Pelham mayor explains proposed arts council, invites residents to comment at public hearing


Editor’s note: This letter was provided by Village of Pelham Mayor Chance Mullen.

Join Us! Public Hearing for the VOP Council on the Arts

I hope this message finds you well.  As you may have heard, the Village Board of Trustees will be holding a Public Hearing this Tuesday on Local Law 4, to establish the Village of Pelham Council on the Arts. If established, the VOPCA would include 7 volunteers who would spearhead our efforts to promote the public arts locally, secure grants from state and federal arts agencies, and coordinate events and festivals that promote Pelham as an arts-friendly community.

The first responsibility of the VOPCA will be to help manage and program our government access TV channel. Right now, the only content currently viewed on our local TV channel is Village Board meetings. This is a very underutilized public resource, and with a little creativity, it could be leveraged to provide residents with opportunities to broadcast their content. It could provide opportunities for our youth to hone their production skills, local artists and organizations to showcase their programs to the broader community, and give us all a new and engaging way to learn more about what’s happening in Pelham – especially important for our residents who may be less inclined to use social media.

The second responsibility will be curating art in our public spaces to support the vibrancy of our downtown and provide forums that can be utilized by residents for self-expression. In addition to its value as an economic driver, art can be a powerful vehicle for community dialogue and a critical tool for raising social consciousness. By elevating the voices that often go unheard in society, art challenges the dominant narratives that shape our daily lives. Public Art could include paintings and sculptures placed throughout the park, photography exhibits in our soon-to-be-built municipal center, and even book or poetry readings or other programs grounded in the humanities.

I believe strongly that art, in all its various forms, is fundamental to any community and should be embraced by ours. I also think this is the perfect time to take this on. The Pelham Art Center is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Next year, the Picture House will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary. While development in our downtown is essential to revitalizing our local economy, no sustainable progress will ever be made without leveraging the inherent power of our local arts institutions. I hope this council can make it clear to every community in Westchester that for art-lovers, Pelham is the place to be.

If you would like to volunteer to serve on the Village of Pelham Council on the Arts, you can submit your information on the Village’s website, by clicking here. You should know in advance that there is still a significant amount of work needed to get this up and running. The first order of business for the council will be to draft operating guidelines for adjudicating individual works of art and managing our local TV channel equitably. I have asked Trustee Carpenter and Trustee Hill-Ries to join me in meeting with all potential applicants to make a recommendation to the Village Board about who to appoint. My hope, which I’ve communicated to them, is that the members of the council all have a background in the professional arts, and most importantly, that the committee reflects the rich diversity of our Village.

My sincerest thanks to Trustee Mike Carpenter who has spent the last few months researching and drafting the local law that we’ll be discussing Tuesday night. Mike reviewed best practices of local arts agencies in cities and towns throughout the country while incorporating feedback from various residents in the community, members of the Board, and the volunteer members of the Steering Committee on Policing and Inclusion. Thank you, Mike, for taking on such an important initiative.

Have a great weekend, Pelham. I hope to see you on Tuesday night.



The Public Hearing will take place on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, starting at 7:30 PM.

You can join the meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone: 
You can also dial into the meeting using your phone:
Phone Number:  +1 (571) 317-3122
Access Code:     989-638-765