Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Public Art Projects to Surge in 2014

Dozens of Installations Planned for El Paso

The City of El Paso will receive an update this week on the 2014 Public Art Plan that will list projects already in progress as well as those expected to start this year.

About 29 projects in all are listed in the plan, 21 of which are already in progress while another eight are designated as new. Eight other projects are listed as completed in 2013.

Three of the ongoing public art projects will be located at the upcoming Triple-A baseball stadium, which is expected to open in April. The largest, a $500,000 project, is being developed by Ball-Nogues, a California firm that has exhibited around the world. The working title is “Not Whole Fence” according to the firm’s website, www.ball-nogues.com.

The other two projects will be created by local artists, a graphic installation by Gaspar Enriquez highlighting the area’s baseball history, and what looks to be a stained-glass installation by Robert Davidoff with local historic imagery that will decorate the baseball stadium’s clock tower.
Two of the public art installations planned for the Triple-A stadium include a piece on the clock tower (first image) and another along a fence. (City of El Paso)

A few roundabouts throughout the city will benefit from public art installations, including a $500,000 project for the Spur 1966/Schuster Avenue roundabout at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Artist Donald Lipski will develop the installation in coordination with UTEP’s Centennial Celebration.

Public art sculpture planned for the
roundabout at Edgemere and Rich
Beem, by Jose Cano.
Roundabouts at R.C. Poe at Edgemere (Anna Jaquez), Rich Beem at Edgemere (Jose Cano), and Country Club at Memory (Margarita Cabrera) will also get public art projects, with each receiving $70,000 in funds.

Public art will also be used in construction of the Rapid Transit System’s bus stations, with the Mesa Corridor up first in a $240,000 project. Artist Catherine Widgery has developed a screen system that will display local flora when seen from an angle and will be installed at all 22 stations along the corridor.
Bus stations for the RTS Mesa Corridor will incorporate public art designed by Catherine Widgery. (City of El Paso)
Washington-based firm Haddad-Drugan will work on the $300,000 Dyer Corridor public art project, while no artist has been chosen for the $300,000 Alameda Corridor project.

A concept image of the art piece that will hang
fromthe ceiling of the airport's future rental
garage, by the MetaLab and RE:site studios.
Four other projects are underway in partnership with the Public Art Program, including two planned installations at the El Paso International Airport’s future rental car garage, artist-designed concrete walls along Loop 375, and the Interstate 10 aesthetics project at the Airway Boulevard interchange. These projects represent $863,000 in public investment.

Other future sites for public art include the Westside Pool, Palisades Canyon, Chelsea Pool, the El Paso Zoo, Irving Schwartz Library, Richard Burges Library, Eastside Regional Park, Fire Station #5, the Sun Metro Operations Center, Northgate Transit Terminal, Veteran’s Park, and the Convention Center North Pedestrian Pathway. Artists have not yet been selected for some of the projects.
This concept image shows public art ideas for the planned Pedestrian Pathway in Downtown El Paso, by artist Stephen Ingle. (City of El Paso)
The City’s Museums and Cultural Affairs Department is also developing a new Public Art Master Plan which will guide the next 10 years of the program. The last master plan was adopted in 2005.

In all, more than $3.7 million worth of public art projects are currently underway as part of the Public Art Plan, most of which should see completion in 2014 or 2015. Another $675,000 are planned as “new” for 2014. The projects are funded through 2010-2012 certificates of obligation and 2012 Quality of Life Bonds.

City Council will review the 2014 Public Art Plan at its January 7, 2014, meeting and may vote on whether or not to approve the item.