Keller Citizen

Keller expanding public arts as part of $4.25 million in Old Town improvements

"Circle of Friends" at the Keller Public Library is part of the city's public arts program.
"Circle of Friends" at the Keller Public Library is part of the city's public arts program. Star-Telegram archives
Keller prides itself on being a city that loves its art.
Now, the city is growing its Old Town rotating sculpture program this spring. Six new pieces will join the five existing sculptures as part of $4.25 million in recent improvements to the area.
The five currently in place were installed last year within a six-block radius south of Keller Parkway and west of Main Street.
"The project has been very well received. Old Town Keller visitors seem to love the sculptures," said Sarah Hensley, who manages the city's public arts program. "We even have a creative prankster that staff has started calling the 'Old Town Keller Art Bandit,' who has very carefully added entertaining elements to the sculptures for us to find in the morning such as attaching a blow-up dolphin to 'Water Splash,' or adding a swaddled baby doll to the beak of 'Yves Klein Blue Herron' as if it were a stork. The additions are intricately constructed to prevent any damage to the sculptures and to ensure easy removal for staff."
Art is replaced annually in a rotating fashion. The sculptures put up last year will be replaced in 2019, and the ones going up this year will be withdrawn in 2020.
The Keller Public Arts Board is on track to select six new pieces in early April to be installed by the end of June. The program is limited to original work from Texas artists, which must be family appropriate, pose no risk to safety and made of materials that can withstand the weather and require no maintenance.
"In 2017, we had a few artists from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a few from East Texas. I’m looking forward to seeing who submits this year," Hensley said.
“Several other Texas cities have art-on-loan programs, but we feel implementing ours in combination with the larger public improvement project in Old Town Keller sets it apart. All of our projects aim to expose residents and visitors to different types of art, and we hope the rotating program also helps generate interest and excitement for the area by providing a dynamic exhibit along the area’s new pedestrian promenade," said Brenda Wyatt, arts board chairwoman.
"We’ve received positive feedback both from the community and the participating artists, which is important because we want to continue growing Keller’s reputation as a place where artists want to display their work.”
Hensley said the program is funded through the city’s art development fee. Revenue from the fee goes into a dedicated fund for public art.
A $1,250 honorarium will be awarded for each of the six pieces chosen to exhibit. A Best in Show winner will be awarded an additional $500. Selected pieces will also be made available for purchase by the public.
The pieces are officially showcased at the annual Keller Art Walk, which this year will be held on Nov. 10.
"Public art has become an integral piece of Keller’s quality of life in recent years, and as a city we’ve developed a reputation for embracing a variety of beautiful and interesting pieces," Mayor Pat McGrail said. "There is truly something for every art lover on display in our facilities or along our trails, and our vision in Old Town Keller is to feature works as charming as the businesses in that district."

'A Night of Artists and Chefs' -- a series of dinners to be taped in April for a TV pilot -- will focus on Fort Worth's diverse dining scene and vibrant arts community. The pilot will be pitched to networks for a possible series.

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