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Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 1 year ago

Art committee seeks expertise for roundabouts

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by: David Conway News Editor

The city’s Public Art Committee is planning for the biggest project in the group’s history — which is why the advisory board is calling for a pro.

Beginning in March, the Public Art Committee began working on a project to locate artwork for the roughly 16 roundabouts scheduled for construction in the city over the next decade. To tackle the task, the group has held a series of special meetings to discuss the criteria for the artwork — and has begun the process of enlisting outside help to assist along the way.

The group agreed it was essential for an experienced project manager to come on board to guide the committee through the uncharted territory it was on the verge of entering. Since then, board members have discussed the criteria for selecting — and the responsibilities of — that project manager, culminating in a request for proposals expected to be ready sometime before the end of the month.

Trulee Jamison, chairwoman of the city’s Public Art Committee, said the search for artwork to place in the center of roundabouts represents not only an important civic endeavor, but also the most arduous undertaking with which the group has ever been tasked.

“This is the largest-scale project we have worked on as a committee to date,” Jamison said. “It’s a project that, by the guidelines we have set up, is going to be unique to the state of Florida.”

At Wednesday’s Public Art Committee meeting, the group went over the final list of qualifications and duties for the project manager with David Smith, the city’s general manager of neighborhood and development services. The job is expected to be a part-time position for an undetermined contract period, but the group developed a series of 22 duties for the eventual project manager to fulfill. Those include:

Assisting with the procurement of artwork and recommendation of artists;

Working with organizations seeking to donate or fund artwork for display;

Developing and monitoring a budget for artwork for each individual roundabout;

Assisting in fundraising outreach and applications for grant funding;

Determining the logistics and scale for displaying the artwork at each roundabout; and

Contributing to public outreach associated with the project.

The Public Art Committee is looking for an individual knowledgeable about contemporary art and public art project management, with experience acquiring art for and managing large art installations. The RFP seeks someone with the ability to work up to 30 hours per week in the initial stages of the project while continuing to contribute on a part-time basis over several years, but Jamison said the ultimate role — and cost — of the manager is still to be determined.

“We were pushing the need for a project manager to launch this project as it needed to be launched,” Jamison said. “This is a work in progress; the entire development of the roundabouts is a work in progress.”

Although there is no central theme for the artwork yet, the group did develop some criteria for the sculptures envisioned for the centers of the roundabouts, which the city expects to be museum-quality, large-scale, free-standing and original fine art.

Smith said he hoped to have a project manager identified by early 2015. The first roundabout the group will work on, located at Orange Avenue and Main Street, has an expected completion date of late 2015.

Contact David Conway at dconway@yourobserver.com

 

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