Huntington Beach is creating a public art master plan, which if approved, aims to bring artwork throughout the city, including mosaics, sculptures and murals.
Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at email@example.com.
At a recent City Council meeting, the Community Services Department staff sought input from the panel on the plan before moving forward.
Councilmembers listened to a presentation in November and chimed in on various aspects of the proposal, asking staff to return with a more refined plan at a future meeting. Some made clear they wanted the plan to encourage donations of public art while others said the city should not strictly define art.
“The art has to reflect those things that I don’t know how you define,” Councilmember Patrick Brenden said. “Community identity is different for different people, values are different for different people. Brand personality is totally subjective. This is the stuff about art that makes it difficult. If we start putting a lot of additional oversight as to what is and what isn’t proper art, we start to run into some pretty difficult challenges there.”
Community Services Director Marie Knight said there is currently no public art master plan in Huntington Beach, which many other cities have.
“We have a very high functioning art center that has exhibits, classes, programs and activities but we do not have a plan at this point in time for public art,” she said.
In the presentation to the City Council Nov. 18, the team in charge of creating the art master plan outlined reasons why it is necessary, including serving as a proven pathway for sustainable public art.
The team, consisting of city staff and community members, believes art is beneficial for boosting the city’s economy and tourism and is a part of its fabric. As of now, the team does not have a specific date for when it will return to the council with a revised version of the art plan, but it will most likely be in the new year.