Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Mural Fund Meeting 12/29/2014

The Mural Fund meeting at the Chamber of Commerce just closed.
Present were:
John Collins (Artists' Alliance)
Diane Shelly (Florida CraftArt)
Denise Deja (Citizen)
Derek Donnelly (Artist)
Frank Strunk (Artist)
Albie Mulcahy (Hair Master)
Jennifer Kosharek (Artist)
Anastacia Schrader (Banker/Regions pop u gallery)
Mr. Schrader (Citizen)
Willi Rudowsky (Wife of Hal Freedman)

I could do minutes of this meeting, but basically here is what happened...

1) It was decided by Diane Shelly, John Collins and Anastacia Schrader that the Indiegogo/Gofund Me money ($1177 presently) should go into an account held by Artists Alliance.

Derek Donnelly pushed the idea that the Woo mural damage requires painting the entire face, which would require a large portion of the money in the fund. I brought up that a restorer naed Carol Dameron viewed that damage in person and said t would be perfectly fixable.

After that it was decided funds will only be reimbursed for materials, not labor (a wise decision).

Any extra money will be kept in a fund for future repairs.

Other agendas pushed were a blackboard wall for short-term murals, which unknown to the three organizational leaders, has already been in existence for a year on the West wall of the Amsterdam bar, owned by John Cullen.

Diane Shelley also pushed the idea of putting term limits on murals, so they could be repainted (without touching on the obvious problems of who gets to paint over whose murals).

Jennifer Kosharek suggested artists act independently of these non-profits and negotiate their own walls with building owners.

 The meeting was barely in control, as Derek Donnelly seethed with open contempt, staring at Jennifer Kosharek and I and saying openly, out of turn, and for no apparent reason: "There are two people here I do not trust." on two or three occasions.

Jenifer Kosharek questioned the way Diane Shelley has handled the mural thing (something other artists have brought up privately, but are afraid to discuss). At that point, the following happened...

Derek Donnelly called Jennifer Kosharek a "Jack Off" clearly, out loud, across the table , and TWICE.

                                  *******While she was holding a 9 month baby!*******

It was an appalling moment, yet the meeting was not called to order (Robert's?). It was closed soon after that.

I published an abbreviated version of this on FB yesterday, and was basically told by several of the participants that I should have not published the sordid event. This, too, is how art works. In board rooms, with people pushing personal agendas and others' by proxy as well. This also includes low points, and casual savagery.

Whitewashing this kind of thing only encourages it. The attitude of several of those present is to sweep this under the rug, and keep it our dirty little secret, enabling the abuser while presenting an unreal image of a perfect, tourist-attracting city.

This is hardly unique to Saint Petersburg. Sadly, it (and worse) happens in every town and city in the world.

A nearly 100 response thread issued on FB...

But Derek Donnelly wasn't done. I received this unsolicited, ghost written, threatening/Bullying text from Derek on my phone...

Being threatened is nothing new for a critic or blogger.. I will gleefully avoid reviewing Derek's work at his request. I have more than enough to do as it is. I feel sorry for those in group shows with him, because they too will not be reviewed (Since I will be asked to leave!) and the gallerists as well.

 This kind of grade-school level bullying and arrogance does nothing to further the image of the arts anywhere. To support such an artist is to encourage this kind of behavior. Is this who we want to be?


*Note that seven days before this meeting, I warned two of the main participants that Mr. Donnelly had been bullying people around regarding this mural repair.

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