Stories indexed with the term ‘murals’

Art Group Reviews Public Outreach Effort

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (Oct. 24, 2012): After three public forums held earlier this month as part of a new community outreach effort, AAPAC members got an update on those meetings and talked about how to increase participation.

Bob Miller, Marsha Chamberlin, Ann Arbor public art commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: Public art commissioners Bob Miller and Marsha Chamberlin. (Photos by the writer.)

Turnout was lower than hoped – as only one resident attended the meeting held on Oct. 22 at Clague Middle School, though about 10 people came to a forum at Bryant Community Center the previous week. A fourth event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Open @Mack cafeteria, 920 Miller Ave.

John Kotarski, who had attended all the forums, felt the events had achieved their purpose of achieving a presence in the community, and introducing residents to different kinds of public art. Bob Miller advocated adding an online element for soliciting more input. Commissioners discussed the possibility of using the city’s new A2 Open City Hall, a blog-type feature that allows people to get information and give feedback on specific projects.

Commissioners took action on other projects, voting to approve a $910 budget for the dedication of a new mural at Allmendinger Park – an event to take place on Sunday, Oct. 28 from 2-4 p.m. The mural was designed by Mary Thiefels of TreeTown Murals, incorporating artwork and found objects from the community.

Also approved was the location of a sign for the Herbert Dreiseitl water sculpture in front of city hall, though there was concern about the placement of a fence there. The city has decided to put the mesh metal fence on a section of the pedestrian bridge overlooking the sculpture. Some commissioners are frustrated that this safety issue wasn’t raised earlier, when it might have been addressed by the sculptor as part of the site design. Marsha Chamberlin, AAPAC’s chair, noted that Dreiseitl intended people to interact with the water that runs down from the fountain. “What’s driving this process – the aesthetics of the piece or risk management?” she asked. She ultimately abstained from the vote, stating ”I want to go on the record of being ornery about this.” It was approved by all other commissioners present at the meeting.

Commissioners were also updated on a range of other projects that are in various stages of development. The process has begun for soliciting artists for work at the East Stadium bridge and for an ongoing mural program. The deadlines for submitting statements of qualifications (SOQs) are in November. Aaron Seagraves, the city’s public art administrator, expects to post another SOQ – for artwork at Argo Cascades – next month. And legal staff is reviewing a request for proposals (RFP) for art at a rain garden being built at Kingsley and First.

Seagraves also reported that installation of a $150,000 hanging glass sculpture at the Justice Center lobby will be delayed a few months, until March or April of 2013. Fabricators selected by the artist Ed Carpenter aren’t available to do the work as soon as expected.

Another potential project emerged during the meeting. Chamberlin noted that the city has about 100 old aluminum canoes that it’s planning to get rid of. She said that Cheryl Saam, facilities supervisor for the city’s canoe liveries, had raised the possibility of using the canoes for some kind of community art project. After getting feedback from other commissioners that this is an idea worth pursuing, Chamberlin said she’d work up a more formal proposal for consideration at a future meeting.

As part of the Oct. 24 meeting packet, AAPAC got a budget update of Percent for Art funds, showing a balance of $1.533 million. Of that, $847,104 has been earmarked for previously approved projects, leaving about $686,000 unallocated. [.pdf of budget summary]

One notable topic was not discussed at the meeting – a public art millage that’s on the Nov. 6 ballot. Several commissioners are involved in advocating for the millage, but have taken a conservative approach to dealing with it during their regular business, and AAPAC meetings have not included discussion on the topic since the August 28, 2012  meeting. That approach stands in contrast to a recent park advisory commission meeting, when one of the park commissioners spoke during public commentary to urge support for the parks millage renewal. [Full Story]

Questions Raised over Dreiseitl Sculpture

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (June 27, 2012): A written report from the public art administrator – explaining why there’s been no water in the Dreiseitl sculpture in front of city hall – led to a broader discussion at AAPAC’s June meeting about that signature piece of public art.

View of the water sculpture by Herbert Dreisietl, looking down from the sixth floor of city hall

View of the water sculpture by Herbert Dreiseitl, looking down from the sixth floor of city hall on June 27. There was no water running on this particular day. (Photos by the writer.)

Commissioned by the city from German artist Herbert Dreiseitl and dedicated in October of 2011, the work was designed to use rainwater collected from the roofs of city hall and the adjacent Justice Center. But water has flowed through the fountain only sporadically. The original water pumps clogged and malfunctioned, and are being replaced with a new pump. Yet even when that new pump is functioning, the two tanks, which can hold a total of 2,300 gallons of water are currently dry, and no water is available at this point to run through the sculpture.

Saying that people have asked him why the fountain isn’t working, commissioner John Kotarski asked whether Dreiseitl intended the sculpture to reflect the seasonal rain cycle. Kotarski said he previously hadn’t heard that narrative applied to the sculpture, until it was mentioned in the report by Aaron Seagraves, the city’s public art administrator. Kotarski was appointed to AAPAC well after the sculpture was approved.

Cathy Gendron, who was serving on AAPAC when the project was recommended for approval in 2009, said her expectation had been that water would be a standard part of the piece. She wondered whether something had changed during the engineering process. She noted that it was the first project undertaken by the commission after its formation as part of the city’s Percent for Art program. [It is also the city's largest public art expenditure to date, costing over $750,000.]

Kotarski praised the project, calling Dreiseitl a world-renowned sculptor and noting that Ann Arbor now has something in its public art collection that other cities would love to have. But he called for a full report of the project ”with all of its glory and all of its warts,” so that AAPAC could find out and learn from what has happened.

Commissioners agreed to compile a list of questions to be forwarded to the project’s design team. There was no formal action taken regarding the kind of report that Kotarski requested.

Later in the meeting, commissioners did take action on two items related to AAPAC’s mural program: (1) approval of the final design for a mixed-media mural at Allmendinger Park; and (2) approval of a statement of qualifications (SOQ) to seek potential artists for future murals.

Also at the June 27 meeting, AAPAC vice chair Malverne Winborne made a strategic planning proposal that he had first floated at the commission’s retreat in February. The idea is to approach a plan for public art by looking at quadrants of the city, to help guide the selection of projects and ensure that all parts of the city are represented. Commissioners were supportive of the general concept, but ultimately tabled the item for further discussion at their July 25 meeting.

Two other items were tabled until that July meeting: (1) a discussion on a possible endorsement policy for privately funded art projects; and (2) action on two new proposed public art projects, at the Forest Avenue Plaza in the South University area, and at the future roundabout at South State and Ellsworth.

Commissioners also discussed plans for AAPAC’s participation in the July 16 Townie Street Party. The event is hosted by the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair as a kickoff to the annual art fairs, which run this year from July 18-21. AAPAC has a table in the “Creative Connections” tent. Hannah Nathans, a University of Michigan student intern with the city, has painted a five-foot-tall poster evoking a well-known mural on East Liberty Street by Richard Wolk. It’s intended to be an interactive feature – people can poke their faces through cut-out holes and get their pictures taken. [Full Story]

Design for Allmendinger Park Mural OK’d

The design for a mixed-media mural on pillars at the Allmendinger Park building was approved by members of the Ann Arbor public art commission at their June 27, 2012 meeting. [.pdf of mural design]

AAPAC selected Ann Arbor muralist Mary Thiefels of TreeTown Murals for the project at its Jan. 25, 2012 meeting. The final design has been changed from her original proposal, based on feedback from a mural task force, and is more abstract than the original. An initial $10,000 budget later had been increased to $12,000, with $7,200 of that amount to be paid for with a grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

Thiefel’s project includes working with local schools and incorporating ideas from students into her design – … [Full Story]

Public Art Commission Works on Strategic Plan

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (May 23, 2012): Much of this month’s AAPAC meeting was focused on developing a strategic plan for the next three years, with commissioners brainstorming about possible locations and types of public art projects they’d like to see in Ann Arbor.

Public art planning process

Draft of a schematic showing the Ann Arbor public art commission's process, from ideas through implementation. Other steps include decision-making, task force work, artist proposals, and selection. The flow chart is being designed by Hannah Nathans, a University of Michigan undergraduate who's working as an intern with the city. (Photos by the writer.)

Ideas included public art at the planned South State and Ellsworth roundabout, projects in underserved neighborhoods, the traffic island at the Washtenaw split with East Stadium, the dog park at Ellsworth and Platt, the non-motorized path along Washtenaw Avenue, and the skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park. About $500,000 is available in unallocated Percent for Art funds, with an estimated $200,000 to $300,000 coming in to the program annually from upcoming capital projects.

The discussion led some commissioners to speculate on the possibility of changing the composition of AAPAC to increase the number of commissioners, so that more people would be available to handle the work. Another possibility  they discussed was making the public art administrator’s job a full-time position. Currently, the public art administrator’s job is defined as 20 hours per week, with additional hours added for management of specific projects. After some discussion, it seems unlikely that commissioners will pursue either of those options at this time.

The commission handled two action items during the May 23 meeting. Connie Rizzolo Brown was recommended to represent AAPAC on a new city task force for the North Main/Huron River corridor. The task force had been established by the city council at its May 7, 2012 meeting with 10 members, then expanded at the council’s May 21 meeting to include four additional members. The council vote to add an AAPAC representative had passed on a 6-5 split, with some councilmembers concerned that the group was getting too large.

At their May 23 meeting, art commissioners also voted to fully fund the mural project at Allmendinger Park for $12,000. Previously, an initial $10,000 budget later had been increased to $12,000, with $7,200 of that amount to be paid for with a grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. But the city council first must formally accept the grant, and that’s not expected to happen until its June 18 meeting. Meanwhile, Percent for Art funds will be allocated to the project so that a contract can be executed with artist Mary Thiefels. The foundation grant will eventually reimburse the program for this project.

Also discussed at Wednesday’s meeting were the upcoming Golden Paintbrush awards, which will likely be presented at the city council’s June 18 meeting. The awards recognize local contributions to public art. This year, former AAPAC chair Margaret Parker will be among those artists honored. [Full Story]

Transitions for Ann Arbor Art Commission

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (Jan. 25, 2012): Two new commissioners – Bob Miller and John Kotarski – attended the art commission’s first meeting of 2012, and joined other AAPAC members in approving two public art projects.

Wiltrud Simbuerger

Ann Arbor public art commissioner Wiltrud Simbuerger, showing other commission members some proposals from artists for a mural at Allmendinger Park. A local artist, Mary Thiefels, has been selected for that project. (Photos by the writer.)

The group unanimously recommended selecting Ed Carpenter of Portland, Oregon for a $150,000 art project in the lobby of the city’s Justice Center, located at the corner of East Huron and Fifth Avenue. A task force had recommended the selection of Carpenter’s proposal from three finalists. It’s a sculpture called “Radius”.

Carpenter plans to create a hanging sculpture of dichroic glass, aluminum, stainless steel and lighting, including LED spot and flood lighting. Among the reasons for recommending Radius, the task force cited the sculpture’s metaphor: That the activities in the Justice Center have a “rippling” effect throughout the community, which echos the water sculpture by Herbert Dreiseitl that’s located in the plaza outside the building.

The Justice Center, a new building next to city hall, houses the 15th District Court and the Ann Arbor police department. The commission’s recommendation will be forwarded to the city council for approval.

In other action, the art commission voted to select Ann Arbor muralist Mary Thiefels for a mural project to be located on pillars at a building in Allmendinger Park. A task force had recommended her selection from among four finalists. Her proposal entails asking neighborhood residents for artifacts to create mosaics at the top and bottom of the pillars. The task force recommended that they continue to work with Thiefels on designing the remainder of the mural in the middle sections of the pillars.

Commissioners liked the concept of “found object” mosaics, but questioned whether the $10,000 budget was sufficient. They ultimately voted to approve selecting Thiefels for the project, contingent on her submission of a revised proposal and budget, with additional input from the task force. This project is the first one in a pilot mural program started last year by former commissioner Jeff Meyers.

AAPAC also discussed possible artwork for four sites connected to the East Stadium bridges, which are being reconstructed. The two commissioners who serve on a task force for that project – Wiltrud Simbuerger and Bob Miller – indicated that the budget recommendation will likely be at least $250,000 for artwork there. The task force is currently developing a request for proposals to be issued in the coming weeks.

In the context of developing their annual art plan for fiscal 2013, which by ordinance must be delivered to the city council by April 1, commissioners decided to hold a retreat next month. In addition to shaping the annual plan, the aim of the retreat is to develop a master plan that would provide a broader conceptual framework to guide AAPAC’s decisions. Input from an online survey of the public will also be used – the survey remains open until Feb. 20, and has garnered more than 400 responses so far. [Full Story]

Art Commission Moves Ahead on Projects

At its Jan. 25, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor public art commission recommended approving the artist Ed Carpenter of Portland, Oregon for a $150,000 art project in the lobby of the city’s Justice Center, located at the corner of East Huron and Fifth Avenue. A task force had recommended the selection of Carpenter’s proposal – a sculpture called “Radius” – from three finalists. Members of the task force who recommended Carpenter are Elaine Sims, Margaret Parker, Spring Tremaine, Karl Daubmann, Maureen Devine, Laura Rubin, Ray Detter, Margie Teal, Homayoon Pirooz, and Aaron Seagraves.

Carpenter’s proposal calls for creating a hanging sculpture of dichroic glass, aluminum, stainless steel and lighting, including LED spot and flood lighting. The intent of the artwork is to reflect how … [Full Story]

After Resignation, Who Leads Mural Program?

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (July 27, 2011): For the second month in a row, Ann Arbor’s public art commission had too few members to achieve a quorum and didn’t take any action at Wednesday’s meeting.  But commissioners discussed a range of projects already underway.

Mock-up section of Dreiseitl water sculpture

A mock-up section of the sculpture by Herbert Dreiseitl that's commissioned for the entrance to the Ann Arbor municipal center. The piece is made of bronze, with blue glass lights embedded. In this photo, water is flowing over the section, as it will when installed. (Photo courtesy of Quinn Evans Architects)

One issue: How to proceed with recommending a replacement for Jeff Meyers, who resigned from AAPAC in June, mid-way through his three-year term. The main concern among commissioners is who can take over leadership of a new mural program that Meyers had initiated. Margaret Parker indicated she’ll also be leaving the commission in the coming months, creating another vacancy on the nine-member commission.

The mayor, John Hieftje, is responsible for making nominations to AAPAC. Those nominations also require confirmation by the full city council. On Wednesday, AAPAC commissioners discussed the need for better communication with Hieftje, and said they hoped to find out what criteria he was using to make the selection – the most recent appointment Hieftje made to AAPAC was done without their input, after he rejected someone they’d recruited. Communication has also been lacking regarding Meyers’ resignation – in a phone interview with The Chronicle following AAPAC’s July meeting, Meyers said the mayor hasn’t acknowledged his resignation.

In other topics at Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners briefly discussed a written update they’d received about the Herbert Dreiseitl water sculpture being built for the entrance to the municipal center. Installation is still on track for next month.

Also in August – at city council’s Aug. 4 meeting – winners of the annual Golden Paintbrush awards will be honored. AAPAC selected the winners, who are recognized for their contributions to public art, via an online poll last month. This year, winners are: (1) Krazy Jim’s Blimpie Burger, for the Snow Bears sculptures they build each winter in front of their business at Packard and South Division; (2) Mary Thiefels and Treetown Murals for the mural outside the Alley Bar along West Liberty; and (3) Peter Allen & Associates, for rock sculptures on North Main Street. [Full Story]

Meyers Resigns Ann Arbor Art Commission

Jeff Meyers, who was appointed to the Ann Arbor public art commission in early 2010, sent a formal notice of resignation last month to mayor John Hieftje, stepping down from AAPAC about mid-way through his three-year term. Meyers had been appointed in early 2010, with a term running through Dec. 31, 2013.  The news was discussed at the July 27, 2011 AAPAC meeting, as commissioners considered who might take over leadership of a task force for a new mural program that Meyers had initiated.

His resignation was foreshadowed at AAPAC’s June 2011 meeting, which he did not attend. AAPAC chair Marsha Chamberlin had told other commissioners that Meyers wanted to relinquish his leadership of the mural program – she … [Full Story]

Art Commission Briefed on Murals, Dreiseitl

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (June 22, 2011): With only four of their nine members present, the commission didn’t have a quorum for its monthly meeting – but no major votes were on the agenda, so the meeting consisted primarily of updates.

Aaron Seagraves, Marsha Chamberlin

Aaron Seagraves, the city's public arts administrator, and Marsha Chamberlin, chair of the Ann Arbor public art commission, in the entryway atrium of city hall, which is still being renovated. Mosaics by the artist Gerry Kamrowski, formerly at the entrance to city hall, will be installed on the wall behind Chamberlin. (Photo by the writer.)

One of those updates included a report that Jeff Meyers, a commissioner who has launched a public mural program, no longer wants to take the lead in that effort. The pilot program has proposed creating murals at Allmendinger Park and on a retaining wall along Huron Parkway. Because of low turnout at two recent neighborhood forums about the murals, city staff now plan to post an online survey to solicit feedback about the locations.

The commission also got updates on several other projects, including a large water sculpture by Herbert Dreiseitl that’s on track for installation in August. Large bronze plates are being cast at a firm in Warren, Michigan, and site work is continuing in front of the municipal center, where the sculpture will be located.

The commission is also seeking members for a selection committee to choose additional artwork for the lobby of the justice center – the new building at Fifth and Huron that’s adjacent to city hall. (Together, the buildings are known in some circles as the “municipal center.”) A statement of qualifications/request for proposals for the lobby art has been issued, with a deadline for responses extended until Sept. 1. The previous May 31 deadline did not yield sufficient responses for the project, which has an artist’s budget of up to $150,000. [Full Story]

Public Art Commission: “Get the Word Out”

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (May 25, 2011): Wednesday’s AAPAC meeting began with introductions – commissioners were meeting the city’s new public art administrator, Aaron Seagraves, for the first time.

Public art signs

Signs designed by the Ann Arbor public art commission's public relations committee, featuring a QR code for smart phones that directs people to AAPAC's website. (Photos by the writer.)

Seagraves, who started his job earlier this month, had already attended a neighborhood forum for a proposed mural project at Allmendinger Park – five residents showed up, he reported.

That low attendance reflected one theme touching several topics throughout this month’s AAPAC meeting – the need to get the word out about various public art projects. Three nominations had been received so far for the annual Golden Paintbrush awards, with a deadline of May 30. And only two people had responded to a request seeking artists for public art in the lobby of the city’s new municipal center, at the corner of Fifth and Huron. A deadline for submission has been extended through mid-July, in hopes that additional artists will respond.

Commissioners also got updates on the Herbert Dreiseitl sculpture – expected to be installed in front of the renovated city hall in August – and on plans for public art in the proposed Fuller Road Station. Though Fuller Road Station hasn’t been formally approved, a task force is working on placing public art at the structure. The station will be a large parking facility, bus depot and possible train station that would be jointly built by the city of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan.

Finally, commissioners wrapped up the meeting with their only action item: Electing Malverne Winborne as vice chair. [Full Story]

What’s Next for Public Mural Program?

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (April 27, 2011): Commissioners were taken aback at their April meeting when told by city staff that a mural program – one that’s been in the works for months – might need to be delayed.

Tree sculpture and band shell in West Park

One of two metal tree sculptures near the band shell in West Park, funded by Ann Arbor's Percent for Art program. The tree sculpture stands about 10 feet tall, and is located on tiered seating that's built into the hill across from the band shell. (Photos by the writer.)

At issue was the fact that the 2011 annual public art plan, which includes the mural pilot program, was never officially approved by Ann Arbor city council. Though the plan was approved last year by AAPAC and forwarded to city staff, it was never placed on council’s agenda.

Some commissioners questioned whether approval of the plan is needed, noting that the West Park public art project – which was also in the 2011 plan – moved ahead and was actually completed last fall. Ultimately, it appears the mural program can move forward with plans to hold public meetings regarding proposed sites in Allmendinger Park and along Huron Parkway, but no contracts can be signed with artists until the council approves the newest annual plan – for fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1. AAPAC approved that plan at the April 27 meeting.

In other business, the West Park art project was brought up again as a separate item of discussion – commissioners learned that the project had incurred $5,438 more in expenses than had been budgeted, because of unanticipated administrative costs.

The commission also got updates on: (1) the Herbert Dreiseitl water sculpture, which is expected to be installed in front of the municipal center in August; and (2) public art being planned for the proposed Fuller Road Station.

Commissioners also discussed promoting the annual Golden Paintbrush awards – nominations are being sought to recognize local contributions to public art. Nomination forms can be downloaded from AAPAC’s website, and are due May 30.

In its final action of the meeting, AAPAC elected Marsha Chamberlin as chair, though she did not attend the meeting. She has served as acting chair for several months, and had agreed to step into the permanent role. [Full Story]

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] [Full Story]

Art Commission Votes Again on Mural Sites

Ann Arbor public art commission special meeting (April 13, 2011): Because a March 11 special meeting did not conform with noticing requirements under the state’s Open Meetings Act, AAPAC held another special meeting on Wednesday to vote again on the selection of two sites for a new mural program.

Drawing of location for a proposed mural along Huron Parkway

A sketch by Cathy Gendron of the location for a proposed mural along Huron Parkway, on Ann Arbor's east side. The mural site is indicated with a thin rectangle near the letters "G.C.", which mark the Huron Hills Golf Course.

At the March 11 meeting, which was covered by The Chronicle, AAPAC member Jeff Meyers had presented recommendations from a public mural task force he chairs. The two sites – a building at Allmendinger Park, and a retaining wall along Huron Parkway – will be the first for a pilot mural project spearheaded by Meyers.

At the previous special meeting, commissioners had held a lengthy discussion before voting to approve the sites. The meeting on Wednesday was far shorter, with Meyers giving a brief summary of the selection process. Two of the five members who attended Wednesday had not been present at the March 11 session, however, and they had some questions about the sites.

Meyers also reported that since March, city staff have advised him to make a presentation at the next meeting of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission, since the sites are near or within city parks. Two public meetings – one for each site – will also be scheduled, to get input from residents. [Full Story]

Public Art Group Picks Two Mural Sites

Ann Arbor public art commission special meeting (March 11, 2011): A building at Allmendinger Park and a retaining wall along Huron Parkway have been selected as mural sites for a pilot program funded by the city’s Percent for Art program.

Building at Allmendinger Park

The pillars on this building at Allmendinger Park have been identified by a task force as one of two sites for a mural pilot program, to be funded by the Ann Arbor Percent for Art. (Photos by the writer.)

A special meeting on Friday was called specifically to vote on the site recommendations, which were made by a task force chaired by AAPAC member Jeff Meyers. He reported that the locations were chosen because they are highly visible, in different parts of the city, and in different types of environments – a residential neighborhood and a major thoroughfare.

Though some concerns were voiced during the meeting, ultimately the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the sites and the budget of $10,000 per mural. The task force will move ahead with the projects, including holding a neighborhood meeting for residents near Allmendinger Park, and selecting artists for the murals.

If this pilot program is successful, the goal is to create at least two additional murals each year. [Full Story]

Mural Project OK’d, West Park Art Installed

Ann Arbor Public Art Commission meeting (Nov. 9, 2010): At a meeting lasting just over three hours, AAPAC commissioners approved a pilot program that aims to add at least two murals per year throughout the city.

West Park tree sculpture

One of two metal tree sculptures at West Park, bookending the top tier of new wall seats for the park's bandshell. The work by artist Traven Pelletier is the first completed project funded by the city's Percent for Art program. (Photos by the writer.)

Commissioners also discussed how to publicize AAPAC’s first completed project funded by the Percent for Art program: two metal tree sculptures by artist Traven Pelletier, installed at the renovated West Park. A formal recognition of the project is expected to occur in connection with the park’s official re-opening, sometime in the spring of 2011.

There was also discussion about how to pay for repairs of the Sun Dragon, a sculpture at Fuller Pool by AAPAC chair Margaret Parker that was damaged several months ago by maintenance workers. At the suggestion of Sue McCormick, the city’s public services administrator, AAPAC could consider the project as an “asset renewal” – meaning they could treat it as a new project, which would make it eligible for funding under the city’s Percent for Art program. [The Percent for Art program captures 1% from the budget of all city capital projects, to be set aside for public art.] One commissioner jokingly referred to the asset renewal approach as “creative financing.”

AAPAC chair Margaret Parker reported that the final $553,320 funding request for the Herbert Dreiseitl water sculpture outside of the new municipal center would be voted on by Ann Arbor city council at their Nov. 15 meeting. A task force is working on recommendations for additional artwork inside the new building, with a $250,000 budget. The commission discussed how that might include a venue for displaying temporary installations, like the oversized puppets created for FestiFools, an annual street festival held in April.

The commission discussed how to handle donations of art to the city, in response to a recent gift to the mayor and city council from the Ann Arbor Summer Festival of a large photograph of the event by local photographer Myra Klarman. AAPAC also got updates on the hiring process for a new public art administrator, as well as proposed changes to its website.

This was the first meeting attended by AAPAC’s newest commissioner, Malverne Winborne, who was confirmed by city council in October. Winborne is director of Eastern Michigan University’s Charter Schools Office. [Full Story]

Public Art Mural Program in the Works

Ann Arbor Public Art Commission meeting (Sept. 14, 2010): A proposed mural program, still in its formative stages, is being developed by AAPAC’s newest commissioner, Jeff Meyers, as a way to generate more public art in the community. At Tuesday’s meeting, Meyers presented a draft proposal for the effort, which aims to fund two murals during the current fiscal year from the city’s Percent for Art program, with the goal of eventually creating four murals each year.

Mural on Grizzly Peak building

This mural on the back of the Grizzly Peak building, visible from Ashley and Huron, was created by graffiti artist Antonio “Shades” Agee earlier this year. It was mentioned by Ann Arbor public art commissioners in a discussion of a proposed Percent for Art mural program. (Photos by the writer.)

The commission also got an update on bids from potential fabricators of the water sculpture designed by Herbert Dreiseitl at the new municipal center. Two companies made bids, and both came in over the $458,000 fabrication budget. (That’s part of the total $737,820 project budget, not including design fees.) Project manager Ken Clein of Quinn Evans Architects is working with the firms to lower the bids before making a selection.

AAPAC members had also hoped to hear good news about filling one of two vacancies on the commission. Lee Doyle, a member of the University of Michigan President’s Advisory Committee for Public Art who also oversees the UM Film Office, was interested in joining AAPAC. But on Tuesday, commissioners were told that mayor John Hieftje, who makes nominations to the commission, instead wants to appoint someone who resides in Ann Arbor – Doyle lives outside the city. This news prompted a discussion of AAPAC’s role in soliciting people to serve.

Other agenda items included updates on projects in West Park and the proposed Fuller Road Station, a draft of guidelines for working with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, and approval of AAPAC’s annual report. [Full Story]