Public art in Oklahoma City may soon become a collaborative effort rather than a hodgepodge of loose-knit projects.
The city's art's commission is asking the mayor and city council to support a grant application that would transform a long-discussed public art policy from idea to reality.
Pledges of support by the city council, a cultural nonprofit group and the art commission could lead to an $80,000 grant, said Robbie Kienzle, arts and cultural affairs liaison for the city planning department.
“There's a lot of things that need to be worked out to get us more streamlined, have a more efficient process and to have specific roles because each time I approach one from a different department, it's an entirely different process,” she said.
A city ordinance adopted in 2009 requires 1 percent of the construction budget for any building, building renovation or park development to be set aside for public art. Currently, the city department or agency responsible for each individual project also is charged with developing the requisite art.
Mosaic tiles on the walls of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, a sculpture along the Bricktown Canal and the glass art at the new library downtown are examples of public art that would today qualify for one percent funds.
Each of the eight planned MAPS 3 projects carries with them an individual fund for public art.
A comprehensive plan that would put these projects in the hands of a single city commission is one of five recommendations outlined in a cultural development plan implemented by the city in 2011.
Kienzle said the pledges are required to qualify for a grant from National Endowment of the Arts. Grant funds would hire a national consultant to develop an integrated policy for the design, development, permitting, safety and maintenance of public art in Oklahoma City.
The policy also would develop a way to involve the community in selecting public art projects, Kienzle said.
“And the long-term benefit is when you have a collection of projects that you want to have really big impact with — like let's just talk about MAPS 3 — there would be kind of this context to it and there would be a way to help the projects make sense off one another,” she said.
If supported by the council, the grant application could be prepared in time for a Jan. 14 deadline, she said.