"We must infuse our lives with art."
- Maya Angelou, 1990, Arts & Public Policy Lecture
On October 6, 2005, after nearly three years of research and advocacy, the Clearwater City Council approved Ordinance NO. 7489-05, creating the Clearwater Public Art and Design Program. Established as a high priority goal in the 2002 Clearwater Cultural Plan, the Public Art and Design Program will add to the visual identity of the City, creating memorable images of the City for visitors and residents alike. Public art will reinforce Clearwater's role as an emerging regional leader in culture, recreation and environmental management, and will support the City's development as a wonderful place to live, learn, work and play.
The Clearwater Public Art and Design Program, which took effect on October 1, 2006, requires that City capital improvement projects (CIP) with a construction budget greater than $500,000 must contribute 1% of the project's aggregate job value (AJV) towards the purchase and installation of on-site public art. This affects both new construction and renovation projects including buildings, trails, parking facilities, bridges and other aboveground projects.
The Clearwater Public Art and Design Program recently completed the Public Art and Design Master Plan, establishing the criteria, policies and priorities that will be used to successfully manage and direct the public art program for years to come. In utilizing the Master Plan, the public art program will identify important places for public art throughout Clearwater and generate a shared vision of public art for both City Capital Improvement Projects and private development projects alike.
What is Public Art?
Public art is artwork that is in the public realm, regardless of whether it is acquired through public or private funding. Public art can include anything from more traditional art objects like sculptures, paintings, fountains and mosaics to manhole covers, paving patterns, lighting and other functional elements created by an artist.
Why Have Public Art?
Communities through the country have been using public art for decades to create a sense of place and improve the quality and design of buildings and private developments, streetscapes and public places. As a result, public art has been integrated into the daily lives of citizens from cities around the country including Seattle, WA where artists have designed manhole covers, fountains, benches and tree grates to Miami, FL where artists have constructed a highway sound wall that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Public art creates a strong feeling of identity, which results in an increased amount of tourism and economic development.
There are approximately 350 municipalities with public art programs in North America that actively commission artists to create public art for all types of public infrastructure. Some cities, where art in public places is plentiful, have become known as "museums without walls" as their artwork has become so accessible to citizens and visitors.
How is Public Art Funded?
There are a number of different funding sources for public art, however, the most common source is through a percent-for-art ordinance in which cities and municipalities dedicate a percentage of capital improvement project (CIP) budgets (ranging from 0.5% to 2%) towards the purchase of on-site public artwork. Other funding sources for public art include: public/private partnerships, grant/foundation support, developer incentive programs, or gifts & loans.
What Can Public Art Do for Clearwater?
By adding public art, the City of Clearwater can establish a sense of place within its public spaces, fostering civic pride and creating a sense of community identity. The public spaces created by public art can be used for anything from quiet contemplation to active community dialogue. Public art in Clearwater will add to its visual identity, creating memorable images of the City for visitors and residents alike. Public art will also reinforce Clearwater's role as an emerging regional leader in culture, recreation and environmental management, and it will support the City's development as a wonderful place to live, learn, work and play.