State Says No Public Art Required for Police Station

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Jacob Resneck/KMXT

The Alaska State Arts Council on the Arts has backed off from its earlier assertion that the city of Kodiak should have set aside a portion of money for its new police station and jail complex for public art. The arts council had earlier stated that since the new $23 million project had received several million in state funding it was bound by state law to put aside one percent for an art installation. KMXT’s Jacob Resneck has the details.

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It was announced last month that more than $116,000 has been set aside for public arts projects from several large-scale capital projects undertaken by the Kodiak Island School District. This money is through the one percent for arts program that sets aside a portion of the state funding from Kodiak’s new swimming pool as well as a pair of gymnasium upgrades in the villages of Ouzinkie and Old Harbor.

But the local arts council had raised questions about the absence of any arts funding from the new police station and jail complex even though it had received about $3.6 million in state funding. City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski says the city wasn’t bound by the one percent for art funding law because the channels from where the money was received and the nature of the project itself.

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After several weeks of back-and-forth between the city manager’s office and the state arts council’s program director, Andrea Noble, it appears the city is right. Noble wrote an email to KMXT this week stating, quote "this project was not required to spend 1% on public art." She added that even so, her office hoped the city would consider allocating "a small amount of funding to include artwork by a few local artists connected to culture and community" but added that that often doesn’t happen unless there’s community pressure.

She declined to be interviewed for this story.

The Kodiak Arts Council’s Executive Director Tom Quass says he’d hoped there would have been an art component to the police station and jail because it’s such a high profile building.

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Kniaziowski said that while the city doesn’t think the police station and jail would be appropriate for a public art installation, a new library certainly would. The city council earlier this month authorized an application for a $7 million matching grant for a new library building.

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Quass says he hopes the local arts council will be included in future discussions for that project.

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Meanwhile, the deadline for artists to submit public art proposals for the Kodiak swimming pool and gymnasiums in Ouzinkie and Old Harbor isn’t until January 31st. Artists interested can still submit proposals to the school district.

I’m Jacob Resneck.

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