Local artist and board member of Loveland's Creative Sector Development Commission(CDSC), Sheila Carrasco, brought her complaints to Loveland's City Council Tuesday night regarding what she described as the commission's changing role from one of promoting art to promoting companies that manufacture killer drones.
Before Carrasco could finish her comments that had already exceeded the council's 3 minute rule for public input, Mayor Gutierrez called the meeting into recess unilaterally while standing up and walking out of the council chamber. Most of his colleagues remained seated. Carrasco's final comments that appeared to offend the Mayor was her demand the negotiation documents between the City of Loveland and Cumberland & Western (company that bought former Agilent campus on Taft Ave.) be published in the Loveland Reporter-Herald.
Gutierrez told Carrasco she exceeded her alloted time before interrupting her again to say the council would need to take an immediate recess. Carrasco told Gutierrez he didn't need to take the break and that she would stop talking to which he replied, "Yeah, we do."
Carraso began her commentary to council by saying she was confused about the CSDC's purpose. Carrasco referred to fellow CSDC member, Meg Corwin, who Carrasco stated resigned after Corwin sent a letter saying she didn't know the reason the commission or board exists.
Corwin's name has been circulated within the local Democratic party circles for years as a potential city council candidate in Loveland's Ward 1. Corwin also resigned from the Timnath City Council in July of 2007 unexpectedly. see Ward 1 council race story.
Corwin's name has again resurfaced as a potential candidate to run in Ward 1 later this year as Loveland's Mayor Pro Tem Daryle Klassen is expect not to seek re-election. Corwin may be hard pressed to seek a seat on Loveland's City Council given her history of apparently quiting a prior council position and now city volunteer position.
Carrasco complained CSDC switched its mission back and forth "from week to week" and said nobody knew what they were supposed to be doing. According to Carrasco, the Colorado Creative Institute (CCI) in Denver has an identical material describing the group's mission as did the City of Loveland. Indeed, CCI's website states,
"In July 2010, Colorado’s new Creative Industries Division merged the former Council on the Arts and Art in Public Places program to capitalize on the immense potential for our creative sector to drive economic growth in Colorado."
"The OCSD will create a vital art-related economy in Loveland, Colorado by facilitating the growth, development and retention of the Creative Sector including: artists, businesses and organizations. It will do so by providing a central location for staff and volunteers to develop and implement artists and arts related business retention and attraction strategies while providing training related to the business of art, networking opportunities, promotion of arts events and sales of art which will attract new wealth, artists and arts related businesses and organizations to Loveland."
Carrasco said after discovering the two groups were nearly identical and both founded at the same time, she contacted the CCI for answers. Carrasco called the CCI director and asked which came first; the chicken or the egg? Carrasco reported, "She pretty much told me Loveland is the template for all the other cities." Carrasco later reported she believes Loveland copied the model after CCI in Denver.
Marcie Erion runs Loveland's Office for Creative Sector which pertains to the city's economic development department headed by Betsey Hale. As Erion's influence in city matters has grown beyond just the art community and into an economic development role so have controversies surrounding her style of management and mixing of the resources intended for arts into more business related objectives.
Loveland's art community has its roots in a small businessman whose government contract to manufacture wrenches was going bankrupt after the contract was cancelled in the 1970's. The idle foundry was later used by a Denver artist to caste Loveland's first bronze sculpture. As the foundry was later re purposed the art community in Loveland grew unassisted by the municipal government. Carraso's comments appear to follow a growing frustration in Loveland's art community over an increasing role by the city in their business sector.
See the video of Carrasco's comments and don't forget to make your comments on our BLOG (see link in upper right corner of this page)