CITY OF ASHEVILLE PUBLIC ART PROGRAM
( Photo from the 2018 RADfest)
History of the Public Art Program
Starting in the 1970s, people began to notice that Asheville had very little public art compared to other cities around the country. As an outgrowth of the Streetscapes program, the Urban Trail Committee was formed in 1992 to develop a walking art trail highlighting historically important architecture, people and events within downtown Asheville. The Urban Trail became an Asheville treasure and helped show citizens what public art could do for our community. In November of 1998, a group of eighteen concerned citizens came together to form the Public Art Working Group. Many meetings and a great deal of research later, City Council adopted the City’s first Public Art Policy. A newly established Public Art Board started meeting in May of 2000.
Asheville Public Art Components
As you explore Asheville, you’ll see a number of sculptures and other pieces of art: The “Energy Loop”, the Deco Gecko in Pritchard Park, the murals in the City Hall chambers, the bronze life-size sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. at MLK Park, and the more than 30 sculptures and plaques along the Urban Trail are all part of Asheville’s public art collection.
Public Art Master Plan
The Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) was completed in 2000 and re-adopted in November, 2008. Our community has changed significantly since this plan was created The Public Art and Cultural Commission and the Strategic Development Office of the City will review this document in late fall 2018 in order to recommend to Council any needed changes.
Public Art Cultural Commission
The Public Art board meets the fourth Thursday of January, March, May, July, September and November at 4:00 p.m., in the 1st floor conference room of City Hall. The meetings last 1 -2 hours.
The Community and Economic Development Department coordinates with the Parks and Recreation Department to administer the City of Asheville’s investments in public art and place-making. The Strategic Development Office and the Outdoor Events and Film Manager support arts and culture initiatives as a strategy for wealth creation and the enhancement of place. We work with designers, producers, developers, businesses and artists to connect to the public’s interest across the built and natural environment. One way we accomplish this is through the promotion of the goals of the Public Art Master Plan and administration of the City’s Public Art Policy.
Stephanie Monson Dahl