The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 18, 2013

City could put art in public places

Ordinance eyes promotion of public projects toward art pieces

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — While it’s still weeks away from being formally filed, an ordinance that would promote public art in Enid got an introduction Tuesday.

Whitney Box, the city’s director of strategic and long-range planning, presented the central tenets of the Art in Public Places ordinance, which has been introduced in other municipalities across the state.

“Enid has the opportunity to embark on an endeavor that will help the community educate, celebrate and commemorate the history and heritage of Enid and the northwestern Oklahoma area,” she said.

Box spoke to members of Enid City Commission during their informal study session.

The ordinance creates the Visual Arts Commission, which would oversee artworks that would be purchased or received by the city. It doesn’t mandate funding, but instead provides a framework for when the city must make decisions on public art.

“Public art tells a story. It’s free to the viewer. It creates education and tourism and elevates our community culturally,” Box said.

The commission will be made up of a representative from Keep Enid Beautiful, Enid Arts Council, a city commissioner and two at-large members. It will be guided by a three-person advisory committee, one of which would be a youth.

“They don’t have to be an artist. They wouldn’t be a voting member, but they would be able to voice their opinion,” Box said of the advisory committee.

Under the ordinance, the city would have to spend 1 percent of each city-funded project more than $250,000 on public art.