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Community Arts Center ready to help improve public art process

Dear Editor,

To Danville city commissioners and Mayor Perros,

The Community Arts Center recognizes that challenges face our community with regards to public art. We respect the members of the AHB and their mission to preserve the architectural heritage of our community. We acknowledge that they have been asked to consider a difficult question: How do we move forward and embrace the benefits of public art, while preserving the architecture and landmarks that are part of our heritage?

The recently approved design guidelines for the city are an important first step in addressing this question. However, we believe that there is still work to do. Regardless of the decision of the city commission about the Heart of Danville’s mural proposal, it seems clear that, in this instance, our current process for public art approval was not successful.

Placing the review and approval of public art within the purview of the AHB requires that all members be conversant in the national best practices for public arts administration. We recognize this adds to the workload of the AHB, but believe further development of the approval process is essential. We recommend utilizing resources available both within our community and via the Americans for the Arts, the country’s leading organization for the advancement of the arts. Their Public Art Network provides information, webinars, conferences and publications at http://bit.ly/2NLMWMq.

As a strong advocate for art in Danville, the Community Arts Center stands ready to partner with the city in this work and offer our assistance in the development of a clear and strong public art review policy. Our board members and staff collectively have well over 100 years of experience in arts administration and arts education, as well as representation from practicing visual and performing artists.

We look forward to seeing the ways in which public art contributes to the vibrancy of Danville, by improving the quality of life for our citizens, making Danville an interesting and attractive destination for visitors, and contributing to the economic wellbeing of our city.

Jennifer Ahnquist

Board President, Community Arts Center

On behalf of the Community Arts Center Board of Directors and staff