City Council Changes Course, Arts and Culture Commission Welcomes New Faces

By Andrea Papagianis

At their last regularly scheduled meeting on July 16, the Dana Point City Council unanimously approved two new appointments to the Arts and Culture Commission despite a now former commissioner’s plea to table the decision until further discussions could be had.

“I was honored to be selected as a member of the Arts and Culture Commission and have taken that position very seriously and have worked hundreds if not thousands of hours on my own outside of the work done here,” said Alan Wickstrom, whose term was set to end in June 2015.

The commission was established in 2011 by then-mayor and current Councilman Scott Schoeffel, and has since gone on to advise the council on the city’s growing collection of art in public places, including the Doris Walker Tribute at Heritage Park, and a kelp sculpture expected at Lantern Bay Park this summer.

Two positions on the commission were set to expire this June, and a community application process opened earlier this spring. Similar to a request made earlier this spring with the Planning Commission application process, the City Council requested all members of the body reapply.

At a meeting last month, Councilman Bill Brough recommended the commission meet on an “as needed basis” rather than monthly as they do now.

Additionally, Brough suggested that Schoeffel review the applications submitted and make recommendations to the council. A total of 11 applications were received, Wickstrom was not among the five recommended by Schoeffel for the board.

“I was appointed for four years, two years ago,” Wickstrom said. He took a moment to gather composure and continued, “I want to tell you, I am highly disappointed with this recommendation … I want to see the arts flourish as much as anyone else in this community.”

Wickstrom appealed to the council and asked them to hold off on a decision until more consideration could be taken. He said, without a heads-up he wouldn’t have known about the commission appointments being made, because supporting documentation on the consent calendar item wasn’t published until 6 p.m. when the council meeting began.

Schoeffel defended his recommendations, but expressed remorse that Wickstrom was not among those chosen. He said he was doing what was asked, and highlighted the point that commissioners serve at the “council’s discretion.”

Before approving the endorsed candidates, Councilwoman Lisa Barlett asked Schoeffel if he believed he had chosen wisely, to which he said he did. To stay consistent, Brough said he would accept the recommendations since he was the one who asked for them to be made in the first place.

Current commissioners Nancy Jenkins and Karin Schnell, along with new appointee Janie Raub will serve terms through June 2015, and new commissioner Berenika Schmitz and the returning Judith Nowland, whose first term was set to expire, last month, will serve on the advisory body until June 2017.

Wickstrom and Matthew Miller will not return. Miller, whose term was up last month, withdrew his application for reappointment earlier this summer in protest to proposed changes to the commission he believed would have a negative impact on the body’s charter.

Currently, the Arts and Culture Commission meets the third Wednesday of each month at Dana Point City Hall, Council Chambers, located at 33282 Golden Lantern. The next scheduled meeting with the new members of the advisory body is Wednesday, August 21 at 6 p.m.

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