Murals as Public Art Possibly Delayed

At their April 27, 2011 meeting, members of the Ann Arbor public art commission (AAPAC) received news from city staff that a pilot mural program already approved by the commission might need to be delayed. AAPAC was informed that the Ann Arbor city council never voted to approve the current fiscal year’s public art plan, which included the mural program.

The annual plan spanning July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 was created, but apparently was never forwarded to by city staff to be placed on the council’s agenda last year. Some commissioners questioned whether approval of the plan by council is needed before projects can move forward.

The city ordinance establishing the Percent for Art program, approved by the city council in 2007, requires: “By April 1 of each year, submit to city council a plan detailing potential projects and desirable goals to be pursued in the next fiscal year.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, AAPAC discussed and approved the public art plan for FY2012, which begins July 1, 2011. Ten projects are in the plan, including artwork in the interior and exterior of the new justice center, the Fuller Road Station, and the mural pilot program. [.pdf of draft FY2012 annual plan at start of AAPAC's April 27 meeting]

Approved in 2007 by the city council, the city’s Percent for Art ordinance creates a mechanism for funding public art by allocating 1% of all capital improvement projects – with a cap of $250,000 – to be spent on public art.

The mural pilot program hit another hitch earlier this year, when a meeting – called to vote on approving two proposed sites for the first murals – wasn’t properly noticed under the Michigan Open Meetings Act, and had to be held again. [Previous Chronicle coverage: "Art Commission Votes Again on Mural Sites," "Public Art Group Picks Two Mural Sites" and "Public Art Mural Program in the Works"]

This brief was filed from the 7th floor conference room of the City Center Building, 220 E. Huron St., where AAPAC meets. A more detailed report will follow: [link]