The council unanimously passed the ordinance last week that creates a nine-member commission on public art, which will include business, civic and government leaders to oversee the plan, and sets up a fund that can accept donations, grants and city funds.
Mary Lou Northern is a senior advisor to Mayor Abramson. She says now work begins on getting the commission together.
“We have asked people to submit names with background and contact information,” she says. “We will cull through that list and make recommendations to the mayor, which he will recommend to the council.”
She says the commission could be up and running by September.
Northern spent nearly two years working on this plan. She says it’s difficult to know when the first grants for public art projects will be given.
“We still are in a tough economic time,” she says, “so we don’t know at what point we’ll have enough money to give grants. But our hope is that within two years, we should be able to at least give out some smaller grants.”
She says the plan requires other changes in local laws, including adjusting the development code.
Metro Council President Tom Owen says the project will benefit the city.
“The notion of needing to inventory and evaluate existing pieces of art is absolutely critical,” he says. “And local folks and visitors are enriched and informed by public art. All of this is in the right direction.”