DUNEDIN – It’s taken city officials 15 years to create a master plan for public art, but they believe their efforts will leave a lasting imprint on their community.
City commissioners voted unanimously Dec. 6 to adopt an ordinance establishing the public art program, which includes a funding requirement for city projects and private development to help encourage it.
Elizabeth Brincklow, the city’s consultant on the plan, acknowledged the work of several committees and entities who developed it.
“Adding the master plan in the ordinance for both municipal and private development, a percent for art – and you’re ahead of all the cities in the county I can say – will begin to provide art in new accessible ways for our residents and our visitors to be enjoyed for a very long time to come,” she said.
The 82-page public art master and public art guidelines plan is expected to encourage diversity and creativity and set a standard as city officials engage new public art throughout the city.
The ordinance provides a funding mechanism for the public art program. It stipulates that for city projects, the city shall provide for the acquisition of art equivalent in value to not less than 0.5 percent of the project cost for all capital improvement project budgets with vertical construction. The contribution shall be capped at $500,000.
Private owners and developers who are subject to City Commission design review must contribute 0.5 percent of the project cost for public art enhancement in private development. The 0.5 percent public art requirement may be satisfied by the financing of on-site stand-alone or integrated artwork or the developer may deposit 0.5 percent into the Public Art Fund account to be used for the public art enrichment of the city's public spaces. The contribution is capped at $500,000.
Commissioner Deborah Kynes noted that the city’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee was set up in 2003. The commission approved a plan in concept several years ago, she said, but not to the extent of action taken at their Dec. 6 meeting.
“In truth we have been working on a variation on this thing for 15 years. 2003. So it is a huge day,” she said.
Other commissioners echoed her comments.
“I’m really excited about this and what it will do for Dunedin. I think Dunedin can be a destination for anything we want it to be a destination for,” Commissioner Jeff Gow said. “We are certainly already there with our arts and our fine art center. It’s just expanding that footprint of who Dunedin is.”
Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski called the plan balanced and a great guidebook.
“I think it will shape who we are for the next generation, and I’m really excited about it,” she said.
A survey pertaining to the arts programs conducted in the fall of 2017 drew 428 participants. Citizens were asked if funds were available, would they support additional city revenue being used for public art. About 85 percent said they would.
City memos say the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee was established in 2003, followed by a consultant’s 2006 draft cultural plan giving guidance for the City’s Art and Culture future path.
In 2014, an art policy proposed by the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee was presented and passed by the commission, and funding was approved in 2016 to contract an arts professional to create the city’s first Public Art Master Plan. The consultant, Brincklow, has been working on the plan since June of 2017.
It has been vetted along the way through three community workshops, several meetings with the Arts and Culture Committee, the Public Art Master Plan Subcommittee, and at the Local Planning Agency and three Commission workshops.
Fourteen cities in Florida have public and private development art codes, according to information from the Florida Association of Public Art Professionals.