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Council Report: Strategic plan for public artworks

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At its Tuesday work session, the city council received an informal report on the Fort Worth Art Commission’s recommended Iconic Public Artworks Strategic Plan.

While the Pioneer Tower Iconic Public Art Project continues to move forward, Mayor Betsy Price asked the art commission to begin work on the Downtown Iconic Public Artwork. The plan sets forth overarching goals and aspirations for all iconic public artworks, prioritizes the project locations recommended in the Fort Worth Public Art Master Plan Update, and includes specific recommendations and timelines for each project.

All the while, the work will collectively and inclusively reflect Fort Worth’s citizenry and their aspirations for the future.

The art commission recommended this plan to the city council in May. A presentation is planned for the Aug. 6 city council work session to get their feedback and suggestions prior to a staff recommendation to the city council for plan adoption later in August.

“If council adopts the plan it will set the stage for continued implementation of the Fort Worth Public Art Master Plan with the addition of three iconic works over the next five years, and also laying the groundwork and planning for all four locations specified in the Master Plan,” said Randle Harwood, city planning and development director.

Overall approach

Key attributes for all iconic artwork falls into four major categories:

*Artistic – Curator-driven artist selection resulting in works on the level of those in museum collections that change viewers’ perceptions. Welcoming and accessible (e.g. a ‘gateway’ in the city or focal point within a park).

*Impactful – Have the ‘wow’ factor. Create excitement. Large-scale works in prominent locations with budgets to attract national and international artists.

*Respectful – Tied to the past, yet future- and forward-focused. Dynamic and reflective of all of the citizens of Fort Worth so they see themselves in the work. Ensuring all steps in the process are viewed through a lens of inclusivity and cultural sensitivity.

*Responsible – Universal appeal to visitors and citizens. Embracing and advancing cultural equity. Using city funds to leverage and gather community support and dollars.

Sites and Community Partnerships

Key attributes for iconic artwork sites:

*Follow the Fort Worth Public Art Master Plan Update outline for locations.

*Recognize the Cultural District, downtown, and Stockyards sites are visitor-focused while also frequented by citizens.

*Build on existing relationships with visitor, civic, and infrastructure-focused

organizations and private entities.

*Emphasize the Trinity River sites (various locations) as focused on residents.

*Look at places of connection, both existing and future.

*Work toward partnerships to incorporate temporary art exhibits and installations.

*Art locations should be in existing gathering places to build upon the energy already there.

*Iconic public artworks should take advantage of opportunities to build on capital

improvement projects that the City of Fort Worth and other entities are planning.

Project Prioritization and Recommendations

Cultural District: Pioneer Tower (project in progress).

Recommendations – This is an ongoing project based on existing funds and should continue on the existing timeline with anticipated completion in 2020. The artist(s) selected for the projection mapping project should be guided by the overall approach for iconic public artworks, as well as specific input from the project core team and city staff advisors.

Downtown: Exterior work in General Worth Square at the Convention Center.

Recommendations – Utilize available iconic artwork funds (less the amount needed for Pioneer Tower), to seed the project at Fort Worth Convention Center/General Worth Square site. Work with partners to identify an ideal location within the future planning framework. At such time that a financing plan is put in place for the Convention Center, allocate 2% for an exterior iconic public artwork and another 2% for interior artworks for the Fort Worth Convention Center. Seek partners to provide major matching contributions to build toward a budget that reflects the expectations for this most prominent location. Timeline for this project to begin upon city council’s approval of this strategic plan

with estimated completion in FY 2024 and/or coinciding with the completion of the

Convention Center expansion/General Worth Square improvements.

Trinity River: Gateway Park (plus others in a series along the river TBD).

Recommendations – Approach as a location for a series of public art projects, of which the Gateway Park Project would be the first with anticipated start date in FY 2021 (when

the Park and Recreation Department commences the roadway improvement project)

and completion in FY 2023. Consider partnering with Streams and Valleys, Inc., and other partners to identify other possible sites for future projects as recommended in Confluences: Trinity River Strategic Plan.

Historic Stockyards: TBD.

Recommendations – Should be deferred until new development has revealed a suitable site with the appropriate attributes (e.g., a ‘gathering place’) and funding partners are identified. If appropriate, commence this project in FY 2024.

Currently, over $1.3 million is appropriated as seed money from the Public Art Fund and the 2014 Bond Program for the Downtown Iconic Public Artwork Project. Potential partners include public agencies, cultural institutions, philanthropists, corporations, and private developers.

The Iconic Project Core Team will consist of arts professionals, leaders from the area where the artwork will be placed, donors, and institutional partners. Their role will include:

*To assist FWPA to develop the project descriptions and goals.

*To inform and participate in artist selection panels.

*To orient and assist the artist with understanding the context of the project.

*To represent the project to others in the community.

*To provide comments to FWPA staff during project review stages.

*To attend art commission meetings as representatives of their communities.

*To inform city council members.

A Curatorial Panel will nominate artists to develop a proposal for each iconic artwork. It is anticipated that this panel will be made up of a culturally diverse group of highly qualified local, Texas and national curators.

The panel will invite a limited number of artists to submit qualifications (resumes and examples of part work). This may be conducted in two stages, with the first phase based on qualifications and the second based on a proposals. Details of the process are to be determined and approved by the Fort Worth Art Commission at a later date.

A nine-member artist selection panel is recommended for larger, high projects and include:

*Mayor/city council member in whose district the project will be located, if they desire to serve.

*Lead project designer, if applicable.

*One or more practicing artist(s).

*Other arts-related professional(s) or knowledgeable individual(s), including curators, art historians, architects, designers, writers and critics, arts administrators, arts activists, or arts patrons

*Member(s) of the Project Core Team whom they elect to serve as their representative.

Non-voting advisors may include:

*City council member in whose district the project will be located if they desire to serve and have chosen not to serve as a voting member.

*Members of the Project Core Team who are not serving as voting members.

*Members of applicable city board or commission (other than the art commission).

*City department representative or other city staff.

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