Lexington approves budget for public art projects

September 11, 2018 by  

The City of Lexington recently voted to put some money aside for public art projects. Officials were 8-5 in favor of setting aside 1% of what the city borrows for these projects.

The fund for Lexington could generate about $300,000 a year depending on what the city borrows. This new program will not start until 2019, by which time the city plans to reorganize the public arts commission. The new committee will be appointed by the mayor and will decide which projects to fund.

Mayor Jim Gray says that art leads to jobs for the city, and that generous donations from businesses and individuals help to create a thriving arts community.

For several years, Councilman Bill Farmer, Jr. pushed for funding for the arts after seeing the program run in Portland, Oregon. He hopes to attract all kinds of art with the new program. Lexington has print shops that design promotional products for art programs like this.

The Percent for Art project sets aside 1% of the cost of constructing and renovating municipal buildings for public art.

In the past, the city has paid for public art projects ad hoc. It recently approved $100,000 for a statute honoring women to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the amendment that gave women the right to vote in elections in the US.