After the failure of the city’s public arts millage on the November ballot, the Ann Arbor City Council will discuss two ordinances to resolve the issue of public art funding.

The proposal would have eliminated restrictions on city-funded public art and opened funding to temporary work and performance art, including Festifools. Now that the proposal is no longer an option, several Council members have indicated a desire to alter the current Percent for Art program, which takes one percent of funding from city construction projects to fund permanent public art installations.

However, Councilmember Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2) is putting forward an ordinance that would terminate the program. Lumm’s proposal, which would cease all funding for public arts through the Percent for Art program, includes revisions to the city code that note if the program is dismissed, public art projects could still be funded by the city on a case by case basis.

The ordinance modifies the source of funding for maintaining public art displays, stating that funds can come from the city’s public arts trust “or such other funds as the City Council may appropriate.” If the Council votes to accept this proposal, all public arts projects will cease by July 1, 2013.

Also, councilmembers Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) and Marcia Higgins (D–Ward 4) are sponsoring an ordinance that would amend sections of the City Code regarding public art.

The amendment would pertain to public arts sections and would allow more freedom for public art administrators in choosing types and locations of public art. The proposal would allow for some smaller properties or sites undergoing renovation to fall into the category of possible locations for public art installations.

City to enter agreement with University for conduit facilities

The Council is also poised to vote on an agreement with the University’s Board of Regents that would grant the University rights to lay wire in the ground beneath the University-owned Ronald McDonald houses on Washington Heights Street near the University Hospital.

The organization provides housing for families who have relatives undergoing treatment at the University hospital. The resolution, sponsored by Councilmember Higgins, requires eight votes to pass. The University would have to pay the city for “right-of-way” agreements on the property.

Council to vote on Festifools’ use of city streets

The Council will also discuss a resolution to close down streets and bag meters for the University-sponsored FestiFools festival, an annual street art event held in the spring.

The event, run by Lloyd Hall Scholars Program art director Mark Tucker, commemorates public art with a parade of student-created papier-mâché puppets that trot along Ann Arbor’s streets.

The resolution is requesting that Liberty Street — between South Ashley Street and South 4th Avenue — and South Main Street — between West Williams and West Washington streets — be closed off to traffic on April 7, 2013.

A resolution is also on the agenda to close streets for Fool Moon, a similar nighttime festival on April 5, 2013. For that festival, which takes place from dusk until midnight, Washington Street would be closed off between 1st and Main streets, and Ashley Street would be closed between Washington and Liberty streets.

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