Friday, April 12, 2024

The right kind of art

Staff Writer | August 4, 2020 1:07 AM

Lake District project would focus on equality, human rights

While Coeur d’Alene’s Lake District beings its last mile in a 24-year marathon to beautify the downtown area, the city and its urban renewal agency are investing in a public art project in keeping with the goals of one of the district’s most prominent residents: the Human Rights Education Institute.

At tonight’s City Council meeting, Coeur d’Alene city administrator Troy Tymesen will present the framework for the Four Corners Gateway public art project — the area around the intersection of Government Way, Northwest Boulevard and Fort Grounds Drive — that will focus on the community’s relationship with equality, human rights, diversity and the fight against racism.

“This art project has some special things to consider, due to the year 2020,” Tymesen said. “It focuses on the value of interconnections in creating a strong and more peaceful society, the universal bonds of sharing that connects all of humanity, and basic and fundamental human dignity.”

If approved, the one-month open call for artists will begin Aug. 10. After a piece is accepted, the proposal process will last through February as the selection committee crafts design proposals and submits those plans to the Arts Commission for approval and recommendation to council. The as-yet-to-be-selected artwork won’t be installed and dedicated until next summer.

The $75,000 project will be funded by the Lake District’s art fund, a coffer ignite cda executive director Tony Berns said was intentionally established to help continue neighborhood development long after the urban renewal district expires.

Berns added that the relationship between ignite and Coeur d’Alene’s government reach — specifically, in this case, the Arts Commission — is where people will see the fruits of both sound financial and artistic decisions.

“The (urban renewal) agency relies on the expertise of the Arts Commission members to wisely use the Agency funds for the best public benefit,” Berns said.

The urban renewal agency typically donates 2% of its annual income to help fund projects like the Four Corners Gateway Public Art. Should Four Corners Gateway pass, the city will not be financially responsible for its installation and development costs.

Berns said the project is reflective of the quality of other endeavors within the Lake District since its formation in 1997, such as the development of McEuen Park, Riverstone and the soon-to-open Atlas Waterfront Park.

“Public art helps to create a superior sense of place for a community that benefits the overall community aesthetically, economically and socially,” Berns said.

Councilwoman Amy Evans said 2020 has shone an important spotlight on inequality.

“We’re looking forward to a piece that represents our commitment to inclusion and welcoming equality with everyone who comes to our city,” Evans said.


Passersby look toward the artwork by Ken Turner, named “Questions Arise,” at City Park. (BILL BULEY/Press)