Document by David Alston, Deputy Director of Arts, looking at policy for
Art in Public Places. Probably written in 1986.
ART IN PUBLIC PLACES
A Policy Statement
A commitment by the Labour Group in Council to the promotion of the
philosophy and practice of Art in Public Places has formed part of successive
policy manifestos since 1983/84. This paper draws some of the threads
together and envisages how this policy can be progressed.
Art in Public Places
- Art as part of the environment spells environmental improvement.
It means revitalisation. It creates interest. It provides a human touch.
It engages people.
- Art involves the community. Many commissions and their context help
the collectivity to find expression to give expression to identity,
to feel part of something.
- Art employs. Art talents, trained professional talents, are under
used in society. At the same time, old skills and crafts are being lost.
- Art helps investment. It is a sign of a place being alive and not
- Art content in cities and environments helps produce more relaxed
spaces, and promotes a more public touristic atmosphere.
The current situation
The Arts Department has pursued activities such as Touring Exhibitions,
Artist Placement Schemes and is currently exploring new possibilities
for Art in Schools. In addition to this the City's Art Acquisition Fund
has adopted a dual role of both adding to the Art Galleries' permanent
collections (its traditional and vital role) and funding more Art in Public
Places and projects eg the siting of works by George Fullard, the encouragement
of such schemes as the Bassetts' Purchase Commissions 1986, the co-funding
of the Steelworker project, the co-funding of current Leadmill commissions.
Until the current year Land and Planning have operated a facilitating
fund which has enabled projects such as the Steelworker to go ahead.
Furthermore there are specific recommendations in respect of the Central
Area Plan for the city which under the heading Community, Recreation and
Tourism seek to promote art content in the city centre.
No other council agencies have, to our knowledge, adopted strategies
or policies designed to promote the arts as an ingredient of the environment
though policy groups and officers involved with the Lower Don Valley have
sought advice and involvement from the Arts Department on occasion.
The resolve to further Art in Public Places, if it is to be upheld by
the Council, needs greater corporate promotion. Art in Public Places cannot
be a council policy promoted solely by the Arts Department. Its benefits
and practice need to be taken up by other council departments and in the
developing forums where the council acts in partnership.
WORK WOULD BE FURTHERED BY
- The Council's adoption of the principle of the idea of % for
Art and its application to capital schemes, developments, and renovations
and new-build, whether council or private sector led, or partner ship
inspired. The Arts Department and the Public Arts Working Party would
act as an information bank for applying % for Art to schemes.
For % for Art to be effective there has to be involvement at
early planning stages. % for Art involves the commitment to
funding an art content to a building project and this is expressed as
a percentage of the total cost of a scheme, with the idea of 1% as a
guideline. The Council should endorse this policy.
- By the use and promotion of possibilities for art content in schemes
by exploiting planning gain and Section 52 of the Planning Act. This
would essentially involve giving attention to the desirability of art
in any plan ned development at the stage of creating planning briefs.
It obviously hinges on mutual agreement between parties involved in
any particular development. The Council should use Section 52 to
- By maximising the dialogue between the Regional Arts Association,
its client body Public Arts, the relevant City Council departments and
the developers and architectural consultants employed on schemes in
the city. Liaison work of a formal nature is needed with any present
or future urban development bodies and their advisory bodies to promote
Art in Public Places.
It is proposed that Programme Committees throughout the Council note
this report and endorse numbered paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 to further council
policy in respect of Art in Public Places.
Deputy Director of Arts
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