Last week, Public Art Chattanooga released its ten-year strategic plan outlining opportunities and goals for public artwork, and detailing policy, operational and funding strategies for the City of Chattanooga’s public art program.
The Public Art Strategic Plan was created through an intensive community planning process, CHA Creates: A Public Art Vision. The plan responds to the different perspectives Chattanoogans voiced about what constitutes public art, its purpose and the growing demand for public art to address specific community concerns. Building on the history of Chattanooga’s public/private partnerships, the plan allows the City to assume a more prominent role in driving the vision for public art in the city and taking the lead in its planning and funding.
“Public art helps define Chattanooga by enhancing the public realm, stimulating dialogue and building community,” Katelyn Kirnie, Director of Public Art Chattanooga says. “I’m thrilled our community was so engaged throughout this process and wants to see more art in more places.”
Consultants Gail Goldman and Barbara Goldstein made six visits to Chattanooga, meeting with various community groups. They found that Chattanoogans strongly value and support public art and look to the City to provide equitable access and opportunity to experience it.
“It’s always encouraging to come into a community and see such a desire for more public art,” Goldman says. “We met with residents young and old, those who live and work in downtown and throughout the surrounding neighborhood who want to see more art in their communities. It’s clear Chattanoogans see public art projects as a way to convey neighborhood pride and sense of place.”
Incorporating the arts within the community are an essential component to advancing Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke’s vision.
“We will be a city that empowers Chattanoogans to build an equitable, authentic and inclusive community through prosperity and high quality of life,” Berke says.
Over the course of three months, Public Art Chattanooga, along with Goldman and Goldstein, conducted 32 interviews, seven focus groups, seven awareness-building events, two community input sessions and they collected 222 surveys that were generated in both English and Spanish.
The input from the community helped cultivate an action plan for public art over the next ten years driven by the following guiding principles:
• Provide equitable access to a diversity of artists and artistic experiences.
• Celebrate our communities’ cultural assets, highlighting the unique character of our neighborhoods, honoring their histories and preserving quality of place.
• Elevate the role the artist and the creative process play in connecting people and place.
• Encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration in the public and private sectors to create vibrant public spaces.
• Express Chattanooga’s identity through the built environment.
The full plan is available here.