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Commission to provide outlets for art displays

WORTHINGTON -- After months of work and research, the new Worthington Public Arts Commission (WPAC) is in its final stage of being adopted as an advisory board for the city council. Upon publication of the ordinance in the Daily Globe, the commission will be established.

The commission will have several responsibilities, including providing public art opportunities within the city, identifying funding sources for art projects and ensuring proper maintenance and disposal of the projects.

Artwork can range from murals, sculptures, to park benches and imprints. The projects can be displayed on city property, residential or non-residential areas, as long as the displays are visible from public spaces.

Parties interested in public art projects must first complete a proposal form and present it to the WPAC. Presenters must address details such as the project description, dimensions, estimated cost and proposed funding sources.

The seven-member commission will evaluate the proposal based on the guidelines, standards, criteria and public benefits. Applicants will have access to the evaluation criteria from an informational packet they will receive.

Upon their evaluation, the commission will serve as an advisory body to city council, presenting the project plan. There will then be a 30-day public comment window before any action is determined by city council.

Gail Holinka, Worthington High School art teacher, explained that the need for the commission arose when students from the Art, Optimist, and Kiwanis (AOK) Club received a grant to undertake a mural project during the 2010 Regatta. After the completion of the murals, students didn't have public avenues to display their artwork. The murals were finally displayed by Sailboard Beach.

Holinka continued that she approached city council members and city administrator Craig Clark to collaborate in the formation of a public arts commission.

"We wrote a grant to Forecast Public Art," she said, adding that she partnered with Clark, Alderman Mike Woll, Margaret Hurlburt-Vosburgh and Worthington Parks Supervisor Scott Rosenberg. "The money allowed us to travel to cities to see how other communities were forming public art commissions."

Alderman Mike Woll added that it was necessary to design policies and procedures for future art endeavors.

"It's tough to do it after the fact," he said. "This is an opportunity to funnel some enthusiasm in a positive way for both public and private properties."

In addition, the commission will provide the city with further grant opportunities to fund art projects.

"At this time, there isn't annual appropriation of dollars from the city, but we hope to look for grants for community betterment," Clark said. "A lot remains to be seen, but we're headed into the right direction."

The WPAC will consist of seven members, five of whom will be members at-large, one city council member and a non-voting member who will be either a high school or college student.

Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony may be reached at 376-7321.