City to Establish Public Art Committee

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Those who want to have an influence on the future of public art in Wilton Manors will have a chance with the city’s proposed public art advisory committee.

At their Oct. 24 meeting, commissioners announced a meeting to establish the committee.

How the committee is funded, what the goals are and other topics will be discussed on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors, 600 NE 21 Ct., the home of Art Gallery 21.

City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson said that non-residents can join because officials want to be able to tap into as much artistic expertise and experience as possible, such as artists or gallery owners who live outside the city.

Mayor Gary Resnick said he wants the committee to operate the same way as the Historical Society, a volunteer organization that is a separate entity from the city and not subject to state regulations. He said he thinks the committee would be much more effective in its mission.

In a previous Gazette article, http://southfloridagaynews.com/Wilton-Manors-Gazette/wilton-drive-gallery-owners-want-artsier-wilton-manors.html, art gallery owners expressed a desire to see more public art in Wilton Manors “It’s a gay community. It should be more artsy . . . Anything to make it look more cultural,” said Tom Rossetti, owner of the Rossetti Fine Art gallery on Wilton Drive. He added that he’d like to see city officials do more to bring more public art here “to make it feel more artsy.”

Commissioner Julie Carson said the city needs more art in order to become a “fully adult city.”

Resident Constance Ruppender, founder of Art Gallery 21, said she’s been trying to get the city to form the committee for months.

She said she’d like to see the city fund the committee with impact fees paid for by new developers, the way other cities in Broward already do. Ruppender, who works for the Central Broward Water Control District, which also levies impact fees, said she’s never heard a developer complain about having to pay a few thousand dollars extra. It’s not clear at this time how much impact fees would cost developers in Wilton Manors if the city implemented them.

But even a modest impact fee, said Ruppender, can provide a lot of money for public art and she sees “huge” potential for public art in Wilton Manors. “I’ve watched what other cities are doing. Wilton Manors has to stop dragging their feet.”

But beyond money, Ruppender said the committee needs people with good ideas who are willing to do what’s needed to make them happen. She offered Art Gallery 21 as an example because it took a lot of work to create and open.

For me, this [meeting on Nov. 16] will be for identifying people willing to do the grunt work. It’s about getting the right people on the bus.”

 


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