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Charlottetown's arts advisory board to compile report on public art for city council

Barb MacLeod
Barb MacLeod is the chairwoman of Charlottetown's arts advisory board. - SaltWire file
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Charlottetown city council will be receiving a report about adding public art to the downtown by the end of January.

The city’s arts advisory board met on Tuesday to begin the process of summarizing its Imagine Charlottetown initiative.

“We’re going to write a summary of our campaign and each (arts advisory) board member is going to write a page on their expertise," said Barb MacLeod, chairwoman of the board. “We’re going to present that to city council."

The board hosted an open house in March just before public health restrictions were introduced around the COVID-19. The goal was to give residents a sneak peek at ideas that were submitted as part of the initiative as a first step in the process.

However, everything quickly came to a halt, all but putting the process on hold. Things got moving again in late October. Board members begin soliciting expressions of interest from building owners who might be keen to have a mural placed on the side of their structure.

As with anything, money is an issue and there are bylaws to navigate around. The board wants to make sure council is as educated as possible before moving any further.

“Hopefully, if we’ve done a good job (on the report) we will start to have them consider public art as a priority for the city; something that needs attention," said MacLeod.

The report will include various funding channels money for public art can be accessed through.

MacLeod points to the success of public art in Halifax as what is possible. The Halifax Regional Municipality facilitates the creation and acquisition of quality public art and ensures that professional artists are involved in its creation. The Halifax region has more than 250 pieces of public art projects and installations.

“We have had such incredibly fun conversations and our visions for the city are so wonderful. We’re really hoping to be able to encapsulate what we talk about in our meetings into this summary."

MacLeod said the ultimate goal is to have public art projects and installations reflect the people of Charlottetown.

“It’s not just about putting a mural on the side of a building," she said. “It’s about lifting up a community in so many different ways."

Dave Stewart is the municipal reporter for The Guardian.

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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