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,

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