Arts commission and consultants to present Glendale public art master plan

Julia Heglund, right, and Alex DeGroot, left, of Glendale worked on Heglund's artwork titled "Skywatchers" on a utility box at the corner of South Verdugo Road and East Broadway in Glendale last April.
(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

After more than six months of discussions with city officials as well as in-person and online outreach with residents, a team of consultants tasked by the Glendale Arts and Culture Commission will present the Jewel City’s first public-art master plan this month.

The commission selected Community Arts Resources, a Los Angeles-based consulting team responsible for urban-art projects, and independent consultant Barbara Goldstein & Associates to draft a master plan that will act as a groundwork for developing a successful public art program in Glendale.

The organizing document will help guide how the more than $6 million in the city’s Urban Arts Fund will be spent over the next five to 10 years.

Goldstein, who has drafted public art plans for cities such as Pasadena and Palo Alto, said the goal was to write a realistic plan that will be enacted and not left to collect dust.

“We’re recommending they invest in art within their own infrastructure,” Goldstein said. “Glendale has such a unique ethnic makeup and is also growing fast. Art doesn’t necessarily have to be physical but also temporary and pop-up.”

She added that although Glendale is slightly behind in implementing public art when compared to similar cities, its public art ordinance — which requires developers with new projects in the city to either incorporate art in their designs or contribute to an arts fund — is an interesting opportunity.

“[Glendale’s] ordinance potentials are broader and more open-ended than many other places ...that are more narrow — it makes it more fun,” Goldstein said. “It gives Glendale a chance to support the art forms that are emerging.”

Some of the short- and long-term program recommendations focus on using art to enliven neighborhoods with a variety of offerings, Goldstein said, and placing an artist on the design team for new development.

Another major focus are improvements toward what’s known as the Maryland Art and Entertainment District, located along Maryland Avenue between Wilson and Harvard streets.

Glendale’s public-art future was built, in part, from feedback that began at a public outreach event at the Glendale CicLAvia in June and continued until October at a large-scale community meeting.

The consultants teamed up with coUrbanize, an online platform for community outreach, to field various ideas from residents.

In December, 50 signs in English, Armenian and Spanish, were installed throughout Glendale asking passersby what type of public art they would like to see. Their feedback is plotted on an online coUrbanize map with which others can engage.

“[coUrbanize] gave us a way to get meaningful engagement online and to see that conversation take place,” said Tamara O’Connor with Community Arts Resources. “It was helpful in not only in showing the discussion, but the fact that there was a lot of interest in public art in Glendale.”

The consultants will present their finalized master plan to City Council for feedback at 3 p.m. on Jan. 30 and again during a public discussion from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb.1 in the auditorium at the Downtown Central Library, 222 E. Harvard St.

Twitter: @JeffLanda