Funding for public art stretched thin - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Funding for public art stretched thin

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Posted: Friday, October 24, 2003 9:47 am | Updated: 2:22 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Developers may be asked to pay for part of future public art projects in north Scottsdale, just as they do downtown.

How to finance public art, where it should go and what kind of art should be displayed were discussed Wednesday at the first of two public hearings sponsored by the Scottsdale Public Arts Program.

"There may not be sufficient funds to support public art in the future," said Gretchen Freeman, consultant for the program.

Freeman, former director of the Phoenix Public Art Program, suggested that the Scottsdale ordinance that requires developers to contribute 1 percent of the cost of their buildings toward public art be expanded to include north Scottsdale.

The ordinance, passed in the early stages of the Public Arts Program in the 1980s, affects only an area bordered roughly by Sixth Street, Miller Road, Chaparral Road and Earll Drive.

Valerie Vadala Homer, director of the Scottsdale program, and Frank Jacobson, executive director of the Scottsdale Cultural Council, urged the audience Wednesday to contact City Council members and city employees about expanding the ordinance.

Vadala Homer pointed to Tempe’s public art ordinance, which covers development for the entire city, requiring builders to add art to their projects.

Rebecca Ross, fine arts coordinator for Tempe who attended the hearing, said Tempe gives awards to developers for their public art projects and publicly applauds them for their efforts.

Nearly two dozen people, most of them art supporters, attended the hearing at Scottsdale’s Community Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School Road.

Michael Bernstein, a docent at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, urged the Public Art Program Committee to search for alternative funding, including expanding the ordinance.

"You don’t have to have a Statue of Liberty or an Eiffel Tower in Scottsdale, but finding signature art is good," Bernstein said.

The hearing is one of the first steps in developing a public art master plan, which will include recommendations about financing, locations and finding a "public art signature" for Scottsdale.

Public Arts Program

What: Second of two public meetings to prepare a public arts master plan

When: 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 4

Where: Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 E. Second St.

Information: (480) 874-4645

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