Public art plan progresses

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Lakewood’s Public Art Master Plan is nearing completion, but community input is still important to those working on it.

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, an open house was held at the Lakewood Cultural Center for those who wanted to hear about the goals of the master plan, as well hear a presentation from artist Lawrence Argent on the important of public art. Argent is the artist who created the “blue bear” statue outside of the Denver Convention Center.

“It’s really important to get a sense of the process of public art,” Argent told those in attendance. “It’s also extremely important to be part of the process — it’s so significant to have the power to change your landscape.”

The goals discussed range from establishing a public art program, to securing and managing funding not only for the creation of public art, but maintenance of it as well. It is also important that there is public outreach about the art, which will allow for it to be used in educational ways.

Barbara Neal, who has been working on the master plan since July 2012, said that the main goal of public art is to tell Lakewood’s story, and involve all areas of the community.

“We want to provide places for people to come and visit,” she said.

During the process of developing the master plan, its steering committee has been meeting with a wide variety of stakeholders, from residents to departments in the city of Lakewood like community resources, planning, traffic and economic development. They also met with groups like the Alameda Corridor Business Improvement District and the 40 West Arts District.

“It’s extremely important that we form partnerships to make public art a possibility,” Neal explained.

The next steps for the master plan will be to finish the details and incorporate any last minute concerns into the plan, and it will then go before the planning commission and then city council as an amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan.

Pat Pendleton, a member of the steering committee and an artist at Block 7 in Belmar attended the meeting because she said the interaction between the community and art is important, and she’d like to see that reflected in the art.

“I’d really like to see more public art that’s interactive in the city,” she said.

For more information on the Public Art Master Plan, visit www.lakewood.org/publicartmasterplan.

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