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Balboa Park Centennial Committee Members Apologize For Failure

March 25, 2014 1:19 p.m.


Jim Kidrick, President, CEO, San Diego Air and Space Museum

Peter Comiskey, Executive Director, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership

Related Story: Balboa Park Centennial Committee Members Apologize For Failure


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition, I am Maureen Cavanaugh. The UC promoted as a celebration that would bring the world to San Diego, now how Balboa Park will celebrate the famous exposition centennial is anyone's guess and earlier this month the organization test with putting the so until presentation together disbanded. This the result of interest in the community to raise the money needed and people close to the park have a few other reasons to point to, Angela Carone spent some time in Balboa Park trying to find out what happened.


ANGELA CARONE: Even on weekdays musicians come to play in Balboa Park hoping to make a few bucks, a violinist goes outside of the botanical building, they go inside testing beds of orchids and tropical plants and that's where we and meet Nancy Carol Carter. It was humid inside. Nancy is a former librarian. She is studied the history and she knows all about the 1915 expedition which give us double park in the building that we're standing in and she can't wait to celebrate the exposition or at least volunteer, or at least the group printing planning the event did not make it easy.

NEW SPEAKER: Do was out of transparent Avenue for involvement, and community involvement was wanted and invited was not apparent.

ANGELA CARONE: The planning committee Worked for three years to come up with a theme and critics say key relationships with museums and volunteers whenever a priority so they separate. Todd you close is that is a mistake and he is an event planning professor at UNLV in Las Vegas and he says that volunteers should be there at the start to build momentum and use the Rose Parade as an example.

NEW SPEAKER: To have over thirty committees to put that event together over the every year. A lot of people lived in the art of the entire lives.

ANGELA CARONE: Museum beers leaders also felt left out of the committee plans.

NEW SPEAKER: We always felt that they had their own agenda and they wanted to do something outside of the institutions and not using us an hour in expertise.

ANGELA CARONE: Not much was scheduled. If they would abuse the park they could've filled that calendar.

NEW SPEAKER: Let's have the world championship track bike racing, but straight to make sure that the three main art museums can to something all embracing example of what art was at the time, and all we got was some people who said that think the same.

ANGELA CARONE: Members of the committee said they did work with the museums and they gave nine museums money for exhibits for 2015, but over the last year critics say that the planning committee became more secretive and guarded. Patty Roscoe was on that committee, to the there's a reason they did not recruit sponsors.

NEW SPEAKER: We had something for the volunteers to do we did not feel to waste their time having meetings when we weren't sure in which direction we can go.

ANGELA CARONE: The museums have been busy buying their own events which means the least something will happen for 2015. As the city takes over planning the celebration, museum leaders have advice for them. Jim Kendrick runs the San Diego air and space Museum.

NEW SPEAKER: I want to see a more inclusive environment provided those leaders they can make things happen.

ANGELA CARONE: Not everyone thinks the city can save the day. Typically government is not good at playing these events.

NEW SPEAKER: It's not something that they do day in and day out and requires experience and to marshal all of these resources.

ANGELA CARONE: Let's hope that someone at sea City Hall knows how to plan a party.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I would like to welcome Mike guests Peter Comiskey, welcome to the program, and Jim Kendrick. Thank you for coming in. We want to focus most of this conversation on the future, whether you are planning to do for the park next year? We would like to know, starting with fear, if you send in the alarms to city officials that things did not appear to be going well, with the Balboa Park celebration committee.

PETER COMISKEY: The Balboa Park partnership is a representative about twenty different cultural institutions within the park and we always felt and still feel that our position within the celebration is really clear and be up and moving along apace with that. We have over seventeen different exhibitions and programs schedule wedding that will make a very compelling and exciting year and from our perspective they certainly overlay almonds and we are working on and they may take a different form but the program itself and the experience within the park will be a wonderful year of really compelling and exciting programs.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And he alarms to city officials that just cannot seem as if this were chilling, there might've been some problems with that celebration committee?

JIM KIDRICK: I think is all of us monitored the progress as Peter was talking about, understanding that our obligation for the institutions was to be ready, and they do want to reiterate what Peter is saying, we will be ready, and I think some of the challenges that we saw over only those that were associated with what everyone else was actually seeing, and as you heard the interviews they were actually expressing themselves, I don't think any of this was a egg surprise, it's more so than anything and we are hoping to bring it back. I want to see bring it back but it's mostly going the right direction but just ensuring that our community and our region is fully aware that we are ready, your dialed in and is going to be a phenomenal year.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Did you think that the seed money was reasonable? About 300,000?

JIM KIDRICK: I think most of us would've hoped for more, however that is a difficult one to assess, I think was provided to some based on having a little bit more needs than others, it's certainly that kind of seed money helps everyone out of the cultural part or shouldn't members to create a much better spectacle for the community and for visitors coming from around the world..

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is the partnership involved in the transition that we're hearing about is the seat assumes response ability for the overall Centennial Pratt running?

PETER COMISKEY: We continue to have meetings with Allstate stakeholders including the city in recent want to make sure that position is very smooth and certainly the benefit I guess is that the programming is in place, the programming will be very exciting, so we we are simply commuting that in ensuring that they are aware of the program that is in place now, they've been very receptive to that message and they are fantastic group to work with and their others seeking to fully understand what is in place now, and what other opportunities there may be.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The code you know who will be in charge of planning at the city?

PETER COMISKEY: I think there will be a number of people. I think that is a good as it a location is any right now and any additional factors they may be I think they will sit in the same location.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: As Peter has been saying, we have our agenda pretty much together as what we're going to be doing for 2015, 07 working on this for quite some time now and we know the direction that we're going in. But as the city takes over the guiding light if you will for this entire event, how closely would you like to see the museums be involved in this overall event planning as it moves on to the guidance of the city?

JIM KIDRICK: I think we have to have a leadership role and the number of rate one reason that people visit Balboa Park now is to go into one of those institutions and the number two reason is to have fun and so that is what we're really all about, we live and breathe Balboa Park daily and after 2015, we're still there. Even a little bit of an entrÈe into 2016 or 2017 or 2018, and the future as we highlight this wonderful park is a major attraction in San Diego and Southwest region, is very important because it has to work a little bit inside out, behold a fistful of their and is a big party and no one comes in to see the jewels that are inside of those walls, and we lose. We don't want to make the same mistakes that were were ongoing just a bit and we need to ensure that we realize how those comport those institutions are.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: He said that the museums have been operating on their own track for a while and planning events, Joseph is an answer going to be.

PETER COMISKEY: If you had a couple of hours I could tell you all the details that give you a quick heads up history center is doing a ingenious exhibition from doctors sues Dr. Seuss, though be a major accident exhibition that is going to be very compelling and from one of the main museums of the model railroad museum would building a new Centennial Garden, this will be an outdoor exhibition which is not been done in the building before and you ask the builder control the model trains with your cell phone, will be able to look inside and start them and hear the organ playing, it's just a beautiful creation in all of this is being created in part by the money that was provided and by the desire to drive, there's a major exhibition that will be brought in code 7,000,000,000 others, this is an international exhibition which tells the story from different people all of the world, the stories are just limitless and the best part about Balboa Park is it's fantastic for families, fantastic for singles in pretty much any person can find them to do.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: As the various museums have tried to come up with programs for this year, have there been any coordinations between various museums? Or has each museum been on its own?

PETER COMISKEY: One of the most exciting recent elements is the launch of the Balboa Park Explorer, that it's a way now that people come to the park with one pass is currently annual, and they can see and get into every museum. Maybe before you did not want to go to the railroad or the automotive, you can just pop in now and it may become your new favorite museum and he was the air and space Museum and then some people want to just pop up and spend a very short period tied them in there, the Balboa Park Explorer provides very unique ñ it's something that we think is nationally very unique as well which is a cooperative model which allows guests to really experience of ballpark is one attraction.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Know the park is excited about the new Explorer card today am wondering how the various museums there were planning events for the Centennial year, did they perhaps tell them what they're going to do, was there any common ground there?

PETER COMISKEY: Everyone is talking all the time and Balboa Park is one amazing cultural experience or all of the directors are identifying exhibitions, programs, activities, is also the need something to directly match each other, that is not the goal but the goal is that's in the everyone who is making decisions on exhibition sometimes five years out, to make sure that the park as a whole is coming to that point.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What is happening at the air and space Museum?

JIM KIDRICK: We have a interactive mathematics exhibit that we have booked about a year and half ago because we needed that appropriately time, and I guarantee that when they walk into that museum sites all of the other experiences, the treaty and forty theaters in the flight commanders in the exhibits that we have and everything in addition with a special exhibition, it will put it over the top, and I want to reiterate Peter's comments about the Explorer, that is a most exciting new pass city on last few years and it combines really am independent businesses, this is a project that was not easy, this is not the city of the county, this is those wonderful organizations and double parked coming together for the benefit of our region to create a special pass that we hope that some will purchase just to support the ballpark and it is a jewel, and enforcing a segment of revenue is needed to ensure that we can be what we need to be for everyone.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is there one thing that is missing, as I understand there is no overarching slogan that defines the ballpark. Balboa Park. Before

PETER COMISKEY: If we can identify a brand that will work for the park the next hundred years and whether or not that is used in 2015 is not the point, We want to be sure that this brilliant venue is not just the traction it should be: to make sure that is fixed.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What you want to do to make sure that you can let people know that your planning things in there will be things happening next year, what about recent ad campaign?

PETER COMISKEY: Before we want to do a comprehensive advertising campaign that we can work on now. It will result in the strong marketing opportunities and really exciting opportunity that will build to express everything that they working in Balboa Park.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I have to end it there, I have been speaking with Jim Kendrick and Peter, Comiskey, thank you both very much.