Art Boards: Complaints

Welcome to the Swanton Art Boards!

The art boards located in Village-owned public spaces are independently administered by the Swanton Public Art Network (SPAN), a collective of local artists and art aficionados dedicated to promoting public art exhibits that showcase the talents of local artists, aesthetically enhance the community, and celebrate Swanton’s diversity and identity artistic sharing for the benefit of our community. The Network is fortified by its support and connections to artists and funding opportunities.

Art Board Complaints

If you're a concerned art board user or community member concerned about how the art boards are used, explore this area of the site to learn more about the Program's grievance protocols. Artists, users and community members may submit a formal grievance using the complaint form submitted via SPAN’s webpage to register guideline violations, formal complaints, and community issues about content or use of the art boards. Complainants and contributing users shall participate in constructive resolution of any grievance that may be received.

For more program details, refer to site pages:

The intent of the public art boards is to provide open and broad access to a variety of artistic disciplines and practices that can appeal to Swanton’s diverse community. As a matter of principle, SPAN strives to remain objective about artistic content and does not actively censor artistic content given its mission to support open and impactful expression on the public art boards in the Swanton community that serves many diverse audiences and cultural traditions.

SPAN appreciates the support of the Swanton Village, Swanton Town and Swanton Arts Council; however, our partners are NOT responsible for management of the art boards. The viewpoints, positions, and opinions expressed on the art boards are solely those of the contributing artists and should not be attributed to the Swanton Public Art Network or Swanton Village/Town Officials.

Regrettably, situations may occur when guidelines are violated, or public art triggers an individual complaint, community upset or social discourse regarding issues or concerns with the art board subject matter or program. SPAN's art board guidelines are intended to minimize issues about artistic content through defined standards, artist agreement and registration, and a limited exhibition period. If these guidelines do not satisfy concerns or complaints, a formal grievance can be directed to the SPAN Administrators via SPAN’s Complaint Form (below).

To submit a complaint, the Complainant shall:

a. Complete the complaint form to provide a detailed grievance in writing or via electronic submission on SPAN’s WEBPAGE. The grievance must include the art board location, date on the artistic image, description of the art, nature of the complaint or issue, desired outcome, and the complainant’s name and contact information.

b. Allow 48-72 hours for proper response and investigation to address submitted concerns.

c. Be open to put forth a sincere effort to achieve a constructive resolution of their submitted grievance.

d. NOT reset or paint over an artistic image in dispute unless a completed “Art Board User Agreement” is on file AND the two-week exhibition allowance period has expired or otherwise permitted by SPAN in resolution of a properly submitted grievance.

e. Refer to SPAN’s detailed guidelines for an outline of the grievance protocols (also detailed below).

Penalties: Select the link to Appendix B for an outline of potential violations and penalties. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of penalties. SPAN administrators are solely responsible for addressing complaints and determining penalties or course of action.

Appendix B - Potential Violations and Penalties.pdf

SPAN's Response Protocols: SPAN is committed to listening and responding to the needs, preferences, concerns and grievances of our contributing artists and community members. SPAN's response protocols are outlined below.

The SPAN shall:

a. Notify the complainant that their grievance was received, and they will be contacted within 48 hours to discuss in detail. An automatic system message will be sent to the complainant when submitted via SPAN’s WEBPAGE, otherwise, the SPAN recipient will respond directly.

b. Provide initial notification to the SPAN Administration Team that the grievance was received, participation and suggestions are welcomed, and that a follow-up notice will be sent within 48-72 hours as further details are obtained.

  • Village/Town officials shall be copied on this notice when they have been identified as an interested party (e.g. the grievance was received from them or they were specifically referenced in the grievance.).

c. Confirm that the grieved art board as identified in the grievance is properly registered with a current artist/user agreement on file.

d. Identify the guideline violation and associated remedies and/or penalties. Identify any prior violations on record.

e. Contact the complainant within 48 hours upon receipt to:

  • Understand the nature of the grievance and verify that the grievance is about the artistic image rather than about the artist. The artist’s identity shall not be disclosed or confirmed by SPAN.

  • Discuss desired outcomes and any acceptable alternatives.

  • Explain the grievance process toward resolution.

  • Deescalate any situational intensity as it may occur. SPAN shall respond with sensitivity and mutual respect for all parties involved.

f. Contact the contributing artist within 24 hours following an initial discussion with the complainant to:

  • Convey that a grievance was received, the nature of the issue, and the complainant’s preferred resolution. The complainant’s identity shall not be disclosed or confirmed by SPAN.

  • Understand the artist’s intent of the artistic image, and their response to the grievance.

  • Discuss acceptable outcomes and alternatives for resolution.

  • Explain the grievance process toward resolution, and the standard penalties or remedies for the reported violation.

  • Deescalate any situational intensity as it may occur. SPAN shall respond with sensitivity and mutual respect for all parties involved.

g. Follow-up with the complainant, contributing artist and any other concerned parties as appropriate to achieve agreement of a mutually agreed resolution, if possible.

h. Contact the SPAN Administrative team to assess circumstances and discuss options for appropriate resolution in accordance with Appendix B and WHEN a satisfactorily resolution is not mutually achieved between the concerned parties. Take additional steps as decided. Options for actions and resolutions may include one or more of the following actions:

  • Penalties per Appendix B (e.g. Suspended permissions or banned use, resetting the art board, police report, restitution, etc.)

  • Complainant to rescind the grievance and/or allow the two-week exhibition period to expire

  • Artist modification of artistic content or request to remove and keep the art board

  • Public forum discussion

  • Art board removal

i. Notify all involved parties (e.g. complainant, artist, SPAN, Village/Town) on the status of the grievance, the nature and terms of its resolution, and next steps for further action if necessary. Provide written notice / reprimand to art board user as appropriate per outlined violations (See Appendix B).

j. Document the investigation findings, resolution or result of the grievance, and a summary of notices and actions taken.