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Public Art Plan Aims For Increased Community Engagement

Kirkwood

A strategic plan released Tuesday from the City of Bloomington is aimed at expanding and  increasing engagement in the public art scene.

The Bloomington Art Commission's Public Art Master Plan establishes a blueprint for getting community members more involved in public art and details ideas for investing in new projects.

The development of the plan, which took several years, included interviewing members of city administration, examining other cities' public art strategic plan and conducting a series of online surveys to gather feedback from artists and residents.

Miah Michaelsen, the assistant economic development director for the arts in Bloomington says the document makes a statement about how the city views the arts and helps focus the city's public art efforts.

"In a time of somewhat limited resources, it helps guide the commission's work," she says.

Michaelsen says the commission created a wider definition of public art in the document, including theatre, dance and music along with sculpture and painting.

She says the city has robust arts environment, but it needs more opportunities at the neighborhood level.

“Art projects could be initiated by neighborhoods or different community groups and by business and so forth," she says. "It isn’t necessarily focused on a specific geographic area or produced by a specific group.”

Michaelsen says the city will host a workshop in February on how to initiate art projects in the community.

And she says the commission will also seek opportunities for public art projects to beautify the I-69 corridor.

"I think it could provide a really interesting opportunity for Bloomington to make an interesting statement about who it is and what kind of community it is," she says. "It's a great opportunity, if we're trying to create a sense of place, to not let the design of the interstate totally determine that."

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