Convinced Metro is on track to install more public art in areas besides downtown, At-large Councilman Charlie Tygard opted Tuesday night to defer indefinitely his bill that would have sought a more equitable distribution of future projects.
“It seems like we’ve opened some eyes and some doors,” Tygard said of his decision to request the deferral.
At issue for Tygard had been Metro’s “Percent for the Arts” program, which sets aside 1 percent of all net proceeds of general obligation bonds issued for public construction projects to fund public art.
The 10-year program has produced the Ghost Ballet, while two more projects are slated for the Metro courthouse public square. Tygard pointed out only Nashville’s downtown had received publicly funded art so far, and said neighborhood’s on the county’s periphery weren’t receiving their fair share.
The bill, which was opposed by the Metro Arts Commission, would have required 75 percent of all art projects generated by the “Percent for the Arts” program be distributed among the city’s nine school districts. The remaining 25 percent would have been reserved for downtown projects.
But the arts commission said they already intended to bring public art to other areas besides downtown and contended the ordinance would impede that progress. Tygard deferred the bill in December to allow more time to work with the commission.
Since that time, Tygard said he and other concerned council members had been informed that the commission is exploring installing public art in the new Music City Center, as well as the new Goodlettsville public library –– the latter is obviously located far from downtown.
He called the possibility of public art in the new Goodlettsville library “encouraging,” and something that “should have been happening all along.”
Tygard also said he’s confident all council districts will receive public art consideration under the new direction of Jennifer Gilligan Cole, hired in December to be the commission’s new executive director.
Nonetheless, Tygard still has some other concerns about the commission’s seven-member public arts committee, which he said lacks representation from most of the city. According to Tygard, four of the members live in the Belle Meade/Green Hills area, while two of them don’t even live in Davidson County.
“There’s no one from Madison, Hermitage and Bellevue to stand up and say, ‘How come we’re not doing anything anywhere other than downtown,’ ” Tygard said.