Members of the Special Events and Cultural Amenities Commission, Naperville Century Walk, and Art of Inclusion met this morning to discuss the potential creation of a Public Art Task Force.
Naperville City Council asked SECA and other relevant parties to look into the task force, some future members of which might have been in attendance at this exploratory meeting. They’d be tasked with bringing both temporary and permanent public art projects to Naperville as well as maintaining existing city art.
Public Art Discussions
This topic has been discussed at different levels for over a year, and for much of that time, Century Walk has advocated taking on the responsibilities itself in exchange for a guaranteed allocation of city funds to operate. Currently, the nonprofit applies through SECA, but is not always allocated its full grant request.
Century Walk founder Brand Bobosky again pushed to be made a city obligation at Tuesday’s meeting, similar to organizations like Naper Settlement, the Naperville Municipal Band and NCTV17. He said they’ve demonstrated proven success over a 25-year period and it would be more difficult to “reinvent the wheel” by creating a new task force. Century Walk submitted a Long Range Plan for Public Art prior to the March 16 Naperville City Council meeting, outlining a path to becoming a city obligation. That document proposed $200,000 be allocated for Century Walk annually, more than any city obligation or SECA grant recipient currently receives. That item was tabled at the meeting.
Hearing More Voices
SECA Chairman Melvin Kim replied saying Century Walk’s proposal could still be the path forward, but these conversations were necessary to give all parties who want to be involved a chance to be heard. He called it a collaboration and a more inclusive process.
The group also discussed the makeup of the potential task force. The city recommended to keep the group small, between six and nine members. Art of Inclusion Executive Board Member Tony Andrews said he’d like to see various age groups, genders, and races represented on the task force.
No specific names were thrown out at the meeting, but the group also said having someone with a financial background and someone with experience with community engagement would be assets on the task force.
Aurora’s Public Art
The exploratory group also heard a presentation from Aurora Public Art Director Jennifer Evans, who provided guidance on how Naperville’s neighbor works with public art.
She provided advice to the group based on the process for bringing public art to Aurora, saying she’d like it to be more streamlined and have her funding tied to a percentage of the city’s budget.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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