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Spending on Public Art

The Ventura Public Art Commission held a public information meeting in City Hall on July 9. Several major city projects were explained to about 50 people from the area. Casa de Anza Library, the Mall Transit Center, E.P. Foster Library and Grant Park Reservoir projects were to have some type of art incorporated into the design and brought into reality by the artists. This sounded like a good idea, both for the city and, most importantly, for the people who live in Ventura.

However, what we learned at that meeting was that the city of Ventura, through the Public Art Commission, plans to fund portions of these projects with public art money that should more fairly come from numerous other funds available to the city.

The commission plans walls and lighting for the gallery on the third floor of City Hall. That money should come out of other city coffers. If the city wants to buy and own an art collection, who could blame them? But should a city struggling to meet public demands use public art money to beautify its building, or should it make public art more public?

The landscaping or “earthworks” at Grant Park Reservoir is another rather gray area concerning extensive earth moving, possible tree cutting, parking and paperwork--none of which should come from the money set aside for the public art program.

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We are all looking forward to a wonderful New Ventura, but please, may the council and its commissions choose carefully when taking from the allotment given to the people, the most important 2%.

LAWRENCE and LORI ANDERSON, Ventura


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