SD6 - Second Annual Executive Summary Commemorative Commission to Honor the Contributions of the Women of Virginia, March 28, 2012 – December 13, 2012

    Executive Summary:
    Creation and Charge of the Commission

    In 2010, the Virginia General Assembly established a commemorative commission to honor the contributions of the women of Virginia with a monument on the grounds of Capitol Square. The charge of the Commission, as stated in the Joint Resolution was as follows: The Commission shall determine and recommend to the General Assembly an appropriate monument in Capitol Square to commemorate the contributions of the women of Virginia.

    The Commission shall seek private funding for the operation and support of the Commission and the erection of an appropriate monument. The costs of implementation of the Commission, its work, and the compensation and reimbursement of members shall be borne by the Commission from such private funds as it may acquire to cover the costs of its operation and work. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Commission, upon request.

    Members of the Commission

    As designated in the Joint Resolution, the commemorative commission shall consist of a total of 19 members as follows: the Governor of Virginia who shall serve as Chairman thereof, the Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Rules, one member of the Senate appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, the Clerk of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, one member of the House of Delegates at large appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Clerk of the House of Delegates; eight nonlegislative citizen members of whom three members shall be appointed by the Governor, two of whom shall be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and three of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates. The Secretary of Administration or his designee, the Librarian of Virginia or her designee, the Executive Director of the Capitol Square Preservation Council, and the Executive Director of the Virginia Capitol Foundation shall serve ex officio with nonvoting privileges.

    Following the gubernatorial and legislative appointments, the members of the Commission are: Governor Robert F. McDonnell, Speaker of the House Bill Howell, Delegate Jimmie Massie, Clerk of the House G. Paul Nardo, Chair of Senate Rules Ryan McDougle, Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel, Clerk of the Senate Susan Clarke Schaar, Secretary of Administration Lisa M. Hicks-Thomas (ex officio), the Librarian of Virginia Sandra Treadway (ex officio), Executive Director of Virginia Capitol Foundation Alice Lynch (ex officio), gubernatorial appointees Mary Blanton Easterly, Jacqueline Cook Hedblom, and Rita D. McClenny, Speaker of the House of Delegates appointees, Mary Abel-Smith, Kitty Claiborne, and Mary Margaret Whipple; and Senate Joint Rules appointees, Lissy S. Bryan and Em Bowles Locker Alsop.

    Meetings and Significant Actions

    The Women’s Monument Commission (full Commission or Executive Board) met on the following dates in 2012: March 28, May 22, June 14, July 12, August 23, October 18, October 28, December 7, and December 13. The meetings were held at either the General Assembly Building or the Patrick Henry Building and were properly noticed and open to the public in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

    March 28, 2012

    Linda Wettstone, Senior Systems Analyst from the Senate Clerk’s Office presented the newly created Women’s Commission website and the Commission heard testimony from architect Mr. Byron Dickson. He gave a brief history of his work on the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, and gave various suggestions for this project.

    Ms. Alice Lynch gave her subcommittee report on fundraising. She said that over $100,000 has been raised so far and the Capitol Foundation is holding the funds.
    The Commission then discussed the process of issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) and heard from Lissy Bryan, Steve Owens from the Attorney General’s office, and Mr. Bert Jones from the Department of General Services on the legal and technical issues surrounding the process.

    Ms. Judy Heart gave public comment on the great deal of emotion among the public about this monument and how having a clear path laid out will help quell any negative emotions that could come from an unorganized idea.

    May 22, 2012

    Ms. Connie Lapallo, an author with over 17 years' experience concerning the women of 17th century Virginia, shared the history and some experiences of Virginia’s earliest women, from our early women settlers to former First Ladies of Virginia. At the conclusion of her brief explanation of her expertise in the matter, she offered her assistance in gathering information for the commission surrounding these historical aspects of the Commonwealth’s earliest women.

    The Commission took up the business of the formation of 501(c)(3) foundation for fundraising and had a discussion of the duties of the Executive Committee consisting of the following members: Em Bowles Alsop, Lisa Hicks-Thomas (acting on behalf of Gov. McDonnell), Susan C. Schaar, Lissy Bryan, Jacqueline Hedblom, Rita McClenny, and Sen. Mary-Margaret Whipple (appointed by Speaker Howell to fill the vacancy left by Carol Price).

    The Executive Committee having been adopted, the Commission then moved to hearing subcommittee reports. Mrs. Bryan gave her report about the RFP process, and presented a draft RFP that included information about placing an ad with Sculpture magazine’s newsletter, as well as a tentative ad for the Commission to place. She then explained the process and timeline for placing the ad and suggested that October 1st be a submission deadline, having finalists be notified mid-November, and a final selection be announced during Women’s History Month, March 2013.

    Mrs. Alice Lynch gave her report on her fundraising subcommittee, in which she presented a proposed draft of the budget, and explained the items in the handout provided. Mrs. Claiborne inquired of Mrs. Lynch as to how and when the project would take off and in what sequence of events, and Mrs. Lynch responded that some investors will donate on the basis of an idea, where some other donors will want to see more concrete details and information, or some will give seed money. Sec. Hicks-Thomas suggested that seed money is needed first, because the idea for the Monument will not be concrete until March 2013. Mrs. Lynch then concluded her report with saying that the budget handed out was only a template to give a frame of reference, and there is no need for definite approval at this point.

    July 12, 2012

    Linda Wettstone, from the Senate Clerk’s Office, demonstrated the newly added feature on the website that would allow artists to respond to the RFP and application. The Commission then tasked the Executive Committee with creating the final version of the RFP and implementing the timeline for the project, starting with submitting the advertisement to Sculpture magazine. In discussing the RFP further, it was suggested to raise the stipend for finalists to $3,500 to attract more submissions.

    The question of raising seed money was also addressed, and it was decided that the Capitol Foundation would be the fundraising arm of the Commission, instead of forming a 501(c)(3) as originally planned. The Commission approved the following people to work as an advisory board to the Selection Committee in choosing finalists (the Executive Committee also serving as the Selection Committee): Dr. Treadway (leading the historians), Juliette Landphair (Dean of Westhampton at University of Richmond), Dave McGreevy (from DGS), Helene Combs Dreiling (2014 President of American Institute of Architects), Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander (Professor at Norfolk State University), Richard Guy Wilson, Alex Nyerges, and Dean Joseph Seipel (from VCU).

    October 18, 2012

    Secretary Lisa Hicks-Thomas reported that she and Susan Schaar had attended a meeting of the Council on the Status of Women, at their request, to speak about the purpose and mission of the Women’s Monument Commission.

    Alice Lynch, Executive Director of the Virginia Capitol Foundation, reported that the Foundation met and agreed upon language that would be included in an addendum to the letter that is given to donors to the Monument Commission. The addendum clarifies that the design, location, and materials used shall be determined in sole discretion by the Commission and in compliance with Joint Rules. The letter also clarifies that the Commission, not the Foundation, has full control over funds. Gifts directed to the Capitol Foundation should include a note in memo line/accompanying paper work giving designation for the Women’s Monument. Susan Schaar informed the Commission that the Joint Rules Committee gave the Commission a loan of $25,000 to use as seed money.

    The Chair reported that 34 proposals from across the United States and abroad had been received in response to the Request for Proposals and that the Executive Board would meet with the team of advisory consultants (of whom almost all that were contacted agreed to serve) on Sunday, October 28, 2012, to review the proposals. Dr. Sandra Treadway is serving as the liaison between the Commission and the consultants.

    On October 28, 2012, the Executive Board along with the team of consultants met and reviewed the 34 proposals and narrowed down the number to 4 for further consideration. On December 7, the same group interviewed the artists and teams responsible for those 4 submissions and agreed to recommend 3 submissions to the Full Commission for consideration.

    The final meeting of the year was held on December 13. The Commission voted to revise the timeline for the project, asking for final models to be due March 15 so the winner would be announced by the end of March 2013 in culmination of Women’s History Month. The Commission voted to further 3 of the submissions on to the next phase of the selection process, creation and presentation of the scale models.

    No further meetings of the Commemorative Commission were held during this annual reporting period, but the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 21, 2013, at 2 PM in Richmond.