Mark Tucker, a lecturer for the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, attended the Ann Arbor City Council meeting last night clad in a multi-colored painted two-piece suit and tie with matching shoes.

Tucker, who runs the popular Festifools parade, made a plea to City Council members for the city’s continued funding of public art in light of proposed amendments that would decrease funding for public art.

Tucker told council members to envision him as “art itself,” not a person who loves or makes art. While shedding a colorful bucket hat, his tie and eventually his suit jacket, Tucker urged the council to continue to fund public art with at least 1 percent of capital improvement funds.

“One percent is not too much to ask to keep ourselves from being beige,” Tucker said, referring to the original color of his coat. He added that the council wouldn’t want him to demonstrate what zero percent funding for public art would look like.

At last night’s meeting, City Council member Sabra Briere (D–Ward 1) formally introduced amendments she sponsored that would reduce and refine funding for public art. The amendments propose to slash public art funding to half of a percent of capital improvement funds from the current 1 percent. Thus, the amendments would make the name of the program, Percent for Public Art, a misnomer.

The changes would prohibit capital improvement funds, which are used for public art, from being used for sidewalk repairs or construction. The amendments would also require that funds for public art be spent within three years or risk being returned to the budget fund from which they originate.

Briere urged residents to understand that while many council members support public art, they would like to see new “mechanisms” of funding it.

Council member Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) said the council needs to send the message that the city is dedicated to basic services before other programs like public art.

The amendments passed a first reading last night, and council will see the amendments for a second reading at its next meeting on Dec. 5.

Newly elected council member Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2) was also officially sworn in at last night’s meeting along with re-elected City Council members Mike Anglin (D–Ward 5), Marcia Higgins (D–Ward 4), Kunselman and Briere.

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