artscomission

Patty Elson, vice chair for the Madison Arts Commission, reflects on the work of local Madison artists who want their work featured in the city’s arts initiative. Elson said she hopes the city recognizes the value of art in the city with greater funding.[/media-credit]

A city commission laid out their plans for incorporating more public art in Madison during their meeting Tuesday.

The Madison Arts Commission and city officials looked at a proposal that would integrate art into city development projects, promote local cultural venues and encourage collaboration between artists and developers and engineers.

Bill Fruhling, the Downtown Plan’s principal planner, said the plan holds the city’s vision for the next 20 years of development in the downtown area as well as the cultural implications of that new development.

Part of the plan, Fruhling said, focuses on the cultural development within the city, prioritizing expanding the city’s cultural offerings.

“Public art enhances public spaces in cities all over the world and is most successful when thoughtfully integrated into everyday life in a way that contributes to the richness of the community’s identity,” the plan said. “In creating public art, the interests and concerns intersect those of the community.”

Fruhling said one of the plan’s primary focuses is to integrate public art into several of the new public-oriented developments included in the proposal.

He said another one of the plan’s goals is to encourage collaboration between artists and city engineers.

One of the proposals for public areas to be reworked, he said, would enhance the Broom Street Gateway, part of the entrance to Madison via John Nolen Drive. That entrance, he said, is a key downtown experience and a landmark for visitors.

The Gateway and the park it includes are an uninspiring first glance of the city and in need of redevelopment, according to the plan.

The plan includes a “comprehensive redesign” with a new site plan, upgraded landscaping, expanded use opportunities for residents and increased lake accessibility.

It goes on to say elements of art and design will be added to the space to add a cultural element to a high-traffic area.

“The centerpiece of this proposal is a re-imagined dog park that incorporates artistic three-dimensional elements and ornamental fencing,” it says. “[It] also provides opportunities to showcase sustainable design features such as uniquely designed wind turbines [and] solar panels.”

Fruhling said the plan is also concerned with the city’s artistic and cultural venues and is particularly interested in connecting the facilities on the Capitol Square with those on campus.

“[The plan] will promote the arts, culture and entertainment corridor by coordinating resources of the city, UW-Madison, Madison College, … the Greater State Street Business Association … and other stakeholders,” according to the plan.

Madison Arts Commission Vice Chair Patty Elson said the increased focus on the city’s cultural and artistic elements makes now the perfect time to increase the city’s financial support of the arts.

“Maybe [the city] could reexamine the amount of money budgeted for the Arts Commission,” she said. “This would be the time to do that, considering how much of this plan is focusing on arts culture and entertainment venues.”