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Arts Commission looks to cover funding gap for Newport sculpture exhibit

Arts Commission looks to cover funding gap for Newport sculpture exhibit
Visitors look at “Red Gateway,” a sculpture in the first phase of the Newport Beach Civic Center Park public art exhibition in 2014. (File Photo)

The fund for the sculpture exhibit in Newport Beach Civic Center Park is almost $20,000 short of what it needs to cover the next round of installations, leading the city Arts Commission to seek approval to move some money around and waive previous City Council stipulations to spend fewer public dollars on the displays.

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The council on Tuesday will consider the commission’s request to transfer $19,711 from the Cultural Arts Professional and Technical Services account to the Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park Phase 4 account.

The accounts, which are separate, are both within the broader cultural arts budget, but the council would need to greenlight the transfer. The Arts Commission needs the funds to help cover the payments it gives artists who loan their sculptures to the city during the two-year exhibition phases. The program, which started in 2014, is now in Phase 3.

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In 2017, the council approved the third and fourth phases of the rotating exhibit with the conditions that in Phase 4 — which starts this fall — the artist payments come from private sources, the Arts Commission and city staff cut project management fees by half, and municipal workers install the pieces.

The total cost of Phase 4 is $134,711 — $84,711 for project management, curation, installation and de-installation and $50,000 for the artist payments.

Currently, the Phase 4 account has $100,000. The nonprofit Newport Beach Arts Foundation has committed $15,000 of the remaining $34,711, leaving $19,711 to make up.

In addition to covering the shortfall, the commission would like the council to pay Arts OC, the project manager that has worked with the city on the program since its inception, the full $37,500 it bid rather than cut back, and to keep the firm Arts OC uses to install the pieces rather than use municipal employees.

The commission believes there are cost efficiencies in hiring a business that specializes in art installation, according to a staff report.

General plan update

Tuesday’s council meeting also includes a study session on the upcoming general plan update process.

The council and staff will discuss the creation of a steering committee and a citizen advisory committee, necessary consulting services, outreach and the overall scope and timeline.

The general plan is the city’s comprehensive development framework that guides policies on land use, housing, roads, recreation, historical and natural resources, arts and culture, the harbor and bay, safety and noise. It most recently was revised in 2006. The next comprehensive update could take about three years, depending on the scope.

The study session will start at 5 p.m., followed by the regular session at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.

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