The City of Abbotsford is planning a review of its public art policy and program.
A request for proposals (RFP) has been issued for consulting firms or public art consultants to lead the review, which is part of the city’s new culture strategy adopted a year ago.
The RFP indicates that the review will include interviews with key stakeholders for comments and suggestions about the current policy; the creation of a maintenance and inspection plan; and researching and summarizing best practices in public art funding.
Issues to be considered under the “best practices” step include the selection, funding, location and management of public art.
The estimated budget for the review is $75,000, according to the RFP documents.
Public art is defined as any work of art that is created for a public space, usually outside.
City council created an official public arts policy in 2011, with a plan to contribute one per cent per year – on all new capital facilities projects – to public art, with a contribution cap of $300,000 per project.
Among the projects installed over the years are murals at Abbotsford and Matsqui recreation centres, the Golden Tree by Clearbrook Library, the raspberry sculpture at the Clearbrook Road roundabout, and the First Nations salmon sculpture at the McCallum Road roundabout.
Council adopted its first culture strategy – titled Culture Connect – in March 2022, laying out plans to support and advance cultural locally over the next 20 years. The strategy lists the initial “five big moves” that will be undertaken.
One of these moves is to update municipal cultural policy to be reflective of “evolving realities,” especially related to reconciliation, diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
Under the initiative, the public art policy was identified as the first policy to be updated.
The deadline for RFP submissions is Feb. 9, with an anticipated date of Feb. 28 for the awarding of the contract.
The project kickoff is slated for March 1, and the final report to council is expected in May 2024.