Monday, December 15, 2008

Citizens' art to be displayed at Cincinnati City Hall?

Cincinnati City Council is considering an ordinance dedicating an area of City Hall for the display of citizens' artworks, but money likely won't be budgeted to develop the idea beyond a very basic presentation.

The City Hall Art Gallery would display works from artists receiving City funding, programs or projects administered by the City, schools participating in the Partners in Education program, Sister Cities, and City employees.

City administration has recommended the three large vertical display cabinets on the third floor, located on the south side of the building and currently containing a United States flag, trophies, and plaques.

This area would be accesible to visitors attending council meetings, would keep down costs, and would minimize damage to City Hall's walls.

City staff would solicit artworks through websites, the e-newsletter, and press releases, and specific works would be selected by a newly-formed City Hall Art Gallery Exhibition Committee.

The new committee would include five members selected from the departments of Parks, Recreation, Public Services, Transportation and Engineering, Community Development and either the Mayor's or City Manager's office.

A representative from the Law Department would serve in an advisory role.

No more than four exhibits would be scheduled per year, and, because of a lack of curatorial knowledge among City staff, the installation and de-installation of artworks would be handled by the exhibitors.

According to a memo to council from city manager Milton Dohoney Jr., artwork containing "obscenity, defamation or 'fighting words'" will not be considered for exhibition.

Council's Arts, Culture, Tourism, Marketing & Technology Committee will discuss the proposal at tomorrow afternoon's meeting, with a full council vote possible on Wednesday.