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3/10/2018 10:58:00 AM
Fort Wayne mayor calls for public art program with funding mechanism

KPC Media News, Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

An ordinance to be introduced at the March 13 meeting of the Fort Wayne City Council would create a public art program and arts commission to promote and integrate art throughout the community, as well as a funding mechanism to support it.

Mayor Tom Henry and City Councilmen Glynn Hines and Tom Freistroffer, accompanied by representatives from Arts United, announced the proposal March 8.

“Public art helps create interesting and vibrant spaces, the kinds of places that people want to visit and come back to,” Henry said. “Public art tells our unique story to residents and visitors and communicates that we value quality of life, creativity, culture and diversity.”

Research shows that more than 350 U.S. cities have dedicated funding mechanisms for public art, including Indianapolis, Toledo and Munster, the announcement said. “Cities throughout the country recognize that public art contributes positively to economic development factors such as business and talent attraction and retention, cultural tourism, education, equity, and neighborhood revitalization.”

The art program would be overseen by a 13-member volunteer commission made up of appointments from arts organizations and arts schools, as well as the City Council and the mayor’s office. The commission would review and select art that would be displayed in public spaces, with the goal of enhancing the visual environment and strengthening the positive reputation, brand and stature of Fort Wayne and its neighborhoods.

The ordinance would also create a public art fund to be overseen by the commission. Private grants and donations could be made to the fund, and a public art giveback program also would be established. The giveback program would ask developers who receive a tax increment financing incentive from the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission to contribute, from their own funds, an amount equal to 1 percent of the incentive to the art fund, up to a maximum $100,000.

Following its introduction March 13, the ordinance will be discussed by council on March 20 and scheduled for a vote March 27.

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