St. Louis project will use art as vital downtown component

5 months 1 week 5 days ago Monday, November 05 2018 Nov 5, 2018 Monday, November 05, 2018 7:28:00 AM CST November 05, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — A new effort in St. Louis seeks to transform public space into works of art.

The Regional Arts Commission, Downtown St. Louis Inc. and Explore St. Louis last week unveiled plans for an initiative that seeks to use artwork to support downtown's growth as an "inclusive and culturally vibrant" anchor for the region.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the effort is the culmination of nine months of feedback and study sessions with artists, business owners and residents.

Future art will include interactive or immersive exhibits, and some could become permanent installations. Developers coming to downtown will be encouraged to include public art in their proposals.

The project seeks to encourage people to walk around downtown and explore art that will be in various places, including major streets, bus and light rail stations, highway underpasses and elsewhere.

The art will highlight the history and culture of the neighborhood by projecting video artwork onto buildings in the evening, hosting an interactive art festival, and running an annual "ideas competition" for regional artists to propose temporary projects for downtown sites of their choosing.

The sites for art will include murals on parking garages and blank walls along with art installations at tourist attractions.

The plan includes no specific budget or specific funding, but the Regional Arts Council could commit about $160,000 in initial support for the initiative's first year starting in January.

The initiative will also help identify projects that would qualify for a 2011 city ordinance that sets aside 1 percent of a capital improvement project to fund an associated public art project.

A 10-person advisory committee that includes at least three visual arts or design professionals will recommend annual plans and advise individual art projects. An executive committee composed of the executive director of the Regional Arts Commission, the president and CEO of Downtown STL Inc. and the president of Explore St. Louis will approve plans and help secure funding.

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