By Cecilia Chan
Glendale is looking to add to its public arts portfolio.
The Art Commission last month voted unanimously to recommend the City Council puts out a call for artists to come up with an artwork not to exceed $100,000 to be placed at Heroes Regional Park Library, currently in design development. The recommendation is expected to go to council for approval in early fall. It will also go to the Library Advisory Board. Commissioners want the artist to focus on the library’s front at the main doors or a wrap-around wall or do some sort of standalone sculpture for a landscaped area.
Commissioners agreed the focus should be the main entry of the library because plans are to expand the building northwest later.Funding would come from 1 percent of capital construction costs set aside by the city in a municipal arts fund.
Mojgan Vahabzadeh, Arts and Culture Program manager, told commissioners the original budget for the library’s artwork was $31,000 but because it has been a while since the city last commissioned artwork, the funding could be pushed to $100,000.
The last time the city paid for public art was in 2011 — three entry monuments for Sahuaro Ranch Park.
Glendale’s art collection is composed of 29 pieces placed throughout city-ownedproperties such as libraries, parks and the municipal airport. The collection is valued at $2.6 million, according to the city.
Commissioner Mark Fast suggested if the library’s front doors are two glass push-out doors, they could be fashioned to open like a book by the artist. And floating pages could come off from the walls and floors, he said.
Commissioner Tom Cole said he loves creativity but wanted the artist to come up with a concept.
Ms. Vahabzadeh said libraries do not want to be identified as a book place anyways because they are much more than that.
She also suggested all artists be allowed to compete to do the work although one
commissioner felt Arizona artists should be supported.
“Typically for something of this scope, you want to open it up nationally for variety,” Ms. Vahabzadeh said.
She said based on experience, the same three to four Arizona artists apply for public art projects. Opening the competition to all would still allow Arizona artists to apply, she said.
“As a group, you want to pick the best proposal,” she said.
She said once the proposals come in, the Commission would then pick two to three artists, who would each get a stipend while they develop their proposal. From there, the Commission will select the artist for the project.
The city formed its public arts program in 1983 as a way to connect people to their environment, help foster a sense of price and serve as a catalyst to stimulate a diverse and vital surroundings.
Chief Librarian Mike Beck said the 7,500-square-foot library in the western region of the city is expected to open in fall 2018. The $2.7 million price tag is paid with developer impact fees, he said.
A proposed library design will head to the council in early fall, he said.
The library, 6075 N. 83rd Ave., will be located at the 88-acre Heroes Regional Park at 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road. Once the library is expanded, at a date unknown, it would have a total of 33,500 square feet, he added.