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According to Civic Arts Coordinator Janet Seibert, the city would like to take the notion of public art beyond the Art In Public Places program, which reserves a small percentage of the funding for major city building projects for art work. "This is an opportunity for us to expand our constituents to not just include public buildings, but to work with more private developers to bring art into the everyday and into their buildings," said Seibert. "Some private developers already include public art, and this is an opportunity to help educate them, help them understand how art can contribute in the hopes that they will also want to be a player in that."

Thursday, June 3, 2004 by

The master plan for public art could provide guidelines for private developers interested in adding a public art component to their project as downtown continues to grow. With the new City Hall scheduled for completion before the end of the year and major redevelopment possible on Second Street and in the vicinity of the old Seaholm Power Plant, Seibert said there will be significant opportunities for public art projects downtown in the near future. "We want to think about some of those major themes are we want to express downtown, so when a private developer says 'we do want to do public art, give me some ideas,' then we can direct them to this plan," said Seibert. "And while it won't tell them exactly what to do, there will be things there that can inspire them."

In addition to serving as landmarks, tourist attractions, or scenic enhancements, Seibert said, a work of art in a public space can also serve to unify and define a community. "It can help residents as well as tourists get a sense of what a place is about. Sometimes that's through educational public art…something that might tell you about the history of a place. Sometimes it also helps gives you a sense of what's important in a community, of what we value," she said. "It can also expand to include technology. We're hoping that with the Wi-Fi hot spots we have…those might be another way we might include public art."

Consultants have until June 13th to respond to the city's RFP, which is available on-line at http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/aipp/default.htm.

Members of the Water and Wastewater Commission got an early look at part of the utility's proposed 2004-05 budget for capital improvement projects at Wednesday night's meeting. The draft next goes to the City Manager, along with other departmental budget proposals. The Water and Wastewater Utility will be proposing a combined rate increase of 11.8 %. That's slightly less than the 12.8% rate hike that the utility had predicted for 2004-05. The utility's proposed capital improvement plan for next year calls for spending about $221 million.

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