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Valpo considers 2013 art projects

VALPARAISO — From outdoor installations to inside classrooms, the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission has approved three art-related measures for 2013: Commissioning a South Shore poster, making grant money available to schools and getting another sculpture for the Valparaiso Art Walk.

“We’re trying to do three projects a year,” said Redevelopment Commission President Laura Campbell.

This year, they started the Art Walk, installed the Orville Redenbacher statue and had local students design art for the downtown bike lockers.

The 2013 projects will cost $30,900 from the art budget, paid mostly by Tax Increment Financing money.

The South Shore poster will cost $10,000 to commission an artist, and the subject will be the new Central Plaza Park downtown.

As sponsor, the Redevelopment Commission would receive the original painting and 1,000 copies to sell.

Jim Jorgensen, the Valparaiso Community Schools Boards liaison noted that the copies are also good for giving to business investors, visiting dignitaries, state legislators and governors.

“It’s a great marketing tool for Valparaiso, and in addition, it’s a revenue source,” Jorgensen said.

The Redevelopment Commission will allow up to $3,000 from its Educational Challenge Grant program to be used as matching funds for possible grants from the Indiana Arts Commission’s Arts in Education program.

The commission’s Educational Challenge Grants originally provided money from Tax Increment Financing districts to Washington Township schools and Valparaiso Community Schools for high technology equipment, Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Summers said.

The Valparaiso Art Walk, which has 15 outdoor sculptures along Cumberland Drive and Cumberland Crossing Drive, will cost $5,500 more next year because of travel and other expenses for the Midwest Sculpture Initiative, Campbell said.

There’ll also be a 16th sculpture.

Because a business is constructing a new building at the streets’ intersection, the commission must also pay to have to of the sculptures moved before they’re exchanged in May.

The total is $20,900 for 2013.

Campbell said the total cost is minimal compared to the astronomical costs local businesses heard when they considered renting single sculptures.

The Redevelopment Commission is also considering decorative clocks on posts near bus stops in town.

The first ones would go on two concrete pads at the intersection of Campbell Street and Lincolnway and be funded by Federal Transit Administration money.

Summers said that grant money is earmarked for something artistic in the downtown transportation district, but he raised concerns about the safety of unique art on pads close to the street. A drunk driver recently hit the bus stop near them.

Campbell presented two clock styles at the Wednesday commission meeting.

Jan Dick wanted to see possibilities besides traditional clocks, and the commission members wanted to explore grants for clocks at bus stops near Town and Country grocery store and Valparaiso Marketplace shopping center.



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