OGDEN — Ogden City wants to give $100,000 to local artists.
The Ogden City Arts Department has chosen 29 artists and organizations to split the available $100,000, which will fund a handful of public art projects to be completed over the next year. The Ogden City Council will vote on the department’s nominations following a public hearing set for 6 p.m. Aug. 4. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing will be held electronically. Those wishing to make comment or view the hearing should visit the council’s website for details.
According to council documents, there were 38 applications submitted for this year’s round of arts funding. The Arts Department’s recommendations for funding vary by project, from $375 for a mural at Lindquist Field, to $9,300 to support exhibitions, visiting artist lectures and seasonal outreach programs at Weber State University’s Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery.
The Ogden City Arts Grants Program is funded by an annual appropriation and makes direct grants to individuals and organizations that contribute to the cultural life of Ogden. Grants support projects in every art form.
Last year, the Ogden City Council adopted changes to the city’s arts funding mechanism, establishing the $100,000 for arts grants annually and allowing for additional grant cycles as needed. The ordinance also allows city-funded public arts projects to be placed on public property with an easement for public access and maintenance. The measure also calls for public art to be funded exclusively through lease revenue the city collects from the Business Depot Ogden business park.
Until 2016, city-funded art was paid for from a pooled “Percent for Art” fund. Ogden was the first Utah city to begin such program when it was adopted in 1997. The program called for 1% of eligible city capital improvement project funds to be set aside for the commission, purchase and installation of art — a strategy aimed at building a large, public collection.
The city changed the model in 2016, moving to collect art money from its water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer utility funds, but moved away from that method after residents expressed concerns about using utility funds to pay for art projects, saying that money should be locked into the operation and maintenance of utility infrastructure.
Moving to BDO lease funds allows the city to tap lease revenues from the biggest business park in Ogden. Under a public-private partnership, Ogden City splits all lease revenues from the BDO 50-50 with Salt Lake City-based Boyer Company. The 1,118-acre BDO currently has more than 125 businesses operating inside of it.
Lori Buckley, Ogden arts coordinator, said the city’s arts advisory reviews all grant applications and money is only given to projects that are deemed high quality by the committee, that are accessible to the public and that are beneficial to Ogden residents. Recipients of arts grants are required to enter into an agreement with the city to use the funds for specific purposes, agreed upon before money is awarded.