Whenever the city builds a major construction project, it needs to set aside 2 percent of the budget for on-site public art. It’s why you might have noticed artworks on your neighborhood fire station, for instance.
But the policy creates a weird situation for things like major water projects, which for security reasons are mostly closed to the public.
After we covered the situation – which has led to beautiful and expensive artworks that basically no one sees – Councilman David Alvarez asked the city attorney if there’s any way around the issue.
As Kinsee Morlan reported Friday, the city attorney’s opinion is basically: It’s complicated.
Yes, City Attorney Mara Elliott wrote, it’s possible to use a project’s art funding off-site, where people might actually see it, as long as it has a direct connection to the project. For instance, an educational piece on water conservation might work.
She warned, however, that education couldn’t just be used as a pretext to relocate artwork that will really just benefit the general public.