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Ann Arbor City Council May Have Resolved Debate Over Public Art Program

Andrew Cluley

Ann Arbor will use general fund money to help the public art program transition to a new funding model, but over $940,000 in old percent for art funds are being returned to their original sources.  That’s the result of three resolutions passed by city council Monday night to hopefully end the long debate over the program.  

Mayor John Hieftje says they still need to work on how to raise private funds for public art projects.  He says staff will determine if it's best to contract for a fundraiser and administrator or if someone on city staff is in a better position to handle the job.

Chair of the Public Art Commission Bob Miller wishes the funds weren’t returned but hopes council members can unite behind the program to encourage potential donors to support public art.  Miller is encouraged that council has agreed to use general fund dollars to support the program.

Funds remain to complete artwork at the Stadium Bridges, Kingsley Rain Garden, and matching funds for the Coleman Jewett Chair and the Canoe Imagine Art project.  The funds for artwork at the Argo Cascades however is being eliminated.

Council member Jane Lumm is thrilled nearly one-million dollars will be returned to work on capitol projects like dealing with potholes and water main breaks.

— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him

Like many, I first came to this area when I started school at the University of Michigan, then fell in love with the community and haven’t left. After graduating from U of M in the mid 1990’s I interned at WDET for several years, while also working a variety of jobs in Ann Arbor. Then in 1999 I joined the WEMU news team.
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