Rancho Santa Fe Association board agrees to change Art Jury’s name

By Karen Billing

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board voted Nov. 7 to change the name of the Art Jury to the Covenant Design Review Committee. RSF Association President Ann Boon said that the change comes from a position of strong support for the committee — to soften its image but not to change any of the articles of the Covenant.

“We all believe [the Art Jury] is a strong asset for the community. We’re trying to enhance the reputation of the Art Jury and for people to see it immediately as an asset with a name that is welcoming and modern,” Boon said.

The Art Jury was established in 1927 to oversee building, landscaping and grading permits by closely following the Rancho Santa Fe Protective Covenant’s bylaws, regulations and guidelines.

“In looking at the Art Jury we reached the consensus that the name is rather archaic and doesn’t say what it does,” said RSF Association director Craig McAllister.

The RSF Association board narrowed the new working name from choices such as Design Review Board and Architecture Review Board.

The board is also looking at ways to re-brand the committee as it tends to get a bad reputation, according to the RSF Association board. On the recent survey conducted by the RSF Association, the Art Jury received a 69 percent satisfaction rating and some residents said it was “impossible” to remodel because of Art Jury requirements. Some residents who responded to the survey also said that the Art Jury is “capricious” and members had personal agendas.

RSF Association Director Heather Slosar said the now-named Covenant Design Review Committee should not be known as being impossible to work with, it should be known as a group that “finds a way to say yes.”

In regard to it being difficult to remodel in the Covenant, RSF Association Building Commissioner Robert Green said that the committee formerly known as the Art Jury has had zero appeals in the last 12 years.

One RSF resident in attendance, Dick Doughty, spoke out in opposition of the name change.

“The term Art Jury is well established in the Covenant itself and to simply change the name seems to be terribly out of place and the reasons given for changing it are rather flimsy. If you’re trying to change the perception, I don’t think you’re going to do that by changing the name of [the Art Jury],” Doughty said. “The term Art Jury, while it may be archaic, is something always used in professional circles when it comes to evaluating artwork and architecture.”