Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Las Cruces Adopts Percent for Art Regulation

LAS CRUCES – A new mechanism to fund sculptures, murals, mosaics and other public works of art across the city was approved by city councils on Monday.

At its November 15 session, Las Cruces City Council approved an ordinance repealing a “percentage for art” that will use a portion of the proceeds from future general bond issues to fund public works of art in support of bond-funded projects.

The regulation, unanimously approved by the council, provides “a separate source of funding for the acquisition of works of art … and for the preservation of current and future public art assets”.

The ordinance stipulates that two percent of the total net proceeds after payment of the issuing costs for each GO bond project will be used for the acquisition of art in public spaces for each project. However, this rule does not apply to bonds issued to fund utility or flood projects.

Percent for Art’s policy was explicitly promoted in the city’s public art master plan, which was passed by the city council in March 2020 and directs the city’s public art funding sources, how to hire artists to create pieces, and how to cultivate art across the city.

If the percentage of funds earmarked for art for a project exceeds “the amount that, in the city’s discretion, should reasonably be spent on the inclusion of art in a loan-funded facility, construction or other capital project,” the ordinance shall specify that the funds will be used to purchase public works of art for other municipal institutions or projects with the same purposes as the original loan project.

“It speaks to an important understanding and vision in our community,” said Gregory Smith, executive director of Doña Ana Arts Council and former city councilor, in an email responding to the passage of the ordinance. “The arts are part of what we are and part of what we can be.”

The ordinance also mandates that the city’s public arts program use at least 0.25 percent but no more than 0.5 percent of its funds on the preservation and preservation of existing public art.

Las Cruces self-proclaimed its own arts and culture district in 2018, and the district was recognized by the state the following year. The art district was the first American project to win a Creative Tourism Award from the Creative Tourism Network at the end of 2019.

Michael McDevitt is the city and county government reporter for Sun News. He can be reached at 575-202-3205, [email protected] or @MikeMcDTweets on Twitter.

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