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Art committee going ahead without funds

City council will establish a public art committee to carry out a city art program that is yet to be funded.

In December, council adopted a public art policy without a funding strategy. Council couldn’t agree on the best way to pay for the program and opted to wait until next January’s budget planning.

But that didn’t sway council from moving forward with the program.

At the May 27 council meeting, councillors approved forming a committee to get started on administrative duties that Ross Milnthorp, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation, and culture, said could be performed prior to a council decision on funding.

“There’s quite a number of preparatory things that can be done prior to funding by the committee,” Milnthorp said. “Things such as encouraging partnerships between artists and private developers; they will have to research and recommend guidelines to ensure open and transparent processes and ensure aesthetic diversity.”

Coun. Claire Moglove, though, wasn’t sure if council was putting the horse before the cart.

“I’m a little concerned about establishing the public art committee when we have no funding for this committee,” Moglove said. “I’m curious as to what would be the goal of this committee that has no funding.”

Milnthorp said the recommendation to proceed with setting up a public art committee was brought forward by the city’s Community Services, Recreation and Culture Commission because the commission believes the committee will need time, if council does approve the funding in 2015, to get up and running.

The public art policy is intended to support public art in the city and incorporate it into the design of selected city and private developments. The committee will advise council on the art policy and be responsible for the selection and placement of all the public art work projects.

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