During what was perhaps the shortest regular meeting in the history of the McKinney City Council, on Tuesday, Oct. 2, council adopted a resolution for the funding of art groups from the general fund in an amount not to exceed $185,000. Funding in the form of grants awarded by the McKinney Arts Commission was approved for 21 groups, representing various aspects of the arts.
The Arts Commission, which is funded from the city's general fund, is tasked with apprising City Council on the state of the arts in the city and and with making recommendations to Council on ways to promote and encourage the arts.
Some council members, including Mayor Brian Loughmiller, questioned Linda Spina, Chair of the Arts Commission Board of Directors, during Tuesday's meeting with regard to the establishing the Public Arts Trust Fund ($12,000). Mayor Loughmiller said that council initially voted for a public arts policy that would not to allot any public funds for public arts projects. Loughmiller explained that the intention was to encourage contributions from the private sector, including developers. He said that by establishing the Public Arts Trust Fund as part of the grant allocations, the city is actually funding public arts.
Spina told council that the Arts Commission has no expectation that the city would fund 100 percent of public arts, however, she said that the Commission's board members feel that, as a years of gathering information, it is important to have the city take the first step and set and example in support of public arts.
Spina said that the board carefully looked at all of the applications they received requesting funding for various art projects, including visual and performing arts. She said that after the board had put together the list of projects to fund, there was money in the amount of $12,000 remaining.
"The board put some funds toward public art, but didn’t want to take away from the other elements we are funding," Spina said.
Councilman Don Day (Dist. 1) and Councilwoman Geralyn Kever (Dist. 2) spoke in favor of having the city show its support for the arts by funding the public arts project, matching funds dollar for dollar with the private sector up to the $12,000 amount. Council moved to adopt the plan.
During the public comments portion of the council meeting, Spina reminded council that the Arts Commission is sponsoring an art workshop on Saturday, October 27, at MPAC, to embark on a plan for public art in the city. The public is invited to participate as the Commission is seeking expertise and creativity from throughout the community to help shape the plan. Reserve a spot to participate.