Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Want art for your neighborhood? Grab some!

If your neighborhood lacks public art, here's a heads-up: The city of Charlotte, the Public Art Commission and the Arts & Science Council have created an initiative called Neighborhoods in Creative pARTnership. (Yeah, that's how it's written.)

What's the idea? To get public art to places around the city that lack it. Five projects of up to $23,600 each (or a total of $118,000) will be awarded according to multiple criteria: neighborhood participation, geographic distribution, the strength of the idea and the potential impact on community growth.

Go back to that last sentence and read the phrase again: "the strength of the idea." That means YOU submit the idea. No stranger will drop a piece of sculpture at the entrance to your neighborhood or paint some mural on a nearby wall. You don't have to execute the concept, but you get to weigh in on it.

A panel of selected officials, city staff and urban planning and design pros will make the final decisions, but ordinary people such as you and I can make proposals. (Well, you'd better leave me out of it. Most of the public art people have put up around here doesn't appeal to me.)

You'll find applications, guidelines and selection criteria at, and you have to submit an application by 5 p.m. on Nov. 14. Folks from the ASC are available to attend scheduled neighborhood meetings to discuss eligibility guidelines, artist selections and the design process. The city's Neighborhood and Business Services department will help the ASC connect with neighborhood groups.

According to the press release, this art is meant to enhance the city's character, contribute to economic development (isn't that rather a tall order?) and add "warmth, dignity, beauty and accessibility to public places." That sounds mighty good to me.