Letters to the Editor

Arts commission needs Mary Faber | Federal Way letters, June 5

By Susan Honda, chair, Federal Way Arts Commission

The Federal Way Arts Commission is concerned with the possibility that our staff member, Mary Faber, has been told she will lose her job with the city.

Faber's job as recreation superintendent is a position that is very important in the city as she connects the dots as citizens work together to provide cultural events.

On Jan. 15, 1990, then-Mayor Debra Ertel signed an ordinance that created the arts commission. This commission was established to promote and encourage public programs to further the development and public awareness of the fine and performing arts, and to preserve the cultural heritage in the City of Federal Way.

The commission was also formed to advise the city council and staff on artistic and cultural activities within the city.

The commission was charged with the following responsibilities: Hold regular public meetings; work with schools as well as local, regional and national art organizations; to develop programs that encourage public awareness of the fine and performing arts and the cultural heritage; to explore ways and methods of obtaining funds to promote art projects in the city; to advise the council and staff on the receipt of or purchase of works of art to be placed on city property; to advise and assist the council and staff on artistic and heritage activities in the city; and to submit an annual report to the city council on the state of arts in Federal Way. These activities are only possible if the commission has excellent staff support.

We have that support with Mary Faber.

In 1993, the arts commission created a community cultural plan. Comprehensive research was conducted over a period of several months. Six goals were identified and prioritized in this plan. They included establishing an ongoing link between Federal Way's arts and business communities, strengthening arts education, raise public awareness of art and cultural programs and activities, improve the city's festivals and special events, create and develop cultural facilities, and provide a structure in which this community cultural plan could be implemented.

The arts commission is a very busy and active group of people. We meet the first and third Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. We are involved in quite a few projects that we work on between meetings. We develop and adopt a work plan at a Saturday retreat every November. There are a lot of activities and events that the commission supports and plans.

It is important to us that we use our meeting times effectively. Because we have so many programs going on at the same time, we need to bring information and ideas to these meetings so that during the time between our early morning meetings, we can accomplish our goals and events.

The commissioners come and go. We serve three-year terms and many of us chose to re-apply at the end of the terms. However, we don't have a notebook that tells us what other arts commissions have done over the years since the commission was formed. But we do have Mary Faber. She is able to let us know what was done in the past and what worked and what didn't work. Faber is very capable in guiding us as we try to do more than we can. She helps us to understand the complex way the city works and what is allowed and what isn't.

Mary Faber provides the arts commission with outstanding leadership. She excels at assisting us with our dreams and goals. She is always available to any of us and offers her advice and support as we work to provide cultural enrichment for the residents and visitors of Federal Way.

We ask you to keep her in this position as she has experience and knowledge that are invaluable to the arts commission and the citizens of Federal Way.

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