Kinetic creek art-group 1 (copy)

The Carroll Creek Kinetic Art Promenade, a new public art project at Carroll Creek in downtown Frederick. The aldermen are looking at ways to include public art projects in other parts of the city.

When the Frederick aldermen passed a resolution this summer about equity, they probably didn’t expect that public art would be one of the first issues they would deal with.

A discussion Wednesday on plans for a mural at a dog park in downtown Frederick and the renovation of the city’s official seal and a historic flag kept in City Hall turned into a conversation about how public art projects are clustered in some parts of the city and absent in others.

The city approved a resolution in August to look at decisions to make sure they address the needs of marginalized and underrepresented communities in the city.

Under a proposal being discussed, the city would allocate $10,000 for a mural at the public dog park at North Bentz Street and Carroll Parkway, $2,572 to restore and preserve the city seal that hangs in the boardroom at City Hall, and $21,300 to restore and preserve the Shawbaker Flag, a U.S. flag dating from the 1860s that is kept on the second floor of City Hall.

Alderman Ben MacShane said he couldn’t support spending the money as planned.

The dog park mural would be very nice, but it would be another piece of art in the downtown area, MacShane said. Both the seal and the flag are only seen by people who come to City Hall, he said.

Public funding should prioritize art throughout the city, he said.

Attention and resources in the city too often go to the neighborhoods whose residents have the time and money to advocate for themselves, he said.

The aldermen are expected to use the rest of the money allocated to the city’s Public Art Commission for the current fiscal year, about $15,000, to fund projects in parks or public spaces in neighborhoods that haven’t been previously included.

Mayor Michael O’Connor said he thinks there’s been an equity question on how public art projects have been placed, and the city should do all that it can to make sure that other areas get attention for public art.

Alderman Roger Wilson said this was the first example of the city’s decision to look at policy through a lens of equity.

“We need to stick to that commitment that we made a couple months ago,” Wilson said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(13) comments

jmoparrott

It is encouraging to know of Alderman Ben MacShane’s awareness of the need for public art enhancements across all neighborhoods of Frederick, not just downtown. Readers might be relieved to know that the Frederick Arts Council has a detailed public art plan, launched in April of 2019 with unanimous support from the city’s Public Art Commission and familiar to the aldermen, that ensures public art projects are dispersed city and county-wide.

jmoparrott

It is encouraging to know of Alderman Ben MacShane’s awareness of the need for public art enhancements across all neighborhoods of Frederick, not just downtown. Readers might be relieved to know that the Frederick Arts Council has a detailed public art plan, launched in April of 2019 with unanimous support from the city’s Public Art Commission and familiar to the aldermen, that ensures public art projects are dispersed city and county-wide.

FlagstaffTM

A few more garbage bins in Baker Park and maybe one or two more rotations of DPW folks emptying them since more people are using our outdoor spaces than usual and it shows. I do my best to pick up as much trash as I can, but a few small changes could make a difference. Art is nice, relatively clean parks and public spaces are better.

Jaco

Opening public restrooms in busy parks (like the restrooms at the Thomas Pool) would also be advantageous. Coronavirus is shed through feces and can become aerosolized, this is not a time to be using port-a-pots.

Girl No.3

Toilet flushing is the cause of the aerosol effect. Portas are better in this case. Hold your breath and make it snappy

Dwasserba

I'm for preserving the flag. I love art, but I'm not out to see it.

TomWheatley

As the Council seems intent on spending scarce resources, how about each one pitch in $250-500 each time they vote on something not directly aligned with providing services to the City? Public art has its place, whether it is in one area or sprinkled around the city, but this is not time to spend tax money on it.

micky

Why not resurface West Second Street first, my back can't take much more !

Paul Sobus

And E. South in front of the BOE building

Jaco

What the City NEEDS to do is stop frivolous spending and reserve revenue for the unforeseen impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic as well as Climate Change. Dogs are not really into art. In fact, I imagine many would lift a leg on a mural. Stop the unnecessary spending - we’re in an unprecedented pandemic! Mike Spurrier

gardenwhimsey

Plus, some of the "art" is questionable. Case in point, dinosaurs on the parking deck.

gabrielshorn2013

and an ugly one at that gardenwhimsey! I thought Barney was going up next.

MD1756

[thumbup]

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