Letter: Unresolved Community Conflict
To the Editor:
I am writing with the intent to clarify a large misconception that arose after the iBerkshires story related to the Public Arts Commission and the Marshall Street Arnold Printworks Project of 2012 and 2013.
On Feb. 11, I attended the PAC meeting at City Hall as the only resident in the gallery. After much review and deliberation, I was asked where "the artists stood." I informed the Commission that I was representing both William Oberst and myself along with the 500 local residents who have signed the petition for a test area. I then stated that our goal remains to have the commission hear and rule on the application filed in late November of 2018 to test a small area to determine whether the anti-graffiti paint is still viable for restoration.
It was then discussed that no conversation has been held (still) by the immediate players; Mayor Bernard, Joe Thompson, William Oberst and myself. At that point, Vice Chair Kerns suggested that he broker the meeting — to which I agreed. My attendance at the PAC meeting was to keep the application process for restoration moving forward. With multiple changes in the members of the PAC since November (when the application was submitted) I have not received a response nor has a vote come before the commission. The prospect of a meeting with the Mayor, the Director of MoCA and the two artists was the most concrete logical step.
Only one part of a 20-minute long conversation was shared in this article, to allow for the appearance of "new news." The element of an alternate space is not on the table as the article attempted to highlight. The only discussion that still sits in front of the Public Arts Commission, is will they represent the Public? Will they vote to support the residents who have clearly stated their desire for restoration? What happens after a vote, remains to be seen.
It is extremely unfortunate that we await resolution to a community project turned community conflict after almost two years. To the residents and students of North Adams and all those who participated in creating the Arnold Print Works mural, we continue to hold on to what is just and have not succumbed to the powers that be.
King is an art teacher at Greylock School in North Adams who was involved with the pillar art project.