Iowa City Public Art Strategic Plan News

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With Iowa City's reputation as a literary, cultural, and artistic centerpiece of the Midwest, the Iowa City Public Art Program was established in 1997 to bring accessible forms of artistic expression to the city. With works in all medium, the goal is to educate, entertain, and engage a public that is diverse as the different modes of art. 

Since 1999, the program and the Iowa City Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) have been selecting, commissioning, and promoting the creation of art throughout the community. Projects spearheaded by the program include the Weatherdance Fountain, the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, sculptures throughout Downtown Iowa City's Pedestrian Mall, numerous sculptures in city parks and on trails, and more.

Nearly 20 years after its founding, the program and the PAAC continues to promote public art in all forms including sponsoring the Poetry in Public program and providing matching funds to area artists to further expand opportunities. 

In December of 2018, the PAAC received support from the City Council to increase the program's budget for Fiscal Year 2020. Council requested that a strategic plan for public art be developed to provide a better understanding of how these funds will be utilized.

What have we done?

Arts Professional Steering Committee Meetings – February 28 and May 9, 2019

A group of 14 local arts professionals representing various organizations and backgrounds were convened to help guide the process for developing the Strategic Plan. At the first meeting, the group helped define the mechanisms used to solicit ideas and feedback from the public. The second meeting provided the opportunity for members to evaluate the public input received as well as review proposed goals and action plan. Additional insights and suggestions to be considered were also provided.

Public Input Meetings – March 8 and May 15, 2019

The first meeting provided the public an opportunity to provide general feedback regarding topics such as:

  • Where should public art be located?
  • What should public art do?
  • What form should public art take?
  • What other types of art would you like to see?

The second meeting provided the opportunity to react to the results of the public survey outlined below.

At total of 45 people participated in the public meetings.

Online Survey

A Public Art Survey, developed from feedback of the first meetings of arts professionals and the public, was made available online for public response over a three-week period in April 2019.

A public display was placed in the Iowa City Public Library providing another opportunity to respond. Lastly, members of the Public Art Advisory Committee hosted a canvassing of visitors to the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall one Saturday afternoon. 

Over 500 responses to the survey were received through these efforts with hundreds of write in comments and suggestions from those responding. See the results of the survey in the draft of our Public Art Strategic Plan. 

Public Art Advisory Committee review of Strategic Plan Drafts

The committee reviewed updated versions of the plan at meetings in June, July, and August 2019 as additional input was provided. Members of the Arts Professional Steering Committee and general public also attended these meetings and provided feedback.

What's next?

The text-only draft of the Public Art Advisory Committee Public Art Strategic Plan is available online until Aug. 31, 2019 for public review and input. A graphically formatted document will be evolving throughout the review process and located here. Check back for regular updates! 

PAAC will host a final public input meeting on Thursday, September 5. 2019 at 5:30 p.m. The committee may choose to recommend approval of the plan to the City Council at that meeting or subsequent meeting and the plan will be scheduled for review by the City Council.

Contact Marcia Bollinger, the Iowa City Public Art Coordinator, with your feedback at marcia-bollinger@iowa-city.org, or at 319-356-5237.

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If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in this event, or if you need transportation from downtown Iowa City to the the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center for the May 15 meeting, please contact Marcia Bollinger, Neighborhood and Development Services at 319-356-5237 or marcia-bollinger@iowa-city.org.  Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your needs.