Del Mar council creates ad-hoc committee to develop public art program

With no public art policy in place, the Del Mar City Council recently appointed two of its members to an ad-hoc committee to develop program guidelines for the city.

“It’s needed,” Deputy Mayor Terry Sinnott said before the unanimous vote, which was part of the council’s consent calendar, a list of items approved with a single vote and no discussion. As part of the Jan. 4 vote, Sinnott and Mayor Sherryl Parks were appointed to the ad-hoc committee.

Del Mar does not currently have a policy or program that details the acceptance, selection, purchase, installation or maintenance of art on public property or publicly-accessible private property.

A Del Mar Village Association committee, which consisted of residents and art

professionals, prompted Parks and Sinnott to ask their council colleagues to consider a public art program.

According to the staff report, the city regularly fields offers for commissioned and donated art from private individuals. Additionally, several significant capital improvement projects that have been approved for construction throughout the city provide opportunities to incorporate public art or artistic elements. Commercial property owners and tenants have also asked city staff if they can incorporate artistic elements into their buildings or adjacent public spaces.

“In anticipation of having public spaces and some beautiful places to put art, we decided to investigate how different cities do their art policy and to see if we can come up with one ourselves,” Parks said.

The staff report states that the Del Mar Village Association views art as a “draw” that could “differentiate Del Mar from other cities in the region and be a positive economic driver for local businesses.” In addition to the Del Mar Village Association, other community groups have expressed interest in creating a public art program, including the Del Mar Foundation, Del Mar Historical Society, Friends of the Powerhouse, Del Mar Rotary Club and Del Mar Art Center.

Parks and Sinnott will work with staff to develop a draft policy that will be presented to the full council for consideration. The policy will include the definitions, objectives and goals of public art; the length of the program; funding mechanisms; a review and regulation process; potential installation locations; ownership, maintenance and insurance criteria; and a procedure for de-accession.

It is estimated that the development and implementation of the program will take 100-150 hours of staff time.