creating an arts rich urban environment.

It may not have gained as much media attention as the giant glass pyramid, but Edmonton’s long-awaited Public Art Master Plan (pdf) was presented to City Council’s Community Services Committee on August 25 by Edmonton Arts Council Executive Director John Mahon and Public Art Director Kristy Trinier.

The plan includes three key recommendations that range from funding of staff positions to prevent the further deterioration of current public art, creating an endowment to stabilize long term conservation funds, and modernizing many of Edmonton’s public art and programming policies to meet national standards (including increasing support to community public art programs). The plan also calls for Edmonton to spearhead a number of initiatives including an Art Bank, a Public Art System, a Public Arts Ideas Lecture Series, Graffiti Zones, and a Biennial International Commission to recognize contemporary artists in Alberta’s Capital City.

The plan also calls for the creation of a Percent for Art plan for the public and private sectors which would have the City allocate one percent of its qualifying construction budget of various projects for the procurement of publicly displayed art. The private sector portion of the plan would create incentives for private developers to increase the amount of public art while constructing new developments.

Committee members Karen Leibovici, Don Iveson, and Tony Caterina moved that the plan be approved when presented to City Council on September 17th, 2008.

As other levels of government have been much less supportive of Canada’s creative economy in recent years, I am impressed by the innovative action and refreshing ideas that continue to emerge from municipalities across Canada.

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