Posts Tagged ‘public arts trust’

“Deferring maintenance of public art year after year is not economical.”

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Below is the second testimony submitted to Montgomery County Council last Thursday in support of the Public Arts Trust:

Good evening. My name is Dr. Michele Cohen. I was the founding director of New York City’s Public Art for Public Schools program for twenty years and I am currently a consultant to the AHCMC, the custodian of Montgomery County’s vast collection of public art. I have written books on public art, taught courses about public art, supervised NYC’s sculpture inventory, and managed a collection of over 1,200 artworks in NYC schools: I know the challenges of caring for art in the public realm.

Corrision, Leaching and Damaged Seating Element
Corrision, leaching and damaged seating element

Montgomery County has a significant public art collection, including portable works in government offices, murals and sculptural installations in schools, iconic pieces marking courthouses, parks, and community centers—works that add to the quality of life for all of Montgomery County’s residents and visitors. Nationally known artists include Muriel Castanis, George Greenamyer, Joseph McDonnell, and Mary Ann Unger. Over the last three decades, many agencies helped form this collection, but none have taken ownership of it. As years of deferred maintenance accrue, the condition of objects has worsened, and now about 15% or 50 major sculptural installations in public spaces require substantial treatment—more than just hosing down and waxing.

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“Just as the County invests funds to maintain buildings, artworks require resources for maintenance as well as conservation.”

Monday, February 13th, 2012
Public Arts Trust consultant, Michele Cohen, and AHCMC CEO Suzan Jenkins testifying to Montgomery County Council

Public Arts Trust consultant, Michele Cohen, and AHCMC CEO Suzan Jenkins testifying to Montgomery County Council

Last Thursday, February 9, we testified to Montgomery County Council to encourage them to  protect their $4+ million investment and fund conservation and maintenance for County-owned public art. Below is one of the written testimonies submitted to Montgomery County Council:

Council President Berliner, esteemed members of the County Council, thank you for your past support of the arts and humanities in Montgomery County. I am here today to ask you to appropriate funding for the Public Arts Trust (PAT) in FY13/FY14.

The Arts and Humanities Council (AHCMC) was distressed to learn that appropriation was not included in the FY13/FY14 Public Arts Trust CIP #729658 as this funding is critical to protect and maintain the County’s assets of over $4M already invested in public art. A Cost Change for FY13 and 14 is noted in CIP#729658 to allocate a TBD amount to AHCMC’s operating budget for maintenance of assets currently in the Trust.

I ask you now to allocate an appropriate level of funding in the CIP that will allow AHCMC to manage the Trust responsibly. Even funding 50% of the former allocation would be hugely impactful.

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