City Council gives first nod to permanent public art program | Local

The city’s public art program will likely become a permanent fixture in Fort Wayne after receiving preliminary approval from City Council tonight.

The public art program was established on March 20, 2018, with a sunset clause that stated it would end four years later without action from council members. Councilors Tom Freistroffer, R-at wide, and Glynn Hines, D-at wide, who proposed the program in 2018, brought an amendment to the council not only to extend it, but to make it permanent by removing the sunset clause .

The public art program created the Public Art Commission and a restitution program. The rebate requires developers who receive a Tax Increase Funding Incentive, which gradually applies corporate property tax on new investments, to pay 1% of the total amount of the public art incentive. Required contributions are capped at $100,000.

Developers then have the option to spend 50% of their contribution on public art located on their own properties or the full amount goes to the fund for art projects all over the city.

More than $225,000 has been raised through the rebate program, said Paul Spoelhof, director of community development planning and policy. More than half of the money was used for neighborhood projects, such as the Faces of the Fort mural series.

“This is a concept that was untested prior to the creation of the public art program and the funding source,” he said. “What we’ve demonstrated over the past four years is not just the success of the program and the community’s enthusiasm for public art, but that developers are embracing this program.”

The amendment cleared its first hurdle with an 8-1 vote. Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, said he opposes the public art program because he doesn’t think the art should be publicly funded or run by local government.

Members will vote at the next meeting, but preliminary votes rarely change.

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Kayleen C. Rice