The debate over public art spending continues at Calgary city council

CALGARY – On Monday, city council will continue its discussion on whether to slash public arts funding.

The problem is the dropping price of oil.

Councillor Peter Demong says the city should put a freeze on public art spending during these tough economic times.

One percent of capital spending goes towards art at various projects throughout the city of Calgary, which can up to $4 million dollars.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says that proposal is short sighted.

“We just say well the building is not done, if it’s not painted or there is not grass or trees or a pathways. I would argue a major public building is not done until there is public art. So its not going to save any money, it has nothing to do with the price of oil, it will put people out of work and may cause the city to break contracts,” Nenshi said.

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According to Demong, the art hiatus could save the city $4 million in the 2015 budget.

The price of certain art installations in the city has sparked opinions, when it comes to the cost of the art pieces.

The pricey Peace Bridge and the controversial big blue ring led to  a debate among Calgarians on arts funding last spring. 

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