Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/20/1997 08:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 143 - REPEAL ART IN PUBLIC PLACES REQUIREMENT                            
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Standing Committee was HB 143, "An Act relating to the art in                 
 public places requirements for state-owned and state-leased                   
 buildings and facilities."                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES called on Representative Al Vezey, sponsor of HB 143,             
 to present the bill.                                                          
 Number 0793                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated the bill was really very simple.  The             
 co-essence of the bill was Section 3.  The rest of the sections               
 were technical requirements to implement Section 3.  The bill                 
 repealed the requirements in statute for a formula program on how             
 the state funded art in its public buildings, therefore, removing             
 the responsibility from the legislature on how it appropriated                
 state funds.  It was not correct or proper that the legislature               
 tried to shy away from its responsibility to appropriate.  "I think           
 if we want to appropriate money for art that we should make a                 
 deliberate appropriation.  I also think that we should defer to               
 local entities whenever possible as how they should use that money            
 best for their communities.  And a mandate in state statute is not            
 a proper way to do state business."                                           
 Number 0864                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked Representative Vezey if this would only            
 save $34,000?  A figure that was presented to him.                            
 Number 0883                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied the bill repealed the Alaska statute             
 that required 1 percent of the monies appropriated for public                 
 facilities that would go to the procurement of art through the                
 Alaska State Council on the Arts.  If $34,000 was 1 percent of what           
 the state spent on public facilities, then it was correct.                    
 Number 0904                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked Representative Vezey if the fiscal note            
 was zero?  He stated it must cost something to administer this as             
 a portion of the contracts.                                                   
 Number 0925                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied this was the third time that he had              
 introduced this bill.  He had seen numerous different fiscal notes            
 including some zeros.  "I don't see this bill as saving money.  I             
 see it as returning to the legislature the responsibility and the             
 authority of how we appropriate money."  The formula absolved the             
 legislature from its responsibility to appropriate.                           
 Number 0979                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES responded she remembered the rhetoric in opposition to            
 the appropriation for art.  In her piece of legislation three years           
 ago she tried to set up a plan to address deferred maintenance in             
 the state which received the same rhetoric.  She asked                        
 Representative Vezey if the bill made this voluntary?                         
 Number 1027                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied the bill removed the statutory                   
 requirement for the formula.  It left everything else.                        
 CHAIR JAMES commented she just received information on an                     
 elementary school on Eielson Air Force Base and its art work.  She            
 tallied the individual art pieces to $97,000.  She did not remember           
 what the actual cost was for the school.  She asked Representative            
 Vezey if it said "1 percent" or did it say "a percent" for art?               
 Was it arbitrary?  Where did it say 1 percent?                                
 Number 1132                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied in Title 35 AS 35.27.020(c) it said,             
 "at least 1 percent".  There were a lot of questions involved, and            
 HB 143 simply removed the statute to remove all of the questions.             
 He did not know how the statute was interpreted, however.  He also            
 did not know how the legislature could abrogate its responsibility            
 to appropriate because the formula was applied by the                         
 Administration and not by the legislature.                                    
 Number 1173                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES replied then the $97,000 related to a $9,700,000                  
 school.  She asked Representative Vezey when money was asked for a            
 school was its price included at 99 percent plus the 1 percent for            
 art?  In addition, she asked what would the money be spent on if it           
 was not spend on art?                                                         
 Number 1199                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied, "Yes."  A contractor usually added 1            
 percent to its cost-estimate of a project.  The other question did            
 not have an answer.  It was up to the legislature.                            
 Number 1228                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS commented that the state was looking at the            
 deferred maintenance problem.  He asked Representative Vezey if the           
 law in statute also meant that 1 percent of the appropriation for             
 deferred maintenance would have to go to art?                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied, "Yes."                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS asked Representative Vezey if the state                
 would be taking away from its deferred maintenance and putting it             
 into art?                                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied, "Yes."  That was what the formula               
 said now.  It was more complex, however, because a number of public           
 facilities that were not considered as places to put art also had             
 to contribute to the program.                                                 
 Number 1274                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS asked Representative Vezey if the art that             
 was actually put into a building became permanent property of that            
 location or was it moved around?                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied it depended on the appropriation and             
 who it was to.  It belonged to the entity that received the                   
 appropriation and who built the facility.                                     
 Number 1300                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS commented that years ago there was                     
 discussion of putting $40 million dollars into the Homer High                 
 School which related to $400,000 in art that had to go into the               
 facility which would have been a lot of text books.  He thanked               
 Representative Vezey for bringing the bill forward.                           
 Number 1324                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated that one of the things that continued             
 to inspire him to bring the bill forward was the fact that museums            
 were the recipients of a large quantity of valuable art and the art           
 had no place to go.  The art could not be used as the 1 percent for           
 art according to the regulations.                                             
 Number 1358                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied one of the things that inspired him              
 was art.  In addition, the fiscal note from the Department of                 
 Transportation and Public Facilities indicated that the money would           
 go to additional amenities in the building or to higher quality               
 construction.  Furthermore, he did not think that the legislature             
 had abrogated its responsibility of the appropriation process but             
 rather it set up a structure of what it wanted to accomplish.  The            
 bill before the committee was the best example because if the bill            
 passed, it reestablished a change of priority instead of abrogating           
 its responsibility.                                                           
 Number 1437                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES replied she did not know her position on this issue               
 because she could argue both sides.  There had been art in                    
 buildings since the beginning.  The difference was whether or not             
 it should be funded by private sources or it should be taken out of           
 a capital expense.  She would argue for art as a valid thing to               
 have in buildings.  She also agreed with Representative Vezey                 
 having been to the University of Alaska's museum that had a huge              
 amount of fine art that no one got to see.  They did want to built            
 an extension to the museum so that more of it could be put up.  It            
 was also nice to change the art instead of having the same art in             
 place.  In addition, the art in the elementary school on Eielson              
 Air Force Base was being created to go along with who the school              
 was named after.  Therefore, the art would not have been created if           
 the fund had not been there.                                                  
 Number 1578                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied to Representative Hodgins that               
 there was not a mandate that all deferred maintenance receive an              
 art  funding.  It only had to go to public buildings.  Therefore,             
 a building that was not being used by the public would not require            
 a art appropriation.                                                          
 CHAIR JAMES replied the state had a $620 million deferred                     
 maintenance problem at the last count for schools.                            
 Number 1623                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied that Representative Berkowitz was                
 correct in that the formula did not apply to roads and bridges, but           
 it did apply to other infrastructure that the public did not use or           
 occupy, such as sewage treatment plants and prisons.  The cost went           
 back into the formula.                                                        
 Number 1646                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ explained AS 44.27.060 stated that the art           
 requirement was exempt when the building or facility was not                  
 designed for substantial public use which would apply to a sewer              
 Number 1667                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied the statute was interpreted and the              
 way the regulations were written so that there were many public               
 facilities where the art would not be displayed but the cost was              
 allocated, except for roads and bridges.  The one example that he             
 recalled looking at was a sewage treatment plant.                             
 Number 1696                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON explained there was 1 percent for the                    
 Anchorage waste water treatment plant.  The one unintended result             
 of all this was the Performing Art Center in Anchorage.  It was all           
 for art and it had to have 1 percent set aside for art which he               
 felt was an unfortunate restriction and he would have loved to have           
 spent the money on handicapped access, for example.                           
 Number 1833                                                                   
 JOCELYN YOUNG, Curator of Public Art, Anchorage Museum of History             
 and Art, was the first person to testify via teleconference in                
 Anchorage.  There was disinformation and misinformation about this            
 law.  The municipal ordinance followed the state statute.  In                 
 addition, the museum had found that the this was one of the most              
 public processes.  There was at least one or two people from each             
 facility, the architect, community members and members of various             
 commissions within the municipality on the committee.  Therefore,             
 there was ownership of the art for the people living and working in           
 the building on a day-to-day basis.  She had also seen those that             
 were not very excited about this usually embrace it after seeing              
 how their organization could be represented in the public.  She               
 cited the art piece in the Anchorage police headquarter training              
 center became the logo for the department adding a light touch to             
 its serious role.  In addition, the artists in the state receiving            
 the commission did not receive a chunk of money because they had to           
 pay for:  studio rent, contractors, and electricians, for example.            
 The money did not just go to one person.  The rural school did not            
 have a 1 percent commission, they had a 0.5 percent commission.               
 She had also found that the public art throughout the state was               
 considered a museum without walls because it was accessed by those            
 that often did not have a chance to go to a museum.  "It becomes              
 there own public art in their own community or school."                       
 Number 2069                                                                   
 DAVID ROSENTHAL was the next person to testify via teleconference             
 in Cordova.  He was against repealing the 1 percent for art.  He              
 had done some art for the state in the past which was meaningful to           
 him to pass on.  He did not believe that by getting rid of the 1              
 percent for art the legislature would take care of its $600 million           
 in deferred maintenance or provide wheelchair access.  "I don't               
 believe it's going to save any money and it has been a good thing             
 for the state."  It brought the art to people who normally did not            
 get the chance to see it.  In addition, a wide range of art was               
 selected because of the public process.                                       
 Number 2153                                                                   
 SCOTT HAMANN was the next person to testify via teleconference in             
 Kenai.  He supported HB 143.  Art had been in public buildings from           
 the day that they were built and by getting rid of this 1 percent             
 for art did not mean that there would not be art.  It was a                   
 continual process.  However, he did not believe that there should             
 be a blanket 1 percent.  "I think that we need to sit down and look           
 at every building that we build and decide how much money we want             
 to spend on art and go ahead and do that."  The art could come from           
 private individuals or it could be donated.  It was the                       
 responsibility of the legislature to be frugal with state money.              
 The money could be better spent.                                              
 Number 2269                                                                   
 VICTORIA LORD, Director, Ketchikan Arts Council, was the next                 
 person to testify via teleconference in Ketchikan.  She thanked               
 Representative Vezey for bringing us together every year to                   
 reaffirm the importance of the 1 percent for art program in Alaska            
 and for giving us the opportunity to remind the legislators that              
 the program was of value.  She disagreed with Representative James            
 that art just belonged in museums.  Art was all around, it added              
 life and livability to the public spaces.  The residents of the               
 City and Borough of Ketchikan enjoyed fine works of public art and            
 many were here because of the state mandate.  She cited the                   
 airport, pioneers home, public health center, and public schools              
 housed a variety of art work by a variety of artists.  Ketchikan              
 was proud of the work of its artists that had received commissions            
 not only in Ketchikan but throughout the Northwest.  She cited the            
 names of the artists who contributed art to the new buildings that            
 fell under the mandate.  As Director of the Ketchikan Arts Council,           
 she had witnessed the process of selecting the art work.  When it             
 was time to select the art work for the high school the process               
 included the students.                                                        
 Number 2439                                                                   
 EMILY MOORE was the next person to testify via teleconference in              
 Ketchikan.  She was a senior at Ketchikan High School.  The 1                 
 percent for arts funding was very important.  Her freshman year               
 began in a brand new building which was nice, but it represented a            
 sterile bathroom.  The funds from the 1 percent for arts was a good           
 TAPE 97-30, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 0018                                                                   
 MICHAEL OLSON, President, Seward Arts Council, was the next person            
 to testify via teleconference in Seward.  He was also a volunteer             
 member of the arts selection committee for the new ferry.  He                 
 explained the administration cost came from the 1 percent.  And the           
 formula was only calculated from state funds.  He opposed HB 143.             
 In 1975, Alaska took bold steps to recognize the importance of art            
 by developing the 1 percent for art program.  Since that time many            
 other states had followed and looked up to us.  The state of Utah             
 was the most recent to adopt such a program.  It would be ludicrous           
 for the state to drop the ball now.  The 1 percent would not go               
 back to the General Fund because contractors factored in a 5 to 10            
 percent contingency for cost overruns and it was this money that              
 the art work was derived from.  If money was the sole reason for HB
 143, it was a waste of precious time; there was no bang for the               
 buck.  In 1985, he worked on a project where there was a cost                 
 overrun so 1 percent could not go into the art.  Other funds were             
 raised after the fact.                                                        
 Number 0233                                                                   
 ANNIE STOKES was the first person to testify in Juneau.  She also             
 thanked Representative Vezey for bringing up this issue again                 
 because it stimulated public dialogue, and it made people really              
 assess what was important to them.  It was apparent from the                  
 comments from the committee members that there was a great deal of            
 misinformation, confusion, and questions about the bill that no one           
 had the answers to.  She was opposed to HB 143 because it was not             
 in the best interest of the state.  It was premature as was shown             
 through the questions.  In addition, governmental policy was to               
 bring up a problem, to investigate it, and then to act accordingly.           
 She reiterated the bill was premature at this point because there             
 were too many questions.  Moreover, HB 143 denied the individuals             
 that wanted to see their cultures reflected in the public.  It was            
 a public process and those involved had only said positive things             
 statewide for the program.  The artists were selected by the area.            
 It was a competitive process with stringent procedures to go                  
 through.  It also denied the children in the schools who assist               
 with the projects and watch the process.  She cited the art work in           
 Dzantik'l Heeni Middle School in Juneau.  In addition, it also                
 denied the tourists who came to see the land and to buy art.  The             
 figures indicated that art was a viable industry that should be               
 supported by the state just like natural resources.                           
 Number 0485                                                                   
 SHANNON PLANCHON, Grant Administrator, Alaska State Council on the            
 Arts, was the next person to testify in Juneau.  She was also the             
 Percent for Art Coordinator.  She distributed to the committee                
 members a handout titled, "Percent for Art-Samples of Percent for             
 Art Projects From Across the State."  She explained Tim Wilson was            
 not here today because he was travelling.  The council was opposed            
 to the passage of HB 143.  Public art had been commissioned since             
 the antiquities.  "It was one of the important ways that we come to           
 know and identify our cultures, our buildings, and who we are."               
 There were over 100 percent for art programs operating in the                 
 United States:  the federal government, 29 states, and scores of              
 cities.  Anchorage was the only city in Alaska that had a full-time           
 percent for art person.  At the state level the council operated              
 without a direct administrative expense offering technical services           
 to departments that were required to consult with the council per             
 the statute.  In 1986 the Visual Arts Coordinator position was cut            
 from the program.  The council had a strong interest in the 1                 
 percent for art program because it served its constituents and the            
 public.  "We think it's an ideal program, fiscally conservative,              
 while the state's budget is robust.  A small percent of the capital           
 budget is reserved for it and then when times are tough the                   
 projects are cut back."  In addition, art installed became a                  
 permanent part of the building and amortized over the life of the             
 building.  The Art in Public Places Fund was a different pot of               
 money.  It was for buildings that were not used by the public.  The           
 portion that was designated for the art went to the fund to help              
 augment art in the art banks for portable art.  The fund right now            
 was at $34,000.  In conclusion, HB 143 would negatively affect its            
 two constituencies, the public and the artists.  "Public art is               
 public pride."                                                                
 Number 0723                                                                   
 ALAN MUNRO was the next person to testify in Juneau.  He was a                
 practicing artist in Juneau.  He read the following statement into            
 the record:                                                                   
 "Art, as painting and sculpture, has made major contributions to              
 public life and public buildings since the time of the Egyptians,             
 Greeks and Romans.  We continue in that historic tradition to this            
 "Now, there are certain politicians who would say:  `No more!'                
 "What is the reason?  What good purpose could possibly be served by           
 eliminating art from our daily lives?  Is this an anti-art, anti-             
 intellectual movement or is it simply naivete', due to too little             
 opportunity to experience meaningful art.  Perhaps it is purely a             
 financial issue, fueled by contractors who would stand to profit by           
 a little extra money designated for `nice but not necessary' art.             
 "Supporters of the repeal say:  `It is a government give away which           
 merely supports individual artists who can not make it on their               
 own.'  This is a ridiculous argument, since any money left over               
 after materials, hard earned wages and taxes would have to last a             
 very long time between awards.  There is no give away here, just an           
 honest wage in return for talent, professional ability and public             
 enrichment.  We will never know how far Michelangelo would have               
 been able to go without the financial support of the Vatican.  He             
 also had trouble with individuals in control of that funding                  
 source, over 400 years ago.                                                   
 "Be that as it may, there does exist a long established art                   
 selection process that very carefully selects the percent for art             
 recipients.  This ensures that , serious artists, producing quality           
 works of art, are awarded these percent moneys.                               
 "We, of European descent, tent to isolate art from our daily lives            
 whether we profess to appreciate it or not.  Older and wiser                  
 cultures accept art as a given in their daily lives.  Art provides            
 them a dimension of societal well being they would otherwise not              
 have.  Obviously, we have a long way to go before we are as                   
 accepting or as wise.  It is one of the reasons why we are gathered           
 here today.                                                                   
 "Madam chairwoman, I recommend we become more accepting of art.               
 Let us continue on the centuries long journey other have made                 
 before us.  Let us continue this critically important percent for             
 art program.  Let this sadly uninformed and regressive bill die in            
 Number 0906                                                                   
 MIKE ANDERSON was the next person to testify via teleconference in            
 Cordova.  He was a local artist in Cordova amongst the other things           
 he did for his community.  The art created under the percent for              
 art program added a great deal to the buildings.  It also added               
 public pride and warmth.  It also allowed for the preservation of             
 culture and the creation of art that otherwise would not have been            
 created on speculation because of to the size of the art work.                
 "Without these commissions the artists would be relegated to doing            
 small enough things that would fit in a tourist package and heading           
 out of the state."  The work that he did for the percent for art              
 project was specifically designed in relation to the durability and           
 function of the building.  Furthermore, he also had worked in the             
 field of construction.  "I know that this will not save 1 percent."           
 Money going into the windows, for example, was far more than 1                
 percent.  The 1 percent of the 10 percent contingency for bidding             
 errors and necessary changes was eaten up in no time in the                   
 construction of a building.  "I don't think we're going to see any            
 change in this.  We might see a little bit more spendy tile on the            
 floor.  We might see spendier doors, maybe slightly more glass.  We           
 won't hardly see it at all in the buildings."  In addition, the 1             
 percent would not go back to the legislature.  "You're not going to           
 get the warmth of putting artists out of business.  The artists               
 that are already doing this are artists that are going to make it             
 regardless of whether they're getting a percent for art or not."              
 Number 1076                                                                   
 JAMES EVENSON was the next person to testify via teleconference in            
 Kenai.  He called HB 143 a bad bill because there was no better               
 investment than money spent on art.  The program was not welfare              
 for artists, it was not just a matter of putting pretty pictures on           
 the wall.  It was a statement by the government that the art was              
 important for the lives of the citizens.  Everything that was made            
 by the hands of man had an artistic decision.  He cited cars,                 
 tools, and houses as examples.  "Art is part of the fabric of our             
 daily lives.  It's just as much so as science or even the oil                 
 industry."  Therefore, to eliminate the percent for art program               
 meant diminishing the quality of life for our people in the schools           
 and public buildings.  He suggested to continue to try to improve             
 the program for more involvement.  "Please do not eliminate this              
 Number 1178                                                                   
 CARL KRONBERG was the next person to testify via teleconference in            
 Ketchikan.  The art in public requirement was an important and                
 positive program for the Ketchikan community.  The most recent                
 example was the placement of art in the Ketchikan High School.  The           
 school had been recently rebuilt and the art requirement made it a            
 more cheerful place for the teachers and the students creating a              
 better educational environment.  The art requirement was also a               
 valuable public partnership for very little money creating economic           
 benefits for local communities in tourism, for example.                       
 Number 1267                                                                   
 CAROL BRYNER was the next person to testify via teleconference in             
 Anchorage.  She was an artist and a volunteer at the museum as well           
 as having served on juries for the public art program in Anchorage.           
 She travelled quite a bit and looked at how communities showed                
 itself in its art.  There was a big difference between Seattle,               
 Washington; and Taunton, Massachusetts for example.  Last year at             
 this time she was in Italy where there were lines three hour long             
 to see art, of which, a lot of it was public art.  The bill was a             
 shortsighted way to look at the future and what we would leave to             
 our children and grandchildren.  "The art that we have around us is           
 incredibly important.  If you look around you and see nothing but             
 new roads and new bathrooms; it doesn't say much about our                    
 culture."  She was opposed to HB 143.                                         
 Number 1353                                                                   
 SYBIL DAVIS was the next person to testify in Juneau.  She had                
 lived in Juneau for a long time.  She was also a parent and a                 
 person who had been actively involved in the arts and who                     
 appreciated aesthetics.  She cited a story when she was seasick on            
 a missionary trip and the skipper suggested that she focus on the             
 horizon to help her seasickness.  She suggested that the committee            
 members focus on the horizon now to realize this was something that           
 would be left long after they were gone.  Art was a positive impact           
 on the environment, it was the culture, it reflected the people,              
 and 1 percent was not much.  If the bill was to pass and the money            
 was rescinded, it would not go into the capital budget, it would              
 not get what the committee members were seeking.  She was opposed             
 to the bill.                                                                  
 Number 1421                                                                   
 LYNETTE TURNER, President, Arts for a Healthy Alaska (AHA), was the           
 next person to testify in Juneau.  The AHA was a statewide arts               
 advocacy organization.  The AHA opposed HB 143 because both the               
 public and the artists benefitted greatly from the program.  The              
 schools and universities would be negatively impacted because so              
 many of the projects were done there.  In addition to decreasing              
 the degree of exposure that the youth would have, it would also               
 affect artist's employment.  "To walk through a public building and           
 have the opportunity to be exposed to various types of art can be             
 a rewarding experience and can have a profound affect."  In the               
 words of playwright, Thornton Wilder, "We can only be said to be              
 alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our                   
 treasures."  The arts were a treasure that should be shared.                  
 Please support the 1 percent for art program.                                 
 Number 1480                                                                   
 JENANN KIRCHMEIER was the next person to testify via teleconference           
 in Cordova.  She was a practicing artist in Cordova.  She had not             
 been a part of the program but was opposed to eliminating the                 
 percent for art because she felt it was a form of bankruptcy to               
 look at art in this way when it was such a life enhancing form.               
 She looked forward to buildings going up so that she could see what           
 would happen in them.  In addition, she had seen first hand in the            
 villages how the children responded to the art in their schools.              
 She was opposed to eliminating the 1 percent for art program.                 

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