Mayor Unveils Public Art Plan for Louisville

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson today unveiled a detailed master plan for public art in city. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports. (To listen to the audio of the announcement, click on “Listen to the Story.”)

The plan was developed through the mayor’s office with diverse groups of artists, educators, government officials and property developers. One main achievement was pinpointing a funding stream that does not create new taxes or fees.

The plan modifies a current law that that requires developers who have projects exceeding 100,000 square feet to contribute to use a percentage of their construction budget for public amenities.

Abramson says, under the plan, developers would have an alternative.

“Under the new plan, however, developers would have the option to instead contribute those dollars to a new public space art fund,” Abramson says.

The public art plan’s authors consulted with developers to create this option.

Chuck Kavanaugh is president of the Home Builders Association of Louisville.

“It was very easy to put this together and get back to our commercial council,” Kavanaugh says. “The commercial council at our association is really the largest retail office in industrial developers in town. These people embraced it. They’re very interested in it. They liked the option.”

The plan also includes policies for creating new public art and outlines how artists can participate.

Chris Radtke is co-chair of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Public Art and worked on the plan.

“One of the innovate aspects of the plan is it moves the core of creative thinking for public projects off of the committee table and into the artist’s studio,” she says. “Artists not only from Louisville but anywhere in the world will be the ones that create ideas for proposals.”

Artists would work with community and non-profit groups to obtain funding.

Metro Council must approve the plan to establish a Commission on Public Art and set up the funding mechanism for projects. The city spent $50,000 to create the plan with New York-based Creative Time, which has worked on public art projects nationwide.


Audio of Mayor’s Announcement

Mayor Abramson Announces Effort to Create Public Art Plan (Sept. 2008)

Feature: Louisville Invests $50,000 for Public Art Master Plan (Sept. 2008)

Feature: An Inventory of Louisville’s Art and the Care It Needs (July 2009)

City Plans to Apply for New Federal Art-Related Grant (Jan. 2010)