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Mayor Gray Proposes $2.3 Million Annual Increase to the Capital Improvement Budget for Public Art

Friday, March 29, 2013

The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is pleased to announce a proposed $2.3 million increase to the city’s public art budget in the most recent Capital Improvements Plan by Mayor Vincent C. Gray. The proposed budget increase, which will take effect in FY 2014, will allot a $5 million annual capital allocation for public art over the next six years.

The DCCAH administers public art in the District through its DC Creates! Public Art program. This program, which is funded by the city’s Capital Budget purchases, commissions, and installs artworks for public sites throughout the District of Columbia, including parks, libraries, community centers, government offices, bridges and other public venues. The collection includes more than 100 permanently sited and integrated works and over 2,600 portable works in District Government offices.

“The mayor’s $2.3 budget increase is a significant investment in making the District of Columbia a world-class arts and culture destination,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “Investing in the aesthetic qualities of this city provides for a improved quality of life, creates cultural attractions as well as develops a sense of place in our neighborhoods.”

Major public art initiatives over the next several years include:

  • The 183-acre St. Elizabeth’s East campus – a collaboration with the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to activate the former St. Elizabeth’s Hospital site through public art and design interventions.
  • New York Avenue Bridge – a public art project that includes the commission, fabrication and installation of a monumental artwork by artist Kent Bloomer on the Northeast, Washington, D.C. bridge
  • Fort Totten Memorial – a memorial park project to honor the 2009 transit crash victims
  • Expanding the agency’s Cultural Facilities Program grant – an opportunity to help organizations purchase a currently leased performance, exhibition or professional training facility, planning/ design or implementation of capital improvement projects or purchase of long-term fixtures and equipment
  • Additional artworks purchased for the Art Bank Collection – a city collection of art distributed for display at various public spaces and District government offices.

The Capital Improvements Program coordinates planning, financing, and infrastructure improvement. Capital improvements are those that, because of expected long-term useful lives and high costs, require large amounts of capital funding. These funds are spent over a multi-year period and result in a fixed asset.

The mayor’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan still awaits final approval by the City Council.