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San Antonio ready to create new art, but needs your help

Mural by Los Otros.jpg
Jack Morgan
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"Let's Fiesta" by Los Otros muralists

The city has set aside a pile of your tax dollars for art and now they want your help on how to spend it.

Technically, those dollars are bond dollars from the 2022 bond issue that voters passed. Director of the city’s Department of Arts and Culture Krystal Jones explains they have a historic $15.7 for public art as part of the bond.

benches by Oscar Alvarado.jpg
Jack Morgan
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Benches at the Rim by Oscar Alvarado

“That's where we really need the public's engagement, because we're going to have so many projects added to our public art collection over the next five years,” Jones said. “And this is an opportunity for residents to really shape what public art looks like in San Antonio.”

Normally art is funded at 1% of the cost of capital improvements, but for this bond issue, Jones said city council decided to fund at a higher level.

City council vocalized support for increasing the percent for art as a part of this bond program. And they voted to include 1.5% as a part of this, this particular bond,” she said. “And with the public's ultimate vote in May, we're moving forward with 1.5% for public art as a part of five of the six propositions.”

F.I.S.H.by Donald Lipski.jpg
Jack Morgan
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F.I.S.H. by Donald Lipski

As to how you can give your input, it’s through a series of meetings and zoom calls. The process begins on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

“We’re going to have meetings on Tuesdays through August and also a couple of meetings in September that are going to give the residents an opportunity to take a look at the capital improvement projects that are part of the overall bond and identify which of those projects they'd like to see public art installed,” Jones said.

These meetings are where you can let your interests be known.

Grotto de San Antonio by Cakky Brawley.jpg
Jack Morgan
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Grotto de San Antonio, by Cakky Brawley

“We're going to have two that are virtual and three that are in-person, to say, ‘you know what, I've always thought that this park in my district should have a public art piece.’ There are some parameters, and that's what the community engagement sessions are going to be focused on, is educating residents on how public art is installed,” she said.

Jones said the timeline for seeing new public art starts within the year, with all of it complete by the end of the five-year bond.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii