This letter was addressed to LCAD’s board.
My name is Randy Hunt and I have been a student in the stone sculpting class for over 10 years.
The recent decision to suddenly and abruptly close the 40-year-old stone sculpting program offered on weekends at LCAD needs to be reviewed and reconsidered.
The students were informed via email that the “senior management” of the school all agreed that the program should end for health reasons, the argument being that dust and silica was a threat to student health.
We would like to personally meet with this group and all of the trustees so we may present scientific findings, which refute such claims. To end a 40-year program based on false science is wrong and such a decision based on faulty information should be reexamined.
In an open area adjacent to the stone carving yard is an area which the college uses for various artistic endeavors. In plain sight are open bags of 100% silica, the contents blowing in the wind. Somehow that does not pose a problem, but minute traces of dust from the sculptors is enough to shut down a 40-year-old program?
Just two months age we all were assured by Jonathan Burke that he was satisfied with the program and that there were “no issues.” The sculpting program had his blessings and approval. Knowing that we were secure many of us purchased stone for future projects. Almost half of the class went to Italy last month with one of the instructors and purchased stone in Carrara for projects.
I personally just travelled to Colorado to a quarry and brought back stone, arriving home to hear that the program had been cancelled. Six days of driving a rented truck, seven nights in hotels, meals and gas…I personally spent over $4,000 to bring the stone from a quarry to LCAD. Lots of new students have purchased expensive stone carving tools and now there is no place to use them. The decision to close the class has affected many people in many ways.
At least a one-year reprieve would give us time to work things out or find another venue or community that would embrace us.
As students we have landscaped the whole sculpting area with drought resistant plants, donated thousands of dollars in boring tools, gas chainsaws, gas-powered saws and assorted supplies.
Please consider the impact of the decision to close the stone sculpting class forever. Once a program is closed it is never reopened. It would be a shame if this community-based program which has so positively affected so many lives is cancelled, especially for the wrong reasons. LCAD depends on community support and it is programs like this which involve the community that brings us all together.
I am confident that a solution can be found and I personally appreciate the dedication and due diligence that this group had shown in researching on their own the facts in this case.
Thank you for your consideration.
Randy Hunt, Laguna Beach