This is letter is in response to The Record’s Aug. 12 editorial, “Insuring privately owned art is the responsibility of artists, not taxpayers.” For people making up their minds about this issue, I’d like to provide some information not reflected in your editorial.
I just became a member of the Langley Arts Commission, but this letter reflects my personal opinion. I was not an arts commission member when the Langley outdoor sculpture program began. So I’ve brought myself up-to-speed by reviewing the original requests for proposals (RFPs) issued by the city and I’ve looked into art loan programs in other cities.
Artists were promised insurance:
The original RFP says “Works of art will be insured by the City of Langley for the 18-month duration of the exhibit.”
City takes a percentage of sales:
The editorial states that if artists are selling their works, then “they’re in business and it’s not the job of taxpayers to pay their bills.” But this argument ignores the fact that Langley is a partner in this “business” because the city receives a 20 percent commission when works on display are sold.
Protect Langley’s legacy:
When I think about whether the city should provide insurance for artworks on public display, the question I ask myself is “What is the desired outcome?” I believe the desired outcome is first, for Langley to keep its word, and second, for Langley to protect its legacy and reputation as a community that cares about and supports art and artists.
Langley’s legacy dates back at least to 1917 when the artist colony Brackenwood was established by Margaret and Peter Camfferman. Art is in the bones of Langley. And all area residents and businesses benefit from the city’s sterling reputation for supporting and nurturing artists and displaying their works. Healthy businesses produce tax dollars and tax dollars support the infrastructure and public and cultural programs we all need and enjoy.
I believe Langley made a promise to artists when it commissioned their works and I’m hoping the wise and able leaders of the city find a way to keep that promise.
JOANN HAMICK QUINTANA