The Palo Alto Public Arts Commission recently voted to earmark $25,000 for the hiring of a consultant to put together a "master art plan" for the city.
Whomever is hired by the commission will be charged with taking an inventory and conducting an overall assessment of the city's public art and putting together a future vision of the direction the collection should go, according to Kathleen Kavanaugh, chair of the Public Arts Commission.
The commission voted unanimously at its March 20 meeting to commit $25,000 of the remaining $29,000 in this fiscal year's budget. The new fiscal year will begin in July.
Kavanaugh said that committing the funds is an important first step for the commission. Creating a master art plan is a "big undertaking," she said, adding that the project is the commission's "first priority."
The commitment to a public-art master plan comes four months after the Palo Alto City Council voted to require all new commercial projects costing more than $200,000 and taking up more than 10,000 square feet to contribute 1 percent of construction costs to the Palo Alto public-art purse.
As the city continues to grow in response to the burgeoning tech sector, the arts commission is sure to see its annual budget grow, Kavanaugh said. As such, she continued, it makes sense to hire a contractor to put together a plan for how to best use that budget.
Kavanaugh said the commission will look for a seasoned arts professional with experience on large art projects to create a five- to 10-year plan. The master art plan will identify which works of art need maintenance and help ensure the collection remains balanced and equally distributed.
"It becomes a guide for the art commission," Kavanaugh said of the plan.
The commission will likely vote to earmark more funds for the hiring of a consultant in the coming fiscal year, Kavanaugh said. She estimates the art master plan project could cost as much as $50,000 to $100,000.