Calgary councillor wants public art program put on hold

CALGARY – As the City of Calgary looks at ways to battle dropping oil prices, one councillor says it’s the city’s public art program that should be put on hold.

Ward 14 Councillor Peter Demong is putting forward a notice of motion next week calling for a funding freeze for public art projects in 2015 and a review of arts funding for 2016.

Right now, the city’s public art policy allows up to $4 million from any single capital project to be put towards art.

Demong says we are in an economic downturn, and that money can be put to better use.

However, other councillors disagree with the suggestion.

“The argument that we should cut it discounts the fact that it’s an economic generator,” argues Ward 11 Councillor Brian Pincott. “They just look at it as a cost, as opposed to it creating jobs for the people who fabricate it… you’re paying artists to do their work.”

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“Art, and public art in particular, has been found to be a massive economic generator.”

The motion goes to council on Monday.

For more information on the city’s Public Art Program, visit the City of Calgary’s website.

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