Tablet Opinion

Arts commission has big plan for major new work

For the past several years, Fort Worth has made substantial additions to its public art collection and, thanks to a decision by the City Council in 2001, there will be a lot more to come.

The ordinance requires that 2 percent of capital improvement programs be designated for public art, and while members of subsequent councils have questioned that amount, for the most part they have gone along with the allocation — until this year.

In preparation for the 2014 bond proposal, the council approved the full allocation for all propositions in the package except the largest one: transportation. Rather than devoting 2 percent of $219.74 million in streets/transportation money for art projects, the council approved only 1 percent, reducing the total public art portion from $5.4 million to $3.8 million.

But that decision has led to what some consider a new and bold recommendation from the city’s art commission that could result in another major art work for the city.

Instead of funding several smaller or less significant pieces using money from the transportation proposition, the commission is proposing pooling some of those dollars — $1.66 million — to help create an “iconic” public art piece that would represent all of Fort Worth.

That amount, coupled with private funding, could produce a splendid work that could have an immediate impact on the city’s cultural scene.

The proposal to allocate funds from this and all the other bond projects (libraries, parks, fire station, community centers, etc.) is just the first step in long process of commissioning public art. As with all of its proposals, the Fort Worth Arts Commission seeks public input on its draft for the 2014 Capital Improvement Plan.

Before the final plan is adopted by the council in October, the commission will hold two public hearings: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods, 818 Missouri Ave.; and 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Northwest Library, 6228 Crystal Lake Drive.

Let your voices be heard on these issues.

And although you’ve probably encountered much of the public art in the city, the commission has set up on its website ( self-guided, family-friendly mini-tour maps to get you more acquainted with some of the works. It’s a great way to spend a day of “stay-cation.”