Marley Park Gallery: Summer Art Series

13243 N. Founders Park Blvd., Surprise, AZ 85379

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

To the Artist in Residence Gallery supporters,

Dear Friends:

     I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your support in taking time to visit the gallery in El Mirage during my tenure there. In these past eighteen months your participation and involvement helped to complete the gallery experience, and I truly enjoyed meeting each and every one of you. Your interest and reactions, questions, smiles, and sometimes tears were heartfelt and powerfully moving for me.  I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to share with you myself and my work as well as some other fabulous local artists and their crafts.

     Unfortunately I will no longer be involved in the arts in El Mirage. The City council has decided to move in another direction and did not renegotiate my residency contract, and instead invited me to remove my property within five days! Stunned and bewildered, I was then locked out of the space with all of my belongings inside. This decision came as a complete surprise to me since promises to re-instate said contract had repeatedly been made. I did not willingly leave the city, as some might tell you… The sudden change of direction, not to mention the way this matter was handled has left others and me with serious questions and concerns about the future of arts in El Mirage. I supported many artists within the city and throughout the state, and it is hurtful to say that it now seems some of these local artists were key in assisting the city with its plans to remove me from the space.
     I was sincerely anticipating making El Mirage my home, and helping to create a new frontier for the arts here, perhaps in doing so also restoring the community’s identity. As you may know, I was welcomed here by the last city council to fill their wishes for an Artist in Residency program. I was approached after having received a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for a photographic body of work about El Mirage. I have been interested in this area and saddened by the plight of the city for quite some time, making it a project and a passion to help it again find a place on the map.
     Changing the stigma this town has garnered over the years proved not to be the most difficult hurdle to overcome, however. It is both disheartening and disappointing that the City did not have the courage to see this idea through, a program they desired and began. It seems a shame, and a complete waste. I sincerely do not know at this point which direction the City is heading. Needless to say, I have my doubts they are interested in having an arts community whatsoever, and have deceived and deprived the citizens of El Mirage the opportunity for culture and growth. Lovers and patrons of the arts everywhere know the importance of this vital human expression; a fact the current administration is either ignorant to or unaware of.
     As for myself, I have plenty of time now to continue to create my own art and support the arts wherever I can. My future is bright and I will land on my feet…. What is the adage, “What doesn't kill you makes you stronger”

      If you would like to express your concerns or have any questions about the way my
residency was handled, or the about the direction of the so-called arts movement in El Mirage, please contact Mayor Lana Mook or City Manager Spencer Isom.

They can be found online at:  Lana Mook      Spensor Isom

     If you are interested in my future showings, or art events with which I will be involved, please let me know and I will put your name and email in my database. Thank you again for your patronage, enthusiasm, input, interest, interaction, assistance, caring and friendship. In other, more simpler words....  Thanks for the Love!

Take care, and I look forward to seeing you soon,
Thomas Schultz

Phone: 623.236.6405,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Letter to the Mayor of El Mirage

Dear Mayor Mook,
It is indeed sad that the members of the City Council in El Mirage
did not have the foresight to comprehend the significance of Thomas Schultz' influence in the arts.
Nor, to take seriously his years of experience. As a result, I think you will find it very hard to attract
the quality of art and artists, Thomas had to offer.
The fact that he provided his services to the City of El Mirage, for so little in return
attests to the quality of his character, the integrity of his work ethic and his love for the arts
 ~ even in the face of unfulfilled promises.
In light of these revelations, many of my fellow artists are grateful 
for not having acted on the false promises of the  'Arts Move El Mirage' only to find
ourselves stranded in a small town, with leaders unable to see the bigger picture. 
You may not understand now what a foolish move it was on your part, to treat Thomas with such disrespect.
'But we,  like elephants ... In the greater Phoenix fine arts community... have a long memory'.
Suffice it to say, you cannot create an art movement without genuine movers and shakers.
The best of luck to you trying in the meantime.
Artist, Kathleen D. Cone
Cone Gallery Arts, Phoenix

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bruce Charles (EMAG) response to city action


I just wanted you to know that I am sad that you lost your space at the El Mirage Art Gallery. I'm very sorry that things did not work out the way you had hoped. It's truly a shame, and a huge loss, for the city of El Mirage. I am totally depressed about this situation and I hope you know that Amanda and I truly supported you in what you were trying to accomplish. I'm sorry things took a weird turn. I had no idea that EMAG would be given such clout with the city so quickly. But, then again, I had no idea you would turn around and do a complete one-eighty on us.

To be honest, I truly don't understand why you chose to reject EMAG (or, in other words, your friends) as an entity that would help you accomplish your goals. We were not formed to steal your thunder or take over your vision. We literally formed in front of your eyes at Anthony and Cristina's house while watching football - with the intention of supporting YOU - and your cause. You were right there when we started this group. In fact, EMAG was - in some way - the culmination of all the shit we had talked about all summer long while we were drinking beers in my driveway. EMAG was formed for YOU, man. All we wanted to do was keep everything going when you said that it looked like the city might shut the doors on you. Don't you remember? Back in January? Watching football? You expressed your fears and concerns to us? Well, we all had your back, Tom. All the way. That is the reason we formed. For YOU. 

For you to suddenly declare you don't want to have anything to do with us was quite fucking insulting. I want you to know that I was personally hurt - and QUITE insulted - by your decision to exclude yourself from EMAG. It was a huge surprise and a large slap in the face for me. I would imagine that Amanda, Anthony and Cristina felt very much the same way. We all had a vision of working together to build something really cool - right here - in El Mirage. I thought you had the same idea. We all did. I really thought we were all on the same page. But I guess not.

I was there when Spencer asked you to join EMAG. AND, believe me, I imagine that him asking you that was quite insulting to YOU. No doubt. ESPECIALLY after all the work you had done by yourself. I totally understand being insulted by that - and feeling like maybe you deserve more credit. You DID. AND you DO. There is no doubt about it. What I don't understand is how you were willing to let everything go. After all the work that had been accomplished - you just walked away. We could still be moving forward, man. That's the truth.

I have no idea what's going to happen now. I'm really sorry that things worked out like this. I really wanted, and still want, to work with you if it's possible. I certainly doesn't feel right without you being involved. It's totally depressing to me.

Again, I'm sorry, Tom. I really am. I hope there are no hard feelings between us.

Hopefully, or just maybe, it's not too late to reconsider everything.

Let's do this man. Is it even possible?

Please let me know where you're coming from.


Just Because You Could

Just Because You Could

You pulled wings off flies
Laughing as they leapt for flight
Only to return to the ground
Hovered over mounds in the summer sun
Singeing ants with a magnifying glass
And smiling as they smoked
Pumped up your pellet gun as hard as you could
And shot song birds
Exhilarating in the explosion of feathers
Tripped Trick-Or-Treaters on Halloween
Reveling as their plastic pumpkins
Sent sweets spilling on the sidewalk
Stuffed freshmen into lockers
Brazenly bullying them
Because you were bigger
Told the plump girl her butt looked big
Cackling as she cried
And ran to hide her tears in the bathroom
Extinguished art in El Mirage
Flexing your political muscles
And flaunting your newfound power
Just because you could

Copyright© by Cameron Milkins - 4/6/2011