Committee hosts Public Art Forum Aug. 14

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'Bringing Art to the Streets' looks to invite public involvement

Florence Public Art Committee (PAC) is hosting “Bringing Art to the Streets: A Community Forum” on Monday, Aug. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at City Lights Cinemas, 1930 Highway 101.

PAC would like to share information about upcoming projects and the history of public art in Florence, as well as begin the process for including public input into the entire process.

PAC Vice Chair Susan Tive, who also co-owns City Lights Cinemas, said, “We want arts to have an impact on everyone who lives in Florence and the community. It’s as essential as the roads being safe and the water being good to drink. We want people to know it’s for them. Public art is for Florence, not just the people who are visiting.”

Members of the volunteer committee include artists, gallery owners, art professionals and community members who want to bring the “wow factor” to Florence through increased visibility of murals, sculptures and other artwork.

The committee’s tagline is, “Experience Florence — where every day is a celebration of the arts.”

PAC is funded through the Florence Urban Renewal Area, which budgeted $250,000 for PAC, so most of its efforts are centered around Historic Old Town Florence and the Highway 101 corridor from the Siuslaw River Bridge to Highway 126.

Several of PAC’s projects will coincide with the City of Florence ReVision Project, a long-term partnership with Oregon Department of Transportation, Urban Renewal, private landowners and the city.

Florence City Recorder Kelli Weese, an ex-officio member of PAC, said the arts are very much a part of the city’s fabric.

“It ties into the city’s objectives of livability and quality of life and economic development,” she said. “It’s one of the reasons people to want to stay in a community. Recreation, parks and the arts are a big part of what makes people want to stay and move here.”

PAC volunteers have spent the past two years gathering data from successful art destination cities in Oregon, researching mural codes and creating five action items.

These include beautifying utilities such as trash receptacles and bus shelters; installing a mural on the Central Lincoln PUD building at the corner of Highways 101 and 126;  updating the steps connecting Highway 101 and Old Town; placing five art pieces on Bay Street for Art Exposed; and creating places and a process for donatedart.

The five projects’ one to two-year processes will allow for a comparatively quick completion.

“These are our definitive projects that are being worked on,” PAC Chairman Harlen Springer said. “Now it’s time to engage the public into that dialogue.”

Besides the forum, community involvement will be necessary as PAC sends out calls to artists, creates selection committees, writes grants and begins projects.

“We don’t want to do this in a vacuum,” Weese said. “We want to get input from the public and stakeholders, people who have businesses or homes nearby, for each of these projects.”

For more information on PAC and the “Bringing Art to the Streets” Public Forum, visit ci.florence.or.us/bc-pac or contact Weese at 541-997-3437.


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