Council approves Hodges art initiative

Jesse Walker News

The City of Madison is hoping to incorporate more art in public spaces throughout the city. At the last regular meeting Monday evening, The Madison Mayor and City Council unanimously voted to approve the establishment of a Public Arts Commission to oversee the creation and installation of artwork in public spaces throughout the City of Madison.

“We are very excited about this,” said Councilwoman Chris Hodges, who first proposed the idea. Hodges has desired to see public artworks throughout the city for years, and now it will soon be a reality. She, along  with Ken Kocher, Claire Wolf, Chris Lambert, Chris McCauley Watts, and Joe Cardwell scouted other cities, like Suwanee, in recent months to draw inspiration on how to incorporate artwork in public places.

“The Public Art Study Committee began with the charge to add art to our parks,” explained Preservation Planner Ken Kocher. “The group quickly realized that all public spaces need to include features that are different, fun, and interesting – public art being an important part of this mix. This lead to the goal of establishing a Public Arts Commission to create and maintain a program of public art in Madison.”

The City Council will be accepting applications from the public to serve on the new commission and reviewing applicants in July before selecting the members of the Public Arts Commission.

The slot on the commission will not only be limited to city residents.

“We will be looking from applications from citizens, and actually this ordinance allows for members who aren’t necessarily residents, but who are associated with a business in town or a non-profit in town,” said Kocher. “We want to make sure we have all the expertise that we can pull from.”

City Council woman Hodges has made public art a goal for the City in recent years and is thrilled that the council is supporting her idea.

“It’s our duty to find people who understand the vision and understand the importance of art,” said Hodges. Initially, the City hoped to add more artwork to public parks, but has now expanded the concept—desiring to bring lively and unique artwork to a variety of public spaces throughout the City of Madison.

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