Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ketchum?s creativity creates a stir

Formation of city arts commission OK?d

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum has roughly one art gallery for every 100 permanent residents, but the city is largely bereft of public art. That could soon change.

Following examples from cities like Boise, Seattle and Boulder, Colo., where art is an integral part of experiencing a downtown area, Ketchum has formed a commission to help spruce up things.

The Ketchum City Council voted unanimously Monday night to form a Ketchum City Arts Commission that will oversee procurement and maintenance of public art.

"I know there's a lot of support for this," said Mayor Randy Hall.

Unlike Boise, the commission will be funded through private fundraising efforts. Boise's art commission is funded largely by the city's urban renewal agency, said Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc.

"How can we make art part of our infrastructure?" asked Claudia McCain, a member of the Wood River Arts Alliance and supporter of the new art commission. "Manhole covers, sidewalks, grates—they can be made more attractive, exciting and inviting."

Gail Severn of the Gail Severn Gallery also expressed support.

"This group could be a very great asset to assisting the city in taking advantage of the strong arts community here," she said. "It would dovetail very nicely with the city's plans to improve the downtown and make it more user friendly."

Severn called the arts one of the "largest 'growing' areas of retail in this community."

Hall said members of the commission would be appointed at an upcoming public meeting.

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