January 2019 - The Art World: City of Albuquerque Public Arts


How did this project come to fruition?

The City of Albuquerque Public Art Program came to fruition through a group of citizen advocates who were aware of public art program starting up around the country. Back in 1977, then Mayor Harry Kinney appointed a group of these citizens to explore how Public Art Programs and the designated funding worked. After much research and advocacy, in November 1978, the Albuquerque City Council voted to approve the 1% for Art Ordinance that established the Albuquerque Arts Board and the 1% for Art funds that voters approved as part of the General Obligation Bond program every two years.

It appears that the process is a through one. How do you decide on what pieces will be displayed?

The Public Art Program staff and the Arts Board have several methods for selecting works of art to be part of the permanent public art collection. The major of artworks are selected through an open competition where we provide public notice about type of public art projects and artists submit their qualifications and/or proposals for review. A short list of finalists are usually paid for their conceptual design then go onto the final round of selectin. We can also host invitational calls for artists and on rare occasion we can do a direct selection of an artist due to their specific artwork style or appropriateness for a site/project. All steps involve the various site stakeholders such as the public, user agency rep (the department involved, i.e. Library, Parks, Fire, etc.)

How many works of arts has this project highlighted?

The City Public Art Program has purchased or commissioned just over 1000 works of art ranging from large outdoor sculptures, murals and some small scale temporary art, to 2-Dimensional artworks inside city facilities such as photography, prints, painting, tapestries, etc. approximately 3/5thof the collection are 2-D artworks and 2/5th are outdoor artworks.

Tell us about the Albuquerque Cultural Plan.

The cultural plan was developed by the entire arts community in the late 1990s to foster more appreciation for all of the arts and cultural programs and organizations within Albuquerque. It was updated once in the early 2000 after nearly all of the goals and objectives were accomplished. While the spirit of the Cultural Plan lives on today for much of the City’s goals and efforts to promote the arts, the actual tasks and outcomes have been accomplished and it is now mostly an outdated document. (I’m curious to know where you found it…?)

How can the public and artists learn more about this project?

The city’s public art program has a variety of methods for getting the word out about public art. Our presence on the city’s web page provides links to all of the policies and procedures we abide by as well as the interactive map and links to other artists resources. http://www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/public-art. The best method for getting the most accurate and timely information about our projects is through our e-newsletter subscription with Constant Contact. This is our official, authorized newsletter for soliciting artists’ proposals and making other announcements. http://www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/public-art/e-newsletter

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