Today the City of Louisville and the New York-based public art organization Creative Time unveiled a long-term plan for funding and developing public art across the city. The Louisville Public Art Master Plan recommends the creation of a Committee on Public Art (COPA) that will oversee the city’s current art collection, manage a granting system for new public art and advise future city leaders on the continued creation and development of new art.
Funding for the new master plan will come from grants and donations. Additional funding will come from developers via an innovative approach to commercial development code. Currently developers of projects exceeding 100,000 square feet are required to set aside a percentage of their construction budget for various public amenities like benches, fountains, landscaping, and trails. Under the new plan, there will be an option to direct that money to a new public space art fund. In turn, the fund can then provide support to non-profit arts and neighborhood groups who want to commission artists to create art for public spaces. The funds will be dispensed through a granting process administered by the new COPA. “Developers will recognize that this new model makes good business sense,” said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson in a statement prepared for the plan’s unveiling. “Their money will support the arts and, in turn, they don’t have to pay for the long-term maintenance of benches or a fountain.”
Aside from addressing funding, the plan also tackles important issues like conservation and maintenance, thoroughly cataloging the current collection and procedures for commissioning and de-accessioning pieces. Creative Time won the master planning contract a year and a half ago over two other finalists in a RFQ released by the City. Principal Meredith Johnson traveled to Louisville numerous times during the yearlong preparation of the study and sees the finished master plan as a reflection of the city’s unique spirit and arts community. Using both short and long-term approaches, the plan provides both a vision of the arts as well as practical steps both the City and community can take to achieve those goals.