Despite economy, metro Phoenix public art well-funded

Civic Space Park, downtown Phoenix

[Source: Weldon B. Johnson, Arizona Republic] — Despite the economic slump, Valley communities are maintaining a commitment to public art thanks in large part to the way those programs receive money.  As a result, local art commissions are able to bring new artworks to the public’s attention, such as the huge floating sculpture, “Her Secret Is Patience,” by Janet Echelman in downtown Phoenix or “The Doors,” by Donald Lipski in Scottsdale.

Most community public-art programs are funded through ordinances that take a small percentage (usually 1 percent or less) of the funds for capital projects such as buildings, streets or parks and set it aside for a public-art component.  If those projects go forward, the art components often continue.  Because many such projects are funded through bond issues and other sources, they haven’t been hurt as much by the recession as items that are paid for through a city’s general fund.

Phoenix’s public-art program is considered one of the most progressive in the country.  Since it was created in 1986, it has installed more than 150 projects throughout the city.  Phil Jones, [just retired] executive director of the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, expects that to continue.  “We’ve had a couple of major bond elections in the past 10 years that have helped feed the program somewhat,” Jones said.  “As time progresses, the resources may not be as plentiful, but right now we have sufficient funding for about 80 projects.  That will keep us busy for a while.”  [Note: Read the full article at Despite economy, metro Phoenix public art well-funded.]

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