With many concerned about tight budgets, the Frederick City Public Art Commission is considering partnering with a community group on the upcoming “Gateway to Frederick” project, estimated to cost $250,000.
The privately-funded project will place an original piece of art in the middle of the traffic circle at South East Street and Monocacy Boulevard. At a meeting Tuesday, members of the commission discussed several fundraising ideas, including a program where individual bricks are purchased and collaborating with local charitable groups.
Partnering with a group is “a great possibility,” said commission member Lisa Ausherman. “There’s a lot of money here on the table that I don’t think anybody here is capable of raising.”
First opened in April, about $200 currently is in the The Gateway to Frederick Fund, a component of The Community Foundation of Frederick County.
Ausherman was concerned the estimated budget might increase because of project costs such as lighting and landscaping.
“I think this project, if done well, could be” more than $250,000, she said. “I think it’s going to take us two to five years to get this done.”
Roelkey Myers, commission member and director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said he knows of some community groups looking for projects such as Gateway to Frederick to work on.
“The morning Rotary has quite a track record of getting behind projects of this magnitude and making things happen,” he said as an example.
Frederick city officials gave approval last year for the Public Art Commission to begin soliciting portfolios from artists across the country. The commission will choose five artists who will be given $2,000 each to create a model of the proposed project. Commission members will then recommend their selection to the mayor and board of aldermen, who will give final approval, followed by the artwork being created and installed.
Some commission members said having a public forum about what the chosen art will look like also is essential.
“It’s not like we are saying we want a sculpture of Abraham Lincoln,” Myers said. “I think it’s very important that we have the actual ‘Here’s what we are going to build’ meeting.”
Myers said he hopes the commission will have a decision about the project artwork by next spring.