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Oklahoma City adds arts, cultural affairs liaison

Oklahoma City has created a new position in its Planning Department for an arts and cultural affairs liaison. Coordinating a city policy requiring 1 percent of the city's construction expenses to be spent on public art is among the liaison's duties.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: July 24, 2012
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Connecting the dots between public and private funding, public space and public desire can be one of the biggest challenges in promoting arts and culture within a community.

A new job in Oklahoma City's Planning Department is intended to make it easier.

Robbie Kienzle, an urban planner with the city for 15 years, began work as Oklahoma City's arts and cultural affairs liaison this month.

The position, one of a net gain of 85 city jobs in the fiscal year that began July 1, essentially makes Kienzle the city's one-woman office charged with helping to implement its goals in arts development.

And the goals are still being finalized. One of Kienzle's first tasks is to help finish a comprehensive plan for public arts improvement in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Council voted three years ago to spend 1 percent of the city's construction budget on art in public spaces, and Kienzle will help coordinate ideas on how to spend it.

“I'm researching different comprehensive plans right now, looking at their scope and what they cost. That will be one of the first big pieces of creating all the policies and guidelines of the 1 percent,” she said.

Finding money

Kienzle could potentially have more than just city money to use when looking at ways to put more art in public spaces. Public and private grant money is available for many projects, but coming up with a plan good enough to win the grant, matching the funding with respected local artists and finding display space involves getting a lot of people around the same metaphorical table.

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