City may get arts commission [UPDATED]Published 10:49am Thursday, December 16, 2010 Updated 10:52am Monday, December 20, 2010
Public art might be getting a big boost in Fergus Falls, as the city’s public works and safety committee took the first step this morning to create an arts commission.
“The basic purpose (of the commission) would be to … update the inventory of public art and also work on a process of procuring public art and looking into where we could place more public art around the community,” said Public Works Director Anne Martens. The main reason for the commission, however, is the Legacy grant money available to support the arts around the state on an annual basis.
“In order to apply for that funding, we need to have an arts commission or some form of arts commission,” said Martens.
The public works and safety committee unanimously recommended the creation of the commission to the city council.
The arts commission proposal is the result of some discussions between Martens and A Center for the Arts Executive Director Rebecca Petersen.
“Anne and I started talking several months ago about public art, and we were talking about some sort of public art or sculpture project at the Tower Road bridge project,” Petersen explained. In order to get access to state funding of such a project, however, an arts commission is needed.
“It would be similar to other committees that are established in the city code,” Martens said of the committee, which would likely have five members and be appointed by the city council and the mayor.
Though state funds is obviously important to commission backers, Petersen and Martens said the group could have other benefits for the community.
“With or without that whole emphasis on funding, I think it’s important to have someone who looks at that whole citywide map” to identify where city art is and where it can be, Petersen commented. Martens agreed, saying that such a process has never really been formalized in the city.
Martens said that the formation of the commission would not cost the public money, but certain recommendations the commission might make once it is formed may ask that the city supply some funding. Such decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis by the council, however.
Petersen is excited about the possibilities that an arts commission could bring to town, and she hopes that someone from A Center for the Arts can be involved. She sees the commission as a way to showcase the creativity already present in the city.
“I think when you create a public art facet of all of that, people drive into the community and say, ‘Wow! I see artists in the community,’” she said.Tags: A Center for the Arts, Arts-Entertainment, public works and safety committee