Why not enlist the large and growing group of retired, artists and art lovers within COJC to work in a joint effort with our High Schools and Middle Schools to create a buzz and truly grassroots effort to create something from within our own city?
As a parent of a former SCAD student who also went to Northview HS I was blessed to witness the incredible talents of our children and meet their parents. Yes, this would take a greater effort (not financial) to organize such an event. Think about the reward from such a thing......how so? We have sent many, many students from this area to SCAD and other colleges with comprehensive Art Programs, so helping promote these rising high school students gain scholarships and acceptance into better schools is bad? Promoting digitally on the internet and the airwaves how this community helps foster this artistic talent and proudly displays all this with gateways created here. Showing how we have such a wonderful school system, the jewel we all love and moved here for....why not do this?
I commute to Buckhead everyday so I do remember the "Cowparade Atlanta" back in 2003.
I don't believe the City of Johns Creek seeks to become the next Buckhead. The International Art themes are nice but why not choose a different approach, one that celebrates the people who live here and let their light shine. Stop throwing around $40,000 for the ease of convenience, but go to the people who are the lifeblood of what the CVB is trying to promote. Discover what it is that makes the City of Johns Creek so unique, and bring the Mayor with you so you can repair his "blindspot too."
Isn't Johns Creek supposed to be "unique"?????
If we really need to copy every other community ( Sandy Spring's turtles, Alpharetta's scarecrows, etc) and have artwork erected, let's do this. Let's have a "cash prize" contest for any JC artist, young or old....let them design any artwork needed,,,then have the residents of JC vote on a winner(s)....
Or how about nixing the artwork and planting trees (even sculpted trees or shrubs) ...after all, many have been cut down...especially around the lovely billboards. :-P
As a resident and someone who is a collector of art, I appreciate the local talent in Johns Creek. Functional sculpture art is not an expertise of every artist. William Massey requires community engagement before he even gets to the design phase. We are not paying consultants. It is a package which includes facilitating the community meetings. In addition, the Johns Creek CVB exists to market the city. Utilizing artist with name recognition within other markets or cities creates an opportunity to attract visitors who follow that artist work. Hence, we selected Hanif Kureshi as the primary artist for the tunnel. He is well known in Asia but had never done work in the USA. Assets that contribute to the marketing efforts and differentiate Johns Creek from our neighbors allows the CVB to attract new visitors which is ultimately our purpose. The CVB Board serves as volunteers contributing our expertise and knowledge. We do so as residents so we take into account all perspectives as we strive to utilize a small budget and develop tangible results that enhance our city. Lynda Lee Smith, Chair, JC CVB
I wonder if the Johns Creek CVB had to work hard to raise this money on their own if this would be the way they would have wanted to spend it. Who among us has ever traveled to a city because of it's gateway markers? Or to see a pedestrian tunnel's artwork?
This money would be better spent enhancing some of the few historical sites we actually do have in Johns Creek, such as the Macedonia Cemetery. Most residents do not even know the historical significance of this site.
No community should have to hire someone to come into Johns Creek to create a design as to what we represent. Not to ourselves and not to those from outside of Johns Creek. Instead what w represent should be an experience that is genuine and authentically experienced by both those that live hear and those that visit.
No gateway marker is going to capture that at any price.