Panel to decide on Schaefer statue at harbor

October 23, 2007|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Sun architecture critic

An architect, artists, educators and a licensed engineer will serve on the panel that will decide whether William Donald Schaefer, former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor, gets a statue at the Inner Harbor.

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon nominated this month eight people to serve on the Public Art Commission, a panel established in September to review and approve proposals for art on public property and art commissioned as part of municipal building projects. A ninth member will be appointed by City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake.

The council's Executive Appointments Committee will meet in council chambers in City Hall at 2 p.m. today to consider the mayor's appointees.

"It's going to give us a process for receiving gifts of public art and approving 1 percent for art projects" funded from the budget of a public building project, said Bill Gilmore, executive director of Baltimore's Office of Promotion and the Arts, which will serve as staff to the commission.

After being briefed about a project, the panel will have the authority to approve where it will go and what it will look like, among other issues, Gilmore said.

The panel supercedes Baltimore's old five-member Civic Design Commission, which has been inactive in recent months. As soon as the members are confirmed by the council and sworn in by the mayor, they can begin reviewing proposals, Gilmore said.

One of the first projects on its agenda is a plan to erect a 15-foot-tall statue of Schaefer in the plaza between the two pavilions of Harborplace.

Rodney Carroll is the sculptor. A group headed by First Mariner Bancorp Chairman and Chief Executive Edwin F. Hale Sr. has proposed to donate the statue to the city. Expected to cost $300,000 to $500,000, the statue needs city approval to move ahead because Hale's group wants to place it on public property.

The commission also will be asked to review a proposal to put a Stanley Bleifeld statue called The Lone Sailor on Constellation Dock at the Inner Harbor, and a bust of musician Frank Zappa in a city library branch, according to Gilmore and Kim Domanski, the city's public art coordinator.

The eight mayoral appointees include two Civic Design Commission holdovers: Ken Royster, artist and coordinator of Morgan State University's fine arts department; and Anne Perkins, an attorney, former state legislator and board member of the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Other appointees include Darsie Alexander, senior curator of contemporary art at the Baltimore Museum of Art; architect Charles Brickbauer; and Elford Jackson, a licensed civil and structural engineer.

Also nominated by Dixon are Walter Daly, lead architect and master planner at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Jann Rosen-Queralt, a sculptor and sculpture professor at Maryland Institute College of Art; and designer Alex Castro of Castro/Arts.

All members will serve four-year terms. Meetings will be held at Baltimore's Office of Promotion and the Arts, 7 E. Redwood St. The meeting dates and agenda will be posted at www.promotionandarts.com.

ed.gunts@baltsun.com

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