The Dunwoody City Council is set to consider an implementation plan for public art at its Sept. 29 meeting.
The plan aims to provide a vision and goals for public art by creating guidelines for how to implement art in different areas of the city.
The plan calls for the establishment of a Public Art Commission for planning and oversight; a process for prioritizing and approving projects with public land or resources; a process for approving art on private property; and an approach to encourage developers to include public art. It also discusses funding options and outlines best practices in public art policy.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held virtually on Zoom here and on Facebook Live here or can be watched in person at City Hall at 4800 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Masks and social distancing are enforced.
The plan has been in the works since the beginning of the year and includes suggestions based on community interviews and a survey.
Todd Bressi, a consultant who worked on the plan, said the results of the public input showed that residents want colorful and dynamic artwork, a far cry from when the City Council considered defining public art in the city as “black copy against a white background” to imitate the iconic “Everything Will Be OK” mural on the side of the Spruill Gallery smokehouse building.
The council backed off on the ordinance in September 2019 after the city attorney said the definition was too narrow.
Bressi said the community priorities based on a public art survey show that residents want functional artwork that enhances the environment at parks and commercial areas, such as creating artistic benches and light posts. Bressi said a major theme of Dunwoody’s public art is “connectivity,” pointing to the city’s ongoing multiuse trail project that plans to connect the Georgetown area with Brook Run Park.
The plan states the city could add ground murals to the multiuse trails or small seating areas as public art. He suggested the city could have “gamechanger” projects, which are ambitious art pieces that take five to 10 years, or “creative activation” projects, which are smaller pieces that could be temporary or created by local artists.
Creating a public art ordinance is key to allowing people to create art without needing city funds or involvement, said Bressi in an Aug. 4 public input meeting. An ordinance would come after the approval of the public art implementation plan.
A public art ordinance creates a process for approving and designating pieces as public art and defines such key words as “artist,” “mural” and “public art.” Public art is usually defined as something created by an artist that is preferably original and somewhere in public, Bressi said.
“There’s a desire and a thirst and a readiness to start art projects in Dunwoody,” Bressi said in the meeting.