In fall 2016, the City of Santa Clarita City Council approved the Arts Master Plan, which has become the Arts Commission’s guiding document to provide arts, entertainment, and cultural development throughout the community over the last three years. Since adoption, the Arts Commission held several meetings to prioritize the 41 recommendations, with the development of a public art program as one of the highest priorities expressed by the community and key stakeholders.
As recommended in the Arts Master Plan, the City Council approved the Public Art Planning and Selection Process (Recommendation 1.1) in fall 2016, which has offered a systematic approach for thoughtful planning to ensure meaningful community engagement. During the development of the public art program the Arts Commission thought it prudent to refine the public art planning and selection process to best reflect the ongoing public art program. The recommendation is as follows:
- Plan Recommendation 1.1 – The City should implement a public art planning and selection process that utilizes peer review and community input to ensure that public art pieces meet the goals of providing enjoyable and attractive public spaces that reflect the character of the community.
PUBLIC ART PHASES
The public art planning and selection process has seven phases, from the initial project identifications to the installation and promotion of the final public art-work. The seven phases are as follows:
- Project Identification
- Call for Artists Development
- Proposed Project Selection
- Appeal Period
- Fabrication / Installation
The initial five phases are intended to be addressed annually as part of the annual budget cycle, with the last two phases having various different timelines based on the scope and scale of the project.
Phase 1: PROJECT IDENTIFICATION
Identification of public art projects are determined through the allocated funding streams, below:
- Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) are determined through the eligibility from the Civic Art Policy
- Temporary Public Art is a set budget item
- Other projects as determined through funding availability
For identified projects through Civic Art funding, the following will meet to identify public art projects for each CIP project. The Public Art Consultant will provide a summary of findings with examples of relevant public art projects to share with the Artist Selection Committee.
- Arts Commission Public Art Subcommittee
- Arts division staff
- CIP consultants
- Engineering division staff
- Public Art Consultant
The Arts Commission will include the identified public art projects with recommendations, approach, and proposed locations in the annual Public Art Report. City staff and the Public Art Consultant will review recommendations, approach, and proposed locations with departments associated with the project. The final step for the first phase is to have City Council review the annual Work Plan and Public Art Report during the annual joint Study Session.
Phase 2: CALL FOR ARTISTS DEVELOPMENT
The first step for phase two will be to form Artist Selection Committees for each public art project identified in the Arts Commission Work Plan. The Arts Commission Chair will approve the Artist Selection Committee (Committee), which will be comprised of the following members:
- Arts Commissioner
- Professional Public Artist or Art Expert
- Professional Arts Administrator or Art Expert
- Local Professional Artist
- Community Member/ Representative of key stakeholder groups
Once the Committee members are appointed, the Committee will meet with staff and the Public Art Consultant to refine the theme, approach, location, budget allocation, and potential community engagement plan of the project. This information will be utilized to develop the Call for Artists, which is essentially a Request for Qualifications. The Public Art Consultant will review each Call for Artists and offer insight, which will then be shared with the Committee for final review. The Call for Artists will be placed on the next Arts Commission agenda for approval. If approved, the Arts Commission will ask for staff to draft a memo to be sent to City Council for review.
Phase 3: JURYING
Once the memo to City Council has been reviewed for 30 days, the Call for Artists will be released through a website for entry submissions and online jurying of public art. The Call for Artists will also be promoted locally and regionally through various email lists and media outlets. Call for Artists are open for 30 days unless specified by the Committee.
The Public Art Consultant and the members of the Public Art Subcommittee or a minimum oftwo Arts Commissioners will vet the submitted entries to a manageable number for the Committee.
The Committee will individually rate the submitted artists based on past work, letter of interest and resume on the website. The website will compile the individual votes of the Committee members and identify the top potential semi-finalist artists. The Committee will then identify the top three to five semi-finalist artists to develop a project proposal. The reason for this range is that it is recommended for larger projects to have additional artists develop a project proposal, to allow for more options in the next steps.
Once the semi-finalists have been identified, staff will contact the artists and contract with them to provide a Community Engagement Plan and/or develop their project proposal. This will depend on the requirements stated in the Call for Artists.
Phase 4: PROPOSED PROJECT SELECTION
Semi-finalists will be given 30 calendar days to develop and submit a final project proposal, including but not limited to; project description, site specific requests, materials, proposed budgets, detailed concept drawings and exhibits, and a maintenance and conservation plan. The semi-finalists will present their project proposal to the Committee, staff, Public Art Subcommittee, and Public Art Consultant. Ideally these presentations will be made in person, but if this is not feasible, then it can be done by video conference or on a conference call.
The Committee by consensus will select the project proposal to be recommended to the Arts Commission. The Committee may jointly give revisions to the semi-finalists to refine and revise the proposal for either a second-round interview or final project proposal.
If the Committee does not reach consensus regarding the semi-finalists they may revisit phase three or begin again, at phase two. Revisiting phase three, the Committee could pull the next highest rated submissions to interview. Beginning at phase two, the Committee would review the Call for Artists to determine the clarity and define the expectations of the project.
The Arts Commissioner on the Committee presents the recommended project proposal to the Arts Commission for approval. If the Arts Commission does not approve the recommended project proposal, then the process begins again at phase two, with a review of the Call for Artists and the opportunity to change the members of the Committee for that project. The final step of this phase is for a memo to be drafted to City Council to inform them of the approved proposal for the public art project.
Phase 5: APPEAL PERIOD
A 30-day appeal period will begin once the City Council receives the memo for review of the artist/project proposal. The appeal can be made by a City Council member or a member of the community. If a project is appealed by a City Council member, no fee will be charged. If a public art project is appealed by a community member there will be a fee charged to the community member of $750. This fee is to cover the staff time required to prepare the appeal.
If a project is appealed by a City Council member or the community the project will be added to the next available City Council meeting agenda. The agenda report will include all of the background information required for the City Council to make their determination. The Arts Commission Chair, or designee, will present to the City Council all of the details on the selection process and reasons for why the artist/project proposal was selected. If there is no appeal within the 30 day appeal period, then staff will execute the contract with the artist, and the fabrication of the art piece will commence.
Phase 6: FABRICATION/INSTALLATION
When the artist for each project is selected and a contract has been executed, then the artist will be paid dependent of the terms of the contract. This is done to assist the artist in purchasing the materials needed to create the art-work. If the artist does not deliver their final art-work, action will be taken to recoup the costs that had been paid.
The artist has a pre-determined and agreed upon amount of time to complete the fabrication of the art-work. This can vary greatly due to the nature of the piece, the size and scale needed, and the location the art-work will be installed in. Several public art projects are part of CIP’s, which will require flexibility and communication between the public art team and the Engineering division staff. During the fabrication stage, the artist will keep staff up to date on their progress, and staff will give updates to the Artist Selection Committee and the Arts Commission.
The artist will work with staff to install their completed art-work once it has been fabricated. Often the installation step involves input from staff of various divisions within the City of Santa Clarita, including Building and Safety, Capital Improvement Projects, Traffic, Parks, and Special Districts. Once the art-work is installed, the artist will receive their final payment.
Phase 7: PROMOTION
When an installation date has been determined between the artist and staff, the Communications division will be contacted to promote the art-work and dedication ceremony through the following methods:
- Press Releases
- Media invitations to cover the ceremony
- Social media
- Short video pieces
The dedication ceremony should be held as soon after the installation of the piece as possible, and should be held on the weekend to increase attendance. Invitations for the ceremony will go to City leadership, the Committee, the artist, and the public.
Finally, the art-work will be added to various websites for information and promotional purposes. These sites will include the SantaClaritaArts.com, which is a new site that highlights arts and culture in Santa Clarita, and the Public Art Archive, which is the national registry for public art projects. Much like the phase above, the timing of this phase will vary greatly depending on the timeline of the public art project and its maintenance plan.
The Arts Commission is pleased to present the public art program to continue to enliven the community. With the approval of this public art planning and selection process, new projects will be able to go through a clear and consistent process. It is crucial to emphasize that at various stages in the process, at the Committee level, the Arts Commission level, or the City Council level, if appealed, any artist/project proposal can be rejected and the process can begin again. This is important to remember as the goal of the public art program is to expose the community to high quality art-work that will engage and hopefully encourage appreciation for the role public art can play in place-making and community identity.