The Town of Moline supports the first public art program in Quebec


The town of Moline is the first of the quadruple towns to have a formal public art and place-building plan, as the long-term plan was adopted last week by Moline city council.

The $ 50,000 plan was funded primarily by the Moline Foundation and was carried out under the leadership of Renew Moline in cooperation with the city. A nine-member Public Art Steering Committee (formed in late 2019) guided the selection of consultants and recommended Designing Local, based in Columbus, Ohio, who led the process.

“The City has a rich tradition of supporting and bringing together a vast collection of public art that includes, among others, fountains, sculptures and murals. The City has long understood the aesthetic, place-creating and determining value of public art, the cultural importance of public art and the contributions to the promotion of a better quality of life for the residents of the City than public art offers ”, according to the adopted ordinance. by the board.

“However, the city’s public art collection has been mostly supported and assembled informally, without a coordination plan or set of policies,” he says. “The City, understanding the importance of public art in promoting a better quality of life, defining space and creating places, thus promoting broader economic development goals and objectives in the city. city-wide, wanted to establish a more formal public art program, with systems and policies aimed at providing a funding mechanism and an overall coordination plan to promote and facilitate the installation of public art on public and private properties in key areas of the city.

The adopted plan includes a vision and mission statement for Moline’s public art program, as well as policies for general administration, use of funds, art acquisition, donation and management of the community. program collection and public art collection.

“We are very excited. It was a two-year process, ”Renew Moline CEO Alex Elias said on Tuesday. “It was a lot of public engagement. He was speaking with the council. We started by establishing a Public Art Steering Committee in 2019.

Alexandra Elias

“And sure, we weren’t planning on having to deal with a pandemic in the midst of our public engagement, but we got there and we’re just super excited to get started.”

Some of the first steps in implementing the plan include the creation of the City’s Public Art Commission and a public art funding system to support the installation of public art on private and public property. .

The Public Art Commission will be composed of seven members appointed by the mayor, at least one of whom will be a current member of the Historic Preservation Commission, with the advice and consent of City Council. In addition, the mayor will designate a City employee to act as a liaison between the City and the Public Art Commission.

“This staff liaison will work with the commission, to make a recommendation to council on the upcoming budget and what the Public Art Commission sees as opportunities and what it would need from the council to make them happen,” said Elias. “So this is a function that we expect the Public Art Commission to exercise as part of an annual work plan. “

In light of the fact that the city has acquired a new community and economic development team, it plans to participate in some of the initial administration of the Public Art Commission.

“I know the mayor is considering establishing this and then I will help the administration side of the program to make sure it is clear that every year you have to do this work plan,” Elias said, noting that there is no specific budget allocation. the approved council for public art.

“The Public Art Commission on its own can add things that it thinks are important it wants to do, but the public art and place creation plan defines specific locations for public art, hallways specific for public art and some very initial conceptual concepts. ideas for projects on these specific sites, ”she said.

Renew initially recommended that the city set aside $ 100,000 each year for public art, but they realized after conversations with many people that it made more sense to leave that to City Council each year.

“During their annual budgeting process, they would set aside an appropriate amount that they wanted to allocate to public art each year,” Elias said. “So the same way they would look at public works projects and community and economic development projects, they would include public art in that.”

Renew first unveiled the plan to the city at the end of March 2021. On March 24, the Moline Plan Commission approved the public art plan, and commission chairman Craig Mack (who is also a of the public art steering committee) congratulated Designing Local for the thoroughness of their work.

“By approving this public art policy, Moline will be the first Quad-Cities community to have a formal public art program,” Mack wrote to city council. “The diversity of works of art will inspire our residents and draw visitors to our community. “

The city recently applied for a $ 150,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) related to the new plan. A planned $ 300,000 project (requiring local matching of $ 150,000 for the grant) would include two recommendations from the 102-page public art plan, and one outside its scope:

  • The first ($ 75,000, not in the public art plan) is the creation of an identification sign for the Uptown district, at 16th Street and 15th Avenue, to span the intersection, create an identifier neighborhood in one of the historic shopping districts of Moline, new town investments in the streetscape and encourage neighborhood pride.
  • “15 Lights” ($ 150,000), identified in Moline’s public art and creation plan, would be a series of 15 different interactive LED lights on or next to the 15th Street Bridge overpass between River Drive and 4th avenue. Located at a key gateway between the city’s National Register Commercial Historic District and River Drive, it will illuminate, enhance safety and beautify an important pedestrian corridor and may include small murals or other installations.
  • “Play at Sylvan Island” ($ 75,000) was identified by the community during the awareness of the public art plan and the creation of places. It will encourage the recreational use of a small island once used for manufacturing, which is now owned by Moline Parks & Recreation. This location is an important recreational area for an adjacent Hispanic community and the project would complement other initiatives to connect the community to the island.

The city will be notified next April if it gets the NEA grant, which will be matched by a combination of Renew, other grants and funding from the city.

“We assured the city that we wanted this $ 150,000 game, we could cover $ 50,000,” said Elias of Renew. “So we have the impression that the partnership is already well underway, just by applying for this grant and we are delighted to get into project funding. ”

You can see the full plan on www.renewmoline.com.


Kayleen C. Rice

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