City officials looking into trail art show and more public art

Photo by Todd Gill / Enlarge
The Hoover Monument, which sits alongside Frisco Trail near the

When the Hoover Monument first appeared on Frisco Trail in 2008, those responsible for its installation said they didn’t want it to stand alone. “I want it to be a jumping off point for more art on the trail,” said local resident Randy Werner.

Werner’s wish may soon come true.

The Fayetteville City Council will likely approve a consent item during this week’s regular council meeting which would authorize city staff to find an event promoter to develop, organize and oversee an event within the city’s parks or along the trail system where art would be sold. If successful, the show could help generate funds to purchase more public art for the city.

Hoover monument on Frisco Trail

“I feel the city needs and deserves a sculpture show,” local sculptor Mike Davis told the Fayetteville City Council at last week’s agenda session. Davis said sculpture shows can be a major draw for visitors, and cited the success of Sydney Australia’s Sculpture by the Sea, which started in 1997 as a small public arts event and became the biggest outdoor art event in that hemisphere.

“These things can grow to all kinds of sizes,” said Davis, who first proposed the idea to the Fayetteville Arts Council.

According to city documents, staff is in favor of the plan and would like the art show to accomplish the following:

  • Develop into an annual event that attracts art patrons to spend time and money in Fayetteville
  • Develop a synergistic and positive relationship with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  • Utilize the Fayetteville Arts Council to assist with the show and provide members for the juried art
  • Create an ongoing funding source for the purchase of permanent art in public spaces around Fayetteville*
  • *This might be accomplished by requiring that a percentage of the gross sales from the show go into a fund dedicated to purchasing art for the city.

Don Marr, the city’s chief of staff, said other cities have produced similar successful shows including Loveland, Colorado’s Sculpture in the Park and Little Rock’s Sculpture at the River Market.

“It’s a relatively low investment, but it can reap great benefits for the city,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan.

If approved, existing ordinances will eventually need to be modified to allow for the commercial sale of art in the parks or along the trails, said city attorney Kit Williams.