Dexter Village Council hears pitch for public art; committee told to outline vision, timeline
A committee promoting public art in Dexter needs to define its goals, vision and timeline, as well as funding options, before the Village Council will approve a proposed public art ordinance.
That was the message for the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee following a work session with the Village Council Monday night.
The committee drafted the ordinance that requires 1 percent of the cost of village capital improvement projects be set aside to fund public art, with a cap of $10,000 maximum per project.
Village Council President Shawn Keough asked the committee to define what sort of selection process it will be using to choose artwork and to explore what its long-term vision is for how the schools will be involved.
Victoria Schon, vice chairwoman of the committee, told council members that the committee would like to focus on downtown Dexter at least initially as a location for public art, which is defined as works of art created, purchased, produced or otherwise acquired for display in public spaces or facilities.
"We want art that speaks of our ruralness and our history," she said. "We don't want to look like Chicago. We want to look like Dexter."
Council member Ray Tell asked the committee to define public art that it considers unpatriotic or obscene.
"Our motivation is not to upset people," said committee member Audrey Becker, who said that it is unlikely that any such art would survive the approval process. "We're looking to enhance the community and make heritage, arts and culture visible to Dexter and make it a wonderful place for people to walk around."
Committee chairman Mike VIckers said that the committee wouldn't do anything without getting the council's approval first.
Matt LaFontaine, general manager of LaFontaine Chevrolet in Dexter, committed $5,000 for a piece of public art on his property, which is currently under expansion. The committee has discussed locating public art at several local parks including Community Park, Warrior Creek Park, Mill Creek Park and Peace Park.
"There's no place in the village that couldn't be a place for public art," said Paul Cousins, who is both a member of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee and the Village Council.
"My hope is that artists will start coming to Dexter to fill out applications (to have their art displayed,)" Tell said.
Vickers said that the committee will respond to the council's requests and also come up with a list of specific sites for public art as well as ideas for the type of art it would like to see in each location.
Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach the news desk at 734-623-2530. For more Dexter stories, visit our Dexter page.