Saskatoon City Council debates 1% art funding again because Eric Olauson didn’t like it the results the first time so here we are again. Reporting from the CBC.
Saskatoon city council is still trying to figure out what it’s going to do about public art. At Monday’s council meeting, councillor Eric Olauson tried to rescind a policy to earmark one per cent of the budget of significant capital projects for public art.
The rest of Saskatoon City Council decided to move ahead with this last year but Councilors Olauson and Donauer bring it up again.
Last year, council decided that for high profile civic capital projects of $5 million dollars or more, one per cent of the city’s contribution — up to half a million dollars — would be earmarked to include a work of art.
The public art reserve is one of the topics that dominated discussion around the council table during the annual city budget review on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Councillor Randy Donauer also questions the policy.
"What we had brought to us at budget this year was a half a million dollar project to put art on sound walls and on fire halls that I don’t think is line with what public perception for funded art is."
He said if art is inside a fire hall, the public won’t see it. If art is on a sound wall it can be vulnerable to graffiti.
Actually, in Saskatoon and elsewhere, graffiti artists leave art walls alone. It is bare walls without walls that are vulnerable to being tagged. As for the art indoors, by that logic, all art should be taken outside of public buildings.
Donauer wants council to re-examine the policy and decide where and when public art should be built.
Council once took hours to debate the kind of material a fence should be made of in Sutherland. Can you imagine a debate on where and what kind of art should be built?
Meanwhile councillor Charlie Clark said he believes there is some confusion about how the policy is applied.
"Intuitively it’s not one that you would think ‘OK we want to spend a lot of money to add public art into.’ Although I have had a lot of people say those sound walls are pretty boring. And they end up being a scar on the landscape in a way because they’re just plain and divide neighbourhoods from each other."
He said there are innovative ways to make them more interesting while the walls are being constructed.
He gave an example to a privately owned wall along Warman Road intentionally covered by graffiti, which he said has become quite "beloved in the community."
Expect more of this as we get closer to the provincial election where Olauson is desperate to raise his profile and prove his conservative credentials.