This week, Express reporter Mark Weber has asked Councillor Tara Veer questions regarding her thoughts on how the City is handling its public art policy, and what can be done to further improve the process of selecting art for public venues in the community. Earlier this year, Red Deer City Council decided less money would be provided for public art projects. Council has also been considering how much emphasis should be placed on selecting work from local artists.
"My preference is that the public art that is approved would have some local flavour and be authentic to our community. We have a lot of great local artists, and I would like to see some form of local preference."
"I think there were some improvements that needed to be made on the previous policy. I think there were some critical changes that needed to be made, and the changes that were made were a step in the right direction and are more consistent with the general public's mind toward public art. I also think a lot of the policy revisions that came forward mark a substantial improvement from the previous policy because we've seen such huge construction and inflation costs over the years. The public art component has naturally been inflated on these public buildings.
"So I think the shift from 1.2 per cent to one per cent (spending on public art) was a good move because inflation of construction has grown exponentially. It's actually a fairly nominal reduction, but I think it's a reduction that needed to occur. I think there is also a stronger emphasis on more of a local flavour to our art with our art pieces also reflecting the facilities in which they're in."
Veer said it's time to start gauging what people in the community think about what they'd like to see in public art selection.
"One area of improvement I'd like to see is broader public consultation on the pieces that are brought in so that our citizens as a whole 'own' them, rather than council simply making the decision."