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Today's Board of Aldermen Meeting: A Plea for Public Art

Categories: Politics
French and Jill.jpg
photo by Keegan Hamilton
Antonio French chats with the members of the Regional Arts Commission
The St. Louis arts community was out in force this morning to show their support for the proposed "Public Art Trust Fund" being considered by the Board of Aldermen.

About a dozen artists and representatives from organizations such as the Regional Arts Commission, Art Dimensions and Arts in Transit attended today's meeting as special guests of 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French. French is the sponsor of Board Bill 2, which received a second reading today after being introduced back in April.

If approved, the bill would take one percent of the money that's allocated for public works projects to increase the number of public art projects across St. Louis and expand stewardship of the pieces that are already in place.
The "trust fund" would be managed by the Regional Arts Commission (RAC). The not-for-profit group would "develop and maintain a city-wide site inventory for potential permanent and temporary Artwork," and based on that inventory, they would recommend which neighborhoods are most in need of new public art projects.

See our previous post on Daily RFT, Aldermen Considering A "Public Art Trust Fund" For St. Louis, or the full text of the Board Bill below, for more details.

"It's exciting," said Jill McGuire, executive director of the Regional Arts Commission, after the meeting. "Ultimately, people who care about art and want to contribute will now have a mechanism to make that possible."

If approved, the measure would take effect in July 2011. The bill already has sixteen co-sponsors and only requires fifteen votes to pass. To help persuade the aldermen who haven't already pledged their support, the arts boosters brought along what French quipped was "the best lobbying tool ever" -- several boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts.

Other notable legislation and happenings from today's meeting:

-Fourteen bills received first readings. The only one that was even remotely interesting was Board Bill 191, a proposal by 25th Ward Alderman Shane Cohn to create a new dog park in south city on the 4700 block of Alabama Avenue.

-The Aldermen approved a resolution proposed by 17th Ward Alderman Joseph Roddy, saying the Board "supports the addition of Grant's Farm as a unit of the National Park service." The parks committee almost delayed the start of the full Board meeting when members went over their allotted time discussing the resolution.

-20th Ward Alderman Craig Schmid wanted everyone to know about a town hall meeting happening Saturday afternoon at Vashon High School. Subject: the city's public schools. ""Anyone who is concerned about education or the future of education in St. Louis should be there," Schmid said.

-If you're looking for something to do tonight, 6th Ward Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett suggested an outdoor screening of Ghostbusters at Lucas Park downtown. Triplett said that "a couple years ago this wouldn't have been possible" because of crime and the homeless community who called the park home. The area, she said, has undergone a "transition."

-Also happening tonight, according to 2nd Ward Alderwoman Dionne Flowers, is a soul/blues/reggae concert at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.
Board Bill # 2
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