Public arts commission on its way out in Champaign

Public arts commission on its way out in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – The Public Arts Commission could be the second city committee to go in an effort to cut down on "dysfunctional" policy forming groups.

Mayor Jerry Schweighart said Thursday that Champaign's Public Arts Commission rarely meets, and only three issues have been placed on the group's agenda since its creation several years ago.

"They never dissolved it, and they don't meet on a regular basis," Schweighart said.

The city council on June 1 dissolved the liquor advisory commission, another city committee which met infrequently and discussed insubstantial agendas, Schweighart said at the time.

Following that vote, Schweighart said several other city committees may be on the chopping block. He reaffirmed that on Thursday, though he said that, beyond the public arts commission, there are no dissolutions planned for the immediate future.

He would not say whether any particular committees were being considered for dissolution.

"We'll be looking at all of them," Schweighart said.

In place of the public arts commission, a newly-formed, not-for-profit Public Art League will take the lead on promoting art in the city, Schweighart said. The city will be working with the group, but will not be directly involved with that group, unless art projects are planned for city property.

"If they pick a site that's on city property, probably the most involvement that we would have is OK'ing the site and putting in the concrete pad to put the structure on," Schweighart said.

Brian Knox, owner of Knox-Array Event Production in downtown Champaign and the president of the Public Art League, said the group already has plans for Champaign.

"We are a creative society, and I've always wondered why there wasn't more public art," Knox said.

The Public Art League is a Champaign-Urbana community-wide initiative, Knox said, but is focusing on just Champaign for now.

Knox said the group has had discussions with the city about turning the Second Street Boneyard Creek detention area into a sculpture park. The league has been taking proposals, and the deadline for submissions is today.

"When we came up, they (city officials) said, 'That's great that someone wants to take the ball and run with it,'" Knox said.

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aantulov wrote on July 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I wish it were funny that Mayor Schweighart is calling his public arts commission "dysfunctional" for not spending more on art, or meeting more, when he openly supports the tea party movement assertion -that the president of the united states has not provided the documents that prove he is a citizen. Who is running against him in the next election? Someone more functional I hope.

mailman wrote on July 17, 2010 at 1:07 am
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your letter doesn't make a whole lot of sense. what does the mayor's comment about the public arts have to do with the tea party. so he supports the tea party's request to check out documents to see if the president is a natural born citizen. it gets more curious when asked for proof the white house tries to hinder persons asking for simple proof. if i were the president i wouldn't hesitate one bit to show my birth certificate if questioned. the more he stalls the guiltier he looks in this situation. i'm not saying he isn't a citizan but it sure looks suspicious.

aantulov wrote on July 18, 2010 at 9:07 am

The proof has been provided by the president. This is a matter of a group repeating a lie in order to promote it as fact.
The tea party agenda is to dismantle government. The mayor of Champaign has already dismantled the liquor advisory board in a college town where alcohol consumption is rampant. Now he is aiming for the art commission in a town aided by it for tourism. This is a "tea party" agenda. If we are not diligent about monitoring this "nazi" tactic, we may find ourselves in the position of Colorado Springs, where the police organizations are stating they don't have the manpower to investigate burglarlies. Contact them. They are not the only community where those able to obtain their own private security forces have forced officers to speak out.