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Sunday, July 20, 2008


WHITE ROCK City Council Performance Flops Again!
What is with these people? It appears they are "on another planet" (instead of just an "another island"!) Everyone can see it, except them.

This following link bellow is a reader's response that expands on what our Mayor Judy had timidly and fleetingly supported/mentioned during the "funding request expedition". http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/peacearchnews/opinion/letters/25597854.html

In this City of White Rock, whose "natural resources" are its artists, they are literally peeing on us.

I believe that, while the Wyland - Whaling wall, is on private property (the one that refused to sell out to big development and its foundation got damaged in the process... eh?) it is still, a piece of public art and as such the City has "some" responsibility. At a minimum to contribute to its maintenance.
But, as the cameras stopped rolling and a week went by, councillor Matt Todd (is it me - or is he running the city by himself?) stated to our pres that the city will not be participating - when council has clearly instructed staff through a motion to look into funds and ways to assist... So, there we go!

Not quiet in the same breath, but on the same topic of public art, I just heard through the grapevine (rumor, malicious gossip?) that our "Mermaids at Play" mural down at the East beach is slated to be "whited out" - as in "painted over" - obliterated, vanished....

Which, would explain why my letter of last September and a subsequent copy earlier this year never got as much as an acknowledgement. Copy bellow.

Is this true? Who is/are really behind this decisions? In these committees? Did "They" knew it along?

(While not a masterpiece :), it is from our community to our community. We can call it "folk" art. It brought smiles and joy to thousands of locals and tourists alike. The mermaids have gone with little girls and boys to far away places... in souvenir pics and in their imagination...)

~ * 11:30PM: I went by earlier this evening to bid farewell ... after receiving confirmation from fellow artist Nicci Battilana whom had spoken with councillor Todd - it will be painted over as it has always been the plan... hmmm!? Well... it would have been nice to be informed. Which brings me to: Why bother with the paint - we could have used chalk!

There was absolutely no need to proceed in this manner - to paint another mural over it - given the fact this building has still three white walls!
The argument presented this past week - at this late date - is a reflection of behind the scenes shenanigans. If the rules of engagement would of been layed out from the beginning to all participants, this would not have come as a surprise, but flip-flopping and delaying tactics prevailed all along making it the more "suspect". You people: It stinks!
Let's paint it over every year game... Control, control, control...

I will definitely survive this highly ignorantly handled episode, as I have already gotten over it. What I ask myself at this point is not so much what a politician and his "runner-ups" were thinking but, what kind of rationalization did the couple of "professional" artists use to make this action alright?

Matt Todd, Chair, 58th Annual Festival of the Sea Committee
Judy Forester, Mayor of White Rock
City of White Rock Councilors

August 27, 2007

Re: “Mermaids at Play” – East Beach Mural

Dear Judy, Matt and Council Members:

It is with a mixture of joy, satisfaction, pride and gratefulness for the opportunity presented to me as an artist to contribute to our community in such endearing, playful and fulfilling manner that I turn to you with an unavoidable follow up …

My participation in the above project came about at the eleventh hour, only knowing there was a proposal, but not quiet being privy to any details or other particulars, not understanding the background of same either.

It would take me pages to detail the consistent and wonderful public response I was recipient and witness of, as I can say without hesitation that for the entire week they (spanning all ages and equally both genders) were stopping by and commenting at an average of 10 minute intervals – non stop. (Or, otherwise hollering “looking good” while driving by...).
Sheer delight for the creative soul.

But, I am sure some of it must have already reached your ears by now… Thus, greatly encouraged by such heart felt response, I feel compelled to request from you to open wide the creative flood gates of our City.

As you all know, White Rock can easily boast of having an artist behind every shrub, yet, unbelievably, there is little or no evidence to that effect!

I beg of you to nurture, encourage and support the vast talent pool of our greatest, unexploited natural resource – White Rock’s Resident Artists.

Our wonderful (potential destination) town has many a façade, side and ugly bare retaining cement walls; public, as well as private delicious nooks and crannies to be filled with joyous colourful images – let your imagination freely flow, without worries…

As a result, we will have a happier community and a most certain increase in our local economic revenue across the board as all areas are included in this vision – From Marine Drive around and up Johnston Road, Uptown as well other “unexpected” places that are now being increasingly covered with undesirable, offending graffiti …

Allow me to be the first artist to openly volunteer setting up/consulting with Council in this venture/adventure, as I am sure other working/hands-on artists will sure follow with interest and commitment to translate a common goal/vision into images.
None better than such group to be involved in the unfolding of a unique, long lasting and on-going beautification/economic plan.

A healthy city is one that acknowledges and actively embraces its rich diversity, making good use of it’s gifts and those that offer to contribute to the common well being to the best of their abilities.

The opportunity to proceed with an open and fair call, involving all those whom desire to participate
is here and now. Do not delay.

Anticipating great things to come,

Alicia M. Balogh Ballard

Kindly, if not already planned for, coat mural with some sort (?) of UV and anti-graffiti protection, sooner than later…
Thank you.

Copy to:
Editor, Peace Arch News -
they kindly published it...
Arts Editor, Peace Arch News
Editor, the NOW

As stated above, never got a response, not even an acknowledgement, although letters were originally hand delivered to City Hall and subsequently earlier this year I went by personally, at which time the Mayor's secretary herself asked me to email it to her.
This shows me, that for some reason these matters are taken as personal choice. This City must take time to introduce a protocol to follow when it is addressed. This is not a little unsophisticated sleepy town by any long shot. Or, is it? In any event, small mindedness has no room in it anymore!

:) :) :)

Anyone can bully their way around;
Vision requires
a fertile imagination,
a playful mind and
an open, passionate heart... .


Anne-Marie said...

Hi Alicia,
I'm sorry to hear that such stupid decisions are being made. I for one like the colour of murals in city spaces.


Rauf said...

Dearest Alicia, politicians have their self interest first. In my city, statues of politicians get erected nearly every day. The city is littered with poorly made statues. People have to fight to preserve heritage buildings, ugly shopping complexes are coming up everywhere, no importance to art is given anywhere.
Hope you are doing fine and enjoying summer Alicia
lots of love and hugs

Alicia M B Ballard said...

Hello dear Anne-Marie

We are in desperate need of some compassionate and intelligent municipal official body.

I do hope this time around we manage to vote into office "the right people" :)

Ah.... and I said good-bye to politics years ago!!!

Raufie dearest

Same sort all over the world ...

Yet I have known a few that we truly man of honesty and integrity.
I suppose that is why I hold some hope.
Yet, realistically thinking I have a hard time trusting any of them.

You know, it is at all possible there are some honest and sincere ones but as a famous TV Doc says - not verbatim - it not only has to be done right, it has to appear right!

Good to hear you are "all settled"
and hopefully keeping well and, adjusting - lol

Missed you!
Lots of love and hugs back to you.

Matt Todd said...

On the Whaling Wall:
It is a privately owned building. Why should tax dollars be used for renovations and maintenance of a private building? Dr. Jackson purchased it only a few years ago. In so doing, he assumed responsibility for that mural and the wall it is on. "Public art" does automatically mean "taxpayer funded".

On the Spirit of the Sea Festival murals:
It was never the intention of the Festival to leave the murals permanently. The whole point of the program was to have the murals change each year.

The inspiration came from the fence uptown. Twice each year it was completely repainted. It was fun for artists to share their work in such a high profile place, and for locals to see new murals every few months. I participated in painting the fence twice.

In early 2007, I encouraged Joanna Bevis to write the proposal for a festival mural program. The first draft was received March 31 2007. She recruited the artists to paint the murals. I assumed she told everyone that the murals would be repainted each year.

Why not just paint one of the other walls? The answer to that question is quite obvious to anyone standing at the building. The cement blocks in the front have holes in them that would be incredibly difficult to work with, the other side is very small and has a bank machine and things in the way, and the back can't hardly be seen because of the shrubs and tracks.

It was certainly no secret that the murals would be painted over. The festival ads last week promoted the fact that the murals would be replaced.

Your reaction and diatribe is an example of why red tape and bureaucracy exists. In order to prevent anyone else from misunderstanding or not listening to the program details, we will have all future artists sign an form acknowledging that they were informed that the mural only has a one-year life span. Congratulations, you've just created more work for the volunteers that produce the festival.

Alicia M B Ballard said...

Mr Todd:

Interesting how you managed to find me!
Welcome to my blog.

Would you, and/or White Rock’s City Council had taken the time to respectfully respond, even politely acknowledge my letter - as per copy posted – which, I personally delivered and followed up again with new copy earlier this year, neither one of us would find ourselves in this experience.

Your negligence is unacceptable, your indifference cutting.
My reaction is justified even if you find yourself needing to qualify and belittle it.

All I knew about was, on the Panel Or Wall dilemma, and trust me; I followed up on it to the best of my ability, even talking to the City Hall reporter at the time to have some clear understanding. There was no clear-cut answer. No secret? Publicly, there wasn’t/isn’t any specific information to be found.

Mr. Todd, I am not a child, I have been around a little longer than you and believe it or not, I had a life before moving to White Rock – a very rich and interesting life.
I could say that I have lived three lifetimes compared to the average person, and while I am learning new things everyday – there is “little new” in this world when it comes to human nature.

Life could have been more productive and pleasant would have this evolved in a more “civilized”, open and cordial manner, perhaps, even over a cup of coffee… A hurried, scribbled note…?

“Your reaction and diatribe is an example of why red tape and bureaucracy exists.” I will not comment on this one either.

No need to explain about “Public Art”, it is self-explanatory.
Furthermore, I had the opportunity to watch the entire meeting on the tele :)

I will thank you though, for taking the time to explain, even if at this late hour and under such disagreeable circumstances. I did feel the weight lift.

Last but not least, this is my blog, my soapbox.
I write as I feel and as I need.

All the best.

“The inspiration came from the fence uptown. Twice each year it was completely repainted. It was fun for artists to share their work in such a high profile place, and for locals to see new murals every few months. I participated in painting the fence twice.”

A wall is not a fence.
Where are all the artists that shared in the fun?
How can some other artist participate, be part of the planning?
Why not have them provide a sketch and have “some more permanent fun”?

Maybe, another large fence could be found around town and the process repeated… Continue with the tradition?

Margie said...

Dear Alicia
Such a terrible shame that such a beautiful mural will be painted over.
Sorry to know about this!