Downtown 
art program 
patrons map 
the future

The dialogue into the future of Art on the Corner started Tuesday with nearly 30 artists, representatives with the Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority, and other interested members of the public gathered to generate ideas about what direction the DDA-managed program should take.

Harry Weiss, executive director of the DDA, said in a June 28 article in The Daily Sentinel that he planned to host a meeting this summer and invite those knowledgeable about the program’s past and present to discuss its future.

That meeting was Tuesday.

“How do we strengthen this program so it’s guided, intentional, deliberate and strategic?” Weiss asked the attendees.

Those gathered, including Art on the Corner founder Dave Davis and Allison Sarmo, former cultural arts coordinator with the city, helped generate multiple ideas that Weiss said he’ll take back to the DDA board of directors to help establish more infrastructure and policy for the program established in 1984.

He said Tuesday’s meeting was the first in what he expects to be a public, ongoing conversation about the program’s future.

“I’ve walked up and down Main Street since I was a little girl,” DDA Board chairwoman Jodi Niernberg told Tuesday’s attendees.  “Sometimes I think you take for granted the things around you. I know that when I have visitors, when they leave, one of the top three things they comment on is our downtown and Art on the Corner. We (the DDA Board) are Realtors, attorneys, developers. We aren’t an artsy bunch. We’ve been the ones running this program solely on our own, so having a partner to help us would be really great. I hope this meeting of great, creative minds will be able to make this project bigger and better. It’s a project worth talking about.”

After Weiss addressed the history of Art on the Corner and DDA’s management of the program, he had attendees break into small groups to discuss specific questions he thinks need answered as the program celebrates its 30th anniversary next year.

Among the questions he asked were:

■ “What changes would elevate the annual exhibit for both participating artists and potential buyers?”

■  “How should the annual exhibit be organized and displayed?”

■ “What are the professional and technical skills needed for the proper management of the collection?”

Among the responses he received were:

■  The DDA needs to hire a young, passionate person with education in administrating public arts interested in marketing the program.

■ Link the installations of temporary Art on the Corner pieces to the annual Art & Jazz Festival.

■ Open a gallery exclusive to the marketing, promotion and sales of Art on the Corner-displaying artists.

■  Build collaborations with Colorado Mesa University’s art department, urban design efforts on North Avenue and Horizon Drive and the city.


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