Arts and culture commission ready to implement next phase of public artwork project

Glendale’s Arts and Culture Commission is ready to begin the next part of a journey to make the city an arts destination.

Last month, Glendale City Council approved the next phase for the Urban Art Program, a plan to reflect the city’s culture and diversity through public artwork.

The commission is working on a short-term plan as well as a long-term design for the program, which encourages artists, developers, designers, city officials and business owners to engage in the cultural development project with their ideas.

In February 2016, the Arts and Culture Commission submitted a request for proposal to complete the citywide art plan. The commission hired public arts consultant Barbara Goldstein to create a multiyear strategy and vision for the art plan.

City Council members moved to proceed with the selection of Goldstein and the budget on Dec. 6, 2016. The agreement was finalized in March 2017, and work began in June 2017.

Residents submitted their ideas during meetings and through a website, said Maria Sundeen, principal administrator with the Glendale library’s arts and culture department.

“Glendale is a multicultural community, and this is a way to represent everything the community has to offer with the arts,” Sundeen said in a recent phone interview. “It’s something that has been a part of our fabric for a long time.”

Glendale City Council voted to move forward with implementing the Urban Art Program on Aug. 14. At the same meeting, Goldstein said pieces were falling in place for Glendale to move forward, crediting the outreach for drawing large attendance at meetings.

“It’s the most extensive outreach I’ve ever seen on a public-art plan, and I’ve been involved with dozens of them,” Goldstein said.

Recently, the five-member Arts and Culture Commission met to discuss its next plans for the Urban Art Program.

“We want to do big things in the city, as well as smaller scale projects in the neighborhoods,” said Ara Oshagan, arts and culture commissioner. “Part of the plan is to give space to the local artists to express themselves.”

An art fund created in 2006 has accumulated roughly $7 million, according to a city report on the Urban Art Program.

Goldstein said she and the Arts and Culture Commission don’t want to give the city a short-term arts project, but rather a calculated vision for the future.

“The city has a plan to invest its art money,” Goldstein said in a recent phone interview. “We wanted to give them a bigger picture and framework. What are we going to do over the next seven to 10 years? That is our focus right now.”