Final Say On Public Art Debated
The final say on public art installations should come from the mayor's office, not the Public Arts Commission, according to Mayor Thomas Bernard.
The Berkshire Eagle reports the mayor is proposing a series of changes to the commission's charter that would weaken the seven-member board and make it an advisory commission to the mayor on proposals for art installations on public property.
The proposal will be met with opposition from commission Chairwoman Julia Dixon, who described it as "consolidation of power."
The revisions will be reviewed Tuesday by the City Council. Bernard expects the matter will be referred to the committee for further public review.
Over the past decades, murals and other projects — some on public property — have proliferated throughout the city, and have at times led to controversy, including a recent debate over who has claim to columns beneath Veterans Memorial Bridge.
The original ordinance, which was passed by the City Council in the wake of the group's formation in 2015, erred in giving the commission the authority to vote on public art proposals, Bernard said, and instead should have left that power to the mayor as the city's "contracting authority."
She said the seven-member committee is democratic, reflects the city and its residents, and serves as a bridge between the community and City Hall.