A Madison Mural Program will give under-achieving students hands-on project-based opportunities to become engaged in the creative process, will help beautify neighborhoods that need an enhanced sense of place, and will involve all citizens who want to participate in visually depicting why this place, in this time, matters.
Response: Madison Parks is committed to providing positive recreational opportunities and experiences to our citizens. To that end, where appropriate, public art work is a vauled part of the park system.
1) What are we already doing? We already fund murals as part of our regular annual grants program. Last year, for example, we funded Sharon Kilfoy's work at Centro Hispano and supported the work under the University Ave underpass done by students at Spring Harbor School.
2) What will need more review? The best model for administering such a program. There are three options. Option One: Create a neighborhood mural program in which the City commissions new murals a year. This model could, if desired, require youth input and involvement (sort of a hybrid between our signature grant and an RFP for a public art commission). Cap budget amount: $10,000 / mural. Option Two: Create a new program to support art in public schools, particularly directed at students with untapped potential/academic risk (preliminary conversations with MMSD arts administrator do not indicate that they would prefer murals over other arts programs - ie theater, dance, music). Work with MMSD administration to issue an open RFP in which any non-profit or individual artist could respond and work across the district. Operating budget amount: $10,000-$50,000. (Note: We are just starting the Any Given Child initiative which will look for the most appropriate way to increase arts access district wide.) Option Three: Increase funding to Madison’s public art program but do not change the process. This will not guarantee increased funding for murals, but will allow for more resources to be directed to public art projects, including murals if they are selected. Operating budget amount: $10,000-$50,000. Note: In any of the three options, we also need to anticipate future maintenance costs or at least ensure responders to RFPs incorporate maintenance plans.
3) What is not feasible and why? Starting a major mural program (with mural only designated staff with salary and benefits and funding for the murals themselves would cost over $100,000. The adopted Cultural Plan and the Madison Arts Commission have both identified other priorities for spending that should be considered first. An assistant for the current arts program with increased funding for public art (it is currently about $33,000 a year) would be an efficient way to expand the capacity and positively impact of the City's art program. Exploring establishing a percent for art program should also be prioritized so that there could be a funding source for increasing the amount of public art in Madison. If the goal is to increase the number of murals, utilizing increased funding through the current public art process is the recommended path to doing so.