Council Supports Public Arts Initiative

Panel gives preliminary approval for City’s first public art program

PHOTO: City of South Pasadena | News | A new art gallery is scheduled to open at South Pasadena City Hall.

The City Council has given preliminary approval to an initiative that would set fees on development for the creation of public art, establish a five-member Public Arts Commission, and declare South Pasadena a “creative and innovative City.”

At its Oct. 3 meeting, Council members unanimously supported a plan that will require developers to devote 1% of a project’s value for public art within that development, or pay 1.5% of the value to a fund that would be used for public art projects citywide. The fees would apply to new construction of residential (four units or greater) and commercial projects valued at $500,000 or more, or remodeling projects valued at $250,000 or more.

The Council is scheduled to vote Oct. 17 on final approval of the arts program.
Councilmembers said that the program will build on a foundation set by community-based arts groups, whose efforts have gained traction in recent years with events such as the quarterly South Pasadena Arts Crawls sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

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“There’s really a renaissance [of the arts] in South Pasadena,” said Councilman Michael Cacciotti. “You take a snapshot 15 or 20 years ago and this wasn’t the same city. It’s an incredible renaissance that so many people have worked hard for.”

South Pasadena City Hall will also see an arts-related transformation in the coming months, said City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe. In a partnership with the South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC), the City will be hosting rotating exhibits at the entrance to City Hall, and place sculptures in the outdoor courtyard facing Mission Street.

“Beyond aesthetics, public art programs give cities a stronger sense of community and boost economic development,” DeWolfe said. “We see this as a major milestone in South Pasadena’s evolution as an arts community.”