Several members of the Gateway Arts Project Committee will be making a presentation at the Duluth City Council’s July 23 work session on public art to be commissioned for the grass circle in the center of the new Roundabout that links McClure Bridge Road, Irvindale Road and West Lawrenceville Street.
In an update to the council at its regular July 9 meeting Mayor Nancy Harris told the council the GAP Committee plans to issue a call for artists to design the Roundabout art at the major gateway to the city Aug. 1.
AGCO has donated $50,000 toward the cost of art, and the city has budgeted $2,500 for landscaping, which the mayor said would be designed as part of the art project.
“The budget has expanded to $100,000-$120,000,” Harris said. “It looks like we’re going to be involved in the process of raising more money.”
The project is envisioned as taking 18 months, Harris said.
The committee has been meeting since Jan. 31, Harris said. Since its formation, she said, the committee has been educating itself and visiting public art sites. It also has been reviewing public input obtained in past surveys conducted in the city and compiling data. The committee has had one meeting with residents of West Lawrenceville Street, she said.
A GAP Committee meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, in the Community Room at Duluth City Hall was open to the public.
So far, the committee has determined the art needs to be durable and low maintenance and reflect elements in the city’s gateway signage of brick, stone and wrought iron, Harris said. Also, it should have a 360-degree view and not block roundabout traffic. Landscaping is “critical” to the project, she said.
Some of the words that have emerged in discussing the potential project, she said, are “global,” “diversity,” “community,” “good living,” “family” and “history.” The city’s motto is “Capture the Spirit of Good Living.”
The committee has spent part of the time, Harris said, “deciding what we can’t have and don’t want.” For instance, a fountain has been eliminated due to the cost of maintaining it. “It’s kind of like herding cats together to decide on a piece of art,” she said.
Harris asked council members to provide the committee with guidelines for the art project that include their involvement in the selection process. City Manager Tim Shearer will present an example for discussion at the upcoming work session, she said.
The mayor suggested that the council appoint a member to serve on the committee, which would increase its number to 20. The current membership includes artists, art careerists, an architect, the mayor, and city staff as well as representatives of AGCO, the Downtown Development Authority and Duluth Historical Society.
“Two West Lawrenceville Street residents who will see the piece of art every day” also are serving on the committee, Harris said.